"The Name Game" and "Spilt Milk"
Frightening friends! Please accept my apology for having parted from The Horror Blog for such a long time. Horror Buff did a lot of traveling over the holidays, which made updating pretty difficult.
Well we're into a new year (some people are refusing to write only -13 or /13 because 13 is an unlucky number... it's a year for spooks indeed), which means more horror awaits us. I realize this has been turning more into an American Horror Story blog as of late, so my New Year's Resolution will be to watch more actual movies. Starting this weekend. For now, more AHS.
Creators: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk
Producers: 20th Century Fox
Starring: Joseph Fiennes, Sara Paulson, Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Lily Rabe, James Cromwell, Zachary Quinto, Lizzie Brocheré; ft. Naomi Grossman, Dylan McDermott, Barbara Tarbuck
TV Rating: MA SLV
Genre: television, horror, psychological thriller, drama, insane asylum, serial killer, aliens
Scare score: C-
Plot overview: Many changes begin to take place at Briarcliff as both Judy Martin (Lange) and the Angel of Death (Conroy) urge Monsignor Howard (Fiennes) to remove the possessed Sister Mary Eunice (Rabe) from the picture, which he seems to accomplish successfully. Grace (Brocheré) returns from death and alien possession in a very pregnant state with only Pepper (Grossman) to take care of her, despite vicious attempts made by both Dr. Arden (Cromwell) and Dr. Thredson (Quinto). After weeks of waiting, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel for both Kit (Peters) and Lana (Paulson) who find their justice and are freed from Briarcliff.
WOW! All I can say is wow, and it was really nice to be able to watch these two episodes back to back. At first I found myself getting frustrated because I kept expecting bad things to happen to the main characters who we are rooting for (namely Kit, Lana, and Judy aka Sister Jude) - as is the way of AHS. Luckily for me, these two episodes really drifted from the show's usual terror and focused on some pretty positive changes.
I'm going to keep this brief. Some shout outs, however, are in store for various actors of the show's talented ensemble. Specifically Lange, Paulson, Peters, Fiennes, and even McDermott in his short sequences really drove home the acting for me. Lange exhibits yet another realm of acting which she is capable of in these installments, namely that of an incapacitated mental patient. McDermott's scenes are so eerie and disturbing - I can just picture him reading the script beforehand and getting so into the sickness of his character. Also, I really enjoyed the fun and energetic performance of that random prostitute (actress Jill Marie Jones) - she was so likable! And lastly, I suppose it was finally nice to hear something intelligible out of Naomi Grossman after having to simply act like a weirdo "freak" until now in the season. She acts, too! And pretty well.
Now call me crazy, but I loved the musical sequence in eponymous scene of "The Name Game." Maybe this is, in part, due to the fact that as a child my family always sang that song to me. On the other hand, the actors looked like they were having so much fun! Lange was really great, and even Evan Peters surprised me with his dancing. Who could of thought such a risky, cheesy move could have ended so well? Horror Buff bo Borror Buff banana fana fo Forror Fuff fee fi mo Morror Muff - Horror Buff! (Had to).
Anyway- I really couldn't believe how much change took place in this episode. So many positive, relieving things happened that I just can't help but feel terrible things are to follow. After the jump...
Let's just talk about Monsignor. He was so great, so innocent and endearing at the beginning of the episodes... I just can't help but think he's the possessed one now. Something isn't the same anymore and he is becoming a bigger jerk just like he used to be. I sincerely liked him when he was repenting, but now something feels awry, and since it seems all other antagonism has disappeared, it would make sense. *Church criticism* ... *original*.... not. Still, there is some adventure up ahead.
Dr. Arden? Like kthxbye? That was quick yet poetic in multiple ways, both with his lost 'love' and the murderous past he lived. Either way, if this is truly the end of him, I think he acted it both well and appropriately.
Let's talk briefly about all the babies. Usually, you know, babies are fun, cute, and overall positive things. Not on AHS. We know how Lana's baby is going to turn out (if that really is him and not just some deranged man), so there's not hope there. How do we feel about an undead/ redead Grace and little Thomas? There are already so many questions.
Final critique: American Horror Story is back with a bang or several. A lot of these major changes felt rather rushed, so we will have to say where this is headed. Otherwise, I wasn't a fan of the new use of camera angles (a sort of first-person, handheld camera look) - it was too sudden for the season and used too much. Otherwise I did enjoy the fresh breath of positivity... which is almost certainly soon to be crushed by the negative but entertaining force that is American Horror Story.
Happy New Year, horror fans.