I think much of the filmmaking and film-loving community would agree that television is in a golden age and cable shows like Breaking Bad, The Killing, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead have not only complimented our cinematic experience, but in some cases replaced the Friday night trip to the cinema. Don't get me wrong, I believe in the movie-going experience, but I appreciate and am even fascinated by television's ability to engage us for episodes on end with characters that remain with us longer than the giant stars of the silver screen.
American Horror Story: Asylum created by Ryan Murphy is my most recent love affair. The protagonists, Sister Jude played by Golden Globe nominee Jessica Lange and Lana Winters played by Sarah Paulson charge through the gruesome season like heroes rather than the squealing victims horror fans may be used to. No bikini-clad campers or phone-fearing babysitters here.
Langeʼs character straddles between the hardened nun who manages Briarcliff Manor and the once seductive penitent hiding behind the cloth. Paulson nails Lana Winters, the journalist who while attempting to land a big story, finds herself in solitary confinement instead.
Both characters battle face-to-face with sexism, shock therapy, serial killers, personal demons and even the devil herself. Thatʼs right, even the devil. But they are not the only ones. Chloë Sevigny and Franka Potente each make their mark on the show with Bechdel-passing scenes as does Frances Conroy of Six Feet Under and American Horror Story season 1.
But American Horror Story: Asylum isnʼt just a scream-fest. Set in the 1960ʼs, the series tackles issues that have faced generations of women, and not just those living on Shutter Island. The right to choose, rape, homosexuality and motherhood are just some of the themes that contribute to the depth of American Horror Story as well as its controversy.
So, now I wait, breath bated for my Amazon Season Pass to feed me the next and final episode of the series that has simultaneously inspired me as a writer and kept me up at night.