We told you it was going to be a kick-ass holiday episode! We’re a little surprised by the Christmas tree decorations not consisting of parts of a human body, but this was sick in its own original way. So why not kick things off with…
1. The demon in Sister Mary was pretty excited about decorating the tree. This time, she just got really mean— she yelled at all the poor patients to line up, then grabbed a festive basket, and went down the line, taking what she wanted. from the wretched-looking people in line cutting off hair (above the ribbon), taking out some poor toothless old inmate’s dentures, and using those items, saying it was a lesson in Christmas being “all about giving,” which Monsignor Timothy seemed sort of impressed by. He even noticed the IV bags and bottles (all empty), though he didn’t remark on the garlands, which were either rolls of gauze, or toilet paper (maybe both; with the medical supplies hung up, I think it was gauze, which is somehow sicker than TP). Either that, or he’s getting bad vibes from her too and thought he should probably just humor her, then regroup later to snoop into things. I have to admit, putting fingers, toes, eyes, etc. would have been nice and sick, but probably would have drawn a teeny bit more attention.
She had this… light in her. The light’s gone out.
2. Speaking of attention, Sister Mary Eunice was on FIRE in this episode. Almost every time she opened her mouth I got a big grin on my face or laughed. Click here to read “Ten Of The Best Lines in the Christmas Episode, ‘Unholy Night‘ ” In an entertaining interview I posted few weeks back (you can find it here) Lily Rabe was right. Sister Mary does have a lot of Christmas Spirit…
3. Ian McShane’s character, Leigh Emerson, was also pretty entertaining (and frightening; I wouldn’t want him coming at me in that Santa suit with his rotten teeth, matted beard and greasy hair, even if he wasn’t carrying a sharp object). We learned his back story from Sister Mary Eunice (remember, she knows all). As a young man, he was thrown in jail for trying to steal a loaf of stale bread (the ultimate crime!) Unfortunately for him, it was close to Christmas, and when the guards went Christmas caroling (I actually don’t blame this guy for having… issues… with Christmas after we got his back story) five men held him down and raped him. Merry Christmas! They took his virginity (well, Sister Mary points out, the first guy took his virginity), the rest stole his dignity, self-esteem, but worst of all, his Christmas spirit …and that’s only the first part of the back-story.
“There is no God… but there is a Santa Claus!” – Leigh to Sister Jude
4. THEN, we learned that Leigh Emerson escaped in 1963 (or was released from prison, either way it was a very bad idea for him to get out of there six days before Christmas). He approached a Salvation Army Santa outside a supermarket, hit him with his Salvation Army bell, then shot him in the face, plus four more times. THEN, he put on a blood-stained Santa suit from the guy, and killed 18 people from five different families. In the murder we saw n the cold open, a little girl named Susie, buys him as Santa even without the beard, bloodstains, and the fact he came in through a smashed window instead of the chimney. He was nice to her (that we saw, anyway, she never seemed scared of him) tied up the husband and wife with (lit) Christmas lights, yells at them for overdoing it with the decorations, and after a really raunchy comment also in the piece with quotes, shoots them. He ends up in Briarcliff by Christmas 1963 (more on that Christmas at Briarcliff in the Stray Thoughts section)*
5. We learned some facts that would make anyone–well, anyone with a soul– turn down a lavish Christmas gift of real ruby earrings (big stones, set chandelier style). We learned in the same scene that Dr. Arden is still (of course) a sadistic, evil Nazi asshole with a Madonna/Whore complex, but that he had hoped for some response from Sister Mary Eunice other than delight and preening when he told her how he got the earrings. Would YOU want to try on, let alone keep, earrings that had been swallowed and shit out every day for weeks by a woman in a Nazi concentration camp, not to mention they ended they ended up killing that someone due to internal injuries (the jewels tore up her intestines, Dr. Arden/Gruper explains) who died in the wretched camp, then were given to you by the Nazi that “retrieved them”? And regardless of hygiene, I’d be more than a little worried about a vengeful female spirit haunting you if kept and/or sold them. That’s an onyro’s secret back story reveal from a J-Horror, K-Horror, or Thai ghost movie right there. Talk about bad karma. We at Horror Boom saw through the ruse with Sister Jude (360 degree turnaround all of a sudden from THAT shitty guy? Just didn’t buy it, though he sold it to Sister Jude skillfully) but we think he actually was kind of down–or feeling sorry for himself, at the very least– that there’s nothing left of the Sister Mary he, er, had a …crush on.
6. Dr. Nazi is probably more scared of Sister Mary Eunice now; he didn’t seem to take any satisfaction in setting up Sister Jude’s (botched) murder. He didn’t want to stick around as he and Sister Mary Demon listened (below the French spiral “Staircase to Heaven”) to Jude’s terrified cries and desperate calls for help and all the crashing around. After he told Sister Mary (who practically looked like she was just about to discover her G-spot) that he hoped his loyalty was proven, he said–not entirely convincingly–he found it all rather tedious and that he had work to do.
