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American Horror Story goes dark in its second go-round, and the results are messed up and completely addictive....
Fox / 554 Minutes / 2012 / Unrated / Street Date: October 8, 2013
There's quicksand around every creaking corner of American Horror Story: Asylum, and it's difficult to escape - or resist - it. Filling a niche on television that hasn't been represented this well in years, this freakout headtrip doesn't just provide screeches and scares - it truly has the narrative power to flip your lid, making your living room couch a vortex of palpable danger.
It’s not the kind of series that stands up well to multiple experiences – even this heartily improved second season is a one-and-done affair – but nothing on the boob tube does what American Horror Story does. This anthology series is marvelously slippery and deliriously fun, dripping with H.P. Lovecraft-esque gothic terror. And some faces are familiar here – Jessica Lange was a southern belle neighbor with questionable intentions on the show’s first season; here she’s a creepy-ass nun you do not want to cross – but the terror is all new. The Briarcliff Metal Institution seems disquieting from the get-go, but that doesn’t begin to describe the nightmares that unfold on this Asylum Blu-ray set.
I hesitate to offer anything in terms of distinct synopsis because the tricks and turns of the narrative here provide often stupefying excitement (like its first season, American Horror Story is not afraid to pull the rug out from underneath its viewers here). Yet even if the show’s overall impression is muted by genre clichés that it rests upon more often than it should, there is a frequently deafening thrill to certain moments on this TV-on-BD collection. You’ll scream out loud at least once at what Jessica Lange finds herself doing. Not cool, Jessica. Not cool.