New “American Horror Story” season starts off strong

Between “Sinister” and “Paranormal Activity 4,” box offices have a lot to offer in terms of bone-chilling horror movies for people seeking their Halloween thrills. However, it’s not strictly necessary to even leave your dorm room in order to get your fright fix now that FX’s “American Horror Story” is back with new episodes.

The new season made a strong start last Wednesday and if you missed out on last season, there’s nothing preventing you from watching the new one. The show’s second season is entirely different from the first. While a number of the series’ most beloved actors, such as Jessica Lange and Evan Peters, have returned for the second season, they’re playing different characters in a new setting. The show has abandoned its haunted house premise and focuses this time on a 1960s Catholic-run mental institution for the criminally insane that used to play host to a tuberculosis ward, Clearly this setting undeniably has a great deal of scare potential.

The premiere lived up to the hype that surrounded it with a gruesome­ly unnerving episode. Director Ryan Murphy is an expert at playing on the fears and anxieties of his viewers without descending into a mindless gore-fest. There were a number of truly frightening and even grotesque moments during the premiere, including a scene in which guest star Adam Levine is fatally wounded. Despite the gore, the premiere demonstrated that the new season will main­tain the perfect combination of plot and thrills that the first season had established. While the haunted mental institution premise is something that’s been explored in movies, books and other television series, the first episode of “American Horror Story” promises to bring greater depth to this token horror setting, as the premiere introduced themes about the nature of insanity and the complex relationship be­tween science and religion.

Beyond the excellent storyline, the show’s premiere confirms that acting performances will also be up-to-par with last season as the episodes progress. Lange’s performance promises to be just as flawless as her last. She’s forsaken her Southern twang and “Mommy Dearest” role for a Massachusetts accent and a nun’s habit with the type of seamlessness that only an accom­plished actress like herself could achieve. After win­ning the award for best supporting actress in a minise­ries at the 2012 Emmy Awards, one can only wonder if her performance on the new season of “American Horror Story” will be similarly acclaimed.

Emily Lake can be reached at emily.lake@student. shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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