Oh, you really don’t want me to be around the others this time of year…
7. Sister Mary Eunice’s telekinetic powers are improving. This episode, when Sister Jude managed to sneak in the office and hold a razor to Sister Mary’s throat and says she’s figured it all out. Sister Mary Eunice looked amused and asks, “what are you gonna do, cane the devil out of me?” then laughs as the doors of the armoire containing all the canes are yanked wide open, followed by the various canes flying out, then the record playing a Christmas carol is shattered.. on the ceiling. Before any more mayhem could ensue, Dr. Arden intervened and had Sister Jude ‘escorted out’.
See? We all made a little sacrifice for the greater good. That’s the spirit of Christmas!
8. We leaned more about Bloody Face (Old Skool Bloody Face) and the good news that Lana —and Kit— finally have the upper hand (for now). We’re a little worried about Kit, because if we were Lana, we don’t know how long we could keep ourselves from beating Thredson to death. In fact, Lana wanted to kill him right then. He doesn’t seem as pissed about her injuring him to escape, but accuses him ‘tricking’ him into being “intimate” (which must be the word he uses for ‘rape’). He said he was going to just kind of humor her and let her talk, because hey, who would believe her story? Then he tells her he changed his mind, he’s going to kill her. The worst news (for Lana and Kit, anyway) was said he’d gone over every square inch of the basement and his house with a toothbrush, combed it for any evidence (remember, no DNA testing back them—plus did they even have rape kits in the early 60s?) and that the furnace got a lot of use, which he’s also really pissed about. You made me kill Bloody Face! he nearly snarls at Lana.
One day, I will bury you.
-Lana to Thredson/Bloody Face
9. We learned there was no doubt that Lana is pregnant. Many fans already suspected it (and a very recent interview confirmed it). On a TV show (even basic and pay cable), we see a woman who is capable of getting pregnant throwing up in the morning on a TV show, and she’s not a virgin, 99% of the time, that woman has discovered her pregnancy by the end of the next episode. Not sure if Lana has figured it out yet, since that is SO the least of her fucking problems at this point. There was some not-so-subtle foreshadowing in the dialogue from Thredson—“Bloody Face had to burn so he could be BORN AGAIN from the ashes” and “Your skin with will be the beginning of a second Bloody Face.” Maybe it will be this season’s version of the Violet reveal that was predicted by half of the fans ahead of time – but the sight of her when the reveal came actually gave me nightmares. Let’s hope they do something just as shocking with this season.
10. We learned that any male staff member in Briarcliff with compassionate, human feelings towards others—not that there were a lot of them, and few females, too— might as well have an expiration date stamped on them. As we thought, Frank was completely broken up, weeping and praying over Grace’s body. He also saw the Rasper that ripped Sister Felicity’s throat out and tells Dr. Arden he thinks they should alert the authorities. “Our former Irish cop is feeling the need to confess.” Dr. Thredson tells Sister Mary Eunice soon after. “I’ve got it under control,” she replies. RIP, Frank. Sister Mary slices his throat later in the episode after Leigh (Insane Homicidal Santa) gets put back in ‘the hole’ after really snapping and losing his shit in the common room, Frank locks him in and turns around to see… slash. I assume Leigh will get blamed for cutting his throat. Oh, by the way, we have a survey. With the characters dropping like flies lately, if you want to vote on who you think will get killed off in the next episode, please do; there’s a poll here. Take a second, because we wanna know your prediction!
12/19 Poll Update- SPOILERS if you have not seen episode Nine, The Coat Hanger, yet: This is going up soon on the poll page, too, but it’s ironic that of the eleven responses (with a free account with Polldaddy we can only have ten) we Kit out of the running–it was him or Sister Mary Demon, and we take HIM out as an option? Naaahhhh, no way, there’s way too much unresolved business, if they do it, they’ll wait till the last or second-to-last episode. We didn’t consider the fact he might only be dead for a minute or two at the end of the episode, and that would be one of the mid-winter finale cliff-hangers promised by Murphy (though I doubt anyone called things going down like THAT before it aired). Either way, WRONG! He died. Episode ended. He might (probably…I hope) have Dr. Nazi make it back in time to re-start his heart in Episode Ten. But other than that, it was just the hapless therapist whose penny-saver coupon brought in the last patient she would ever have a session with – Johnny Thredson (she got the most votes, BTW-good call). Remember, the Angel of Death didn’t kiss the Monsignor yet–if you’ve read the episode description for next week, or seen the nice spoilerish preview for the January 2nd episode, “The Name Game,” we know what happens there. I’m still pissed at him for what he knowingly did to Sister Jude. You can read the FULL weekly piece, Ten Shamelessly Twisted Things We Learned In American Horror Story Asylum Episode Nine, The Coat Hanger (Spoilers) right here.
- We actually thought that when Sister Jude drove something pointy into Leigh “Psycho Santa” Emerson’s neck in self-defense, it was a candy cane. Before you laugh, have you seen how sharp and pointy the ends of those get after you’ve been sucking on one end for a while? It’s like a hard-candy ice pick, or something. We know somewhere out there that HAS happened in a holiday-themed horror movie, probably one we’ve seen and just can’t place. We actually wish it had been a candy cane, but I guess that was a little too campy even for Murphy and Falchuck. We can see where they’re coming from… but still, that would have been a great, sick touch.
- During the cold open teaser that introduces Leigh Emerson’s holiday season mayhem, was anyone else reminded of “And All Through The House…” that awesome, AWESOME Tales From The Crypt (an anthology movie used the story from the comic first) episode where the mother –SPOILER ALERT, THE EPISODE OR AT LEAST A CLIP IS COMING UP AS A POST FOR THE HOLIDAYS, HIGHLIGHT TO READ: kills her husband in the middle of a snowstorm on Christmas Eve, hears that a maniac dressed as Santa escaped from the local mental asylum, and it’s a very tense game of cat and mouse up until the chilling ending as she can’t really call the cops when her husband’s body is there with an axe buried in his head, blood everywhere, and her plans to drag him outside and drop him down a well become even more screwed up when she locks herself out of the house. Here’s the kicker, though, and you’ll remember it if you saw it: her little girl (who believes in Santa Claus) is awake in her bedroom upstairs because hey, what child can calmly sleep Christmas Eve? The murderous mother finally makes it in the house throw a window on the second door –wow, what a relief! However, the little girl isn’t in bed. She walks, filled with dread and shaking, to the landing of the stairs and looks down to see her little girl, smiling. Oh, Thank God she’s OK! We’re going to look it up soon, since I wouldn’t be surprised if the little girl’s name was Suzy in the comic, then sees she’s holding hands with someone. “Look, Mommy! Santa really came! He came and I let him in!” Next to her stands a grinning, large maniac dressed in a Santa suit… happy to finally be indoors. The comic ended on that last frame –Good Lord (choke)! The HBO episode ended on the evil maniac Santa asking, “Naughty… or nice?” in a gravelly voice just as scary as Ian MacShane’s, and then faded out on the woman’s hysterical screams. Robert Zemeckis directed it, which sounds like a red flag for a Tales From The Crypt episode, but I still was on the edge of my seat even though I knew the ending… which gave me goosebumps.
- So, fellow E.C. Comic and Vault of Horror fans, did little Suzy not being scared of Santa (even though it was six days early, he clearly entered through a broken living room window, and had a few little bloodstains on his Santa suit) and then going to wake her parents up to tell them ecstatically Santa was downstairs, which of course ends horribly, remind you of that story? The “Unholy Night” version was way darker, obviously, but I think the parallels were there. It was even published is roughly the same time period (mid-century).
- Who else got a big grin on their face when poor Frank grabbed a huge ladder to put the glass (or maybe tin) tree-topper up, the elaborately red-and-silver, star-shaped ornament (only with at least 20 pointy ends), and started climbing? We didn’t want Frank to get hurt (too late, sigh), so much as we saw total chaos about to break loose and thought there’s no way that star isn’t going to end up embedded in someone’s face or neck. Didn’t expect him to fucking RUSH the ladder, knock it and the entire giant strangely-decorated Christmas tree over, and leap on top of Frank like a wild animal, trying to smash it into Frank’s face (and actually succeeding) as not one, but two large orderlies had to sprint over to pull Leigh, in full-on homicidal maniac frenzy-mode, off of poor Frank. We’re putting up a featurette on the stunt soon, but until then, you can get a fix watching a behind-the-scenes look from FX at how they performed the old “face-off” bite right here. Sister Mary Demon’s casually amused reaction to the entire tree debacle, after she calmly watches: “Two steps forward, one step back.”
- If we had been in Sister Jude’s shoes, the second we opened the double doors to her quarters/office and saw mangy, creepy, blood-thirsty Leigh lounging in her chair behind the desk, we would have turned around then and gone right out. She tried to get out fast, but she hasn’t seen as many horror movies as we have. If she’d been as big a horror fan as us, it would have gone like this: open door, see homicidal patient let out of ‘the hole’ sitting there in a Santa suit opposite you behind the desk, immediately swivel around and step back out into the hall and close the double doors, all in one large motion.
- There’s too many great quotes to count, but we made a list of ten OF the best (not THE ten best) quotes from “Unholy Night”, along with screencaps, and you can check that piece out here.
- Ten Of The Best, Most Entertaining Lines From American Horror Story Asylum’s Episode “Unholy Night” (AKA ‘A Very American Horror Story Christmas’)! (horrorboom.com)
- ‘American Horror Story’: Ryan Murphy on Ian McShane’s psycho Santa and the return of Pepper — EXCLUSIVE (horrorboom.com)
- American Horror Story Asylum’s Lily Rabe Talks Sister Mary Eunice And The Upcoming Christmas Episode – “I’ll Never Look At A Christmas Tree The Same Way Again!” (horrorboom.com)
- Ten Reasons We’re REALLY Psyched Up For The American Horror Story Asylum Christmas Episode Airing This Week! (horrorboom.com)