Why I Can’t Watch American Horror Story (AHS)


Spoiler Alert:  If you’re a fan of this show, stop reading…now.


It’s being hailed as a wonderfully-dark tour de force, a weekly program about an asylum run by a nut case who now exacts her moral superiority over others for their crimes.  What’s her baggage? (these types always have some.)  In a drunken stupor, one night, she killed a child, with her car. 

Now, Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) is Mother Superior in charge of this hospital.  In that capacity, she hopes to purge her own demons.

She’s not alone, preying (praying? Sorry!) on those less fortunate.

There’s sadistic Dr. Arden (James Cromwell and “Does he always get these parts?”) who hails from past Nazi prison camp experience where he experimented in ghoulish procedures. At Briarcliff Mental Institution, he finds plenty of victims to feed his macabre fascination.

Last week, one poor soul struggled following his amputation of her legs (I can still conjure up the image of the sewed-up wounds below her knees,) as “the body” writhed along the floor.

That’s the problem:  The images from AHS never leave my mind.

That’s what happened, when I went to see “Saving Private Ryan.”

I credit (or discredit) Spielberg with portraying the war arena of horror as closely as anyone could, but that didn’t make it more palatable. 

I left the theatre 5 minutes into his infamously-accurate introductory scene when one soldier’s severed arm flew through the air, against a backdrop of gunfire, going “Thud”…”Thud”…”Thud,” as bullets hit their targets–men landing on the D-Day beaches.

You see, images of horror take up permanent residence in my mind, and I can never get them out.

But I say this:  In the world today, we have enough real-world brutality in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq. I don’t need television producers and directors manufacturing the stuff to horrify us. 

Maybe I’m just not “artsy”…or I don’t relish camp humor…enough.

You see, I watch movies to be entertained and emboldened…educated or apprised. 

I want them to move me in wonderfully-fulfilling ways, as when I see the underdog come away with the prize (“Rudy.”)  I love slapstick, too, when it’s got a deeper message (human frailty and craziness). I was a big proponent of “The Pink Panther” series  before its original actor, Peter Sellers, as Inspector Jacques Clouseau, died. 

He was deliciously self-absorbed.

I’m not alone in my thoughts, for as much as AHS has its adoring fans, it has its critics, too.

 Alan Sepinwall of HitFix gave the series a D−, saying, “It is so full of strange sounds, sights and characters that you likely won’t forget it—even though many of you will wish you could.”

The Los Angeles Times‘ Mary McNamara gave it a mixed review, stating that it “…collapses into camp…upon more than one occasion” but also noting that it is “hard to look away.”

Did I find it‘hard to look away?”  For sure…That’s why I couldn’t last week and why I ended up seeing those sawed-off limbs. 

But I’ll know in future, to not even start watching.

As for Jessica Lange (hailed for her performance in this series),  I preferred her in ”King Kong,” her first big movie….for despite impending horror, she and the big ape enjoyed some special moments…

Now, those I can live with.

Those are my thoughts…What do you think of American Horror Story?  Maybe you can help me see it in a new light?  Why does it fascinate you? (On Fx, Wednesday night, channel 40, but do let me know if this last part’s incorrect.)

And, P.S…Maybe this link  explains why I really don’t cozy up to the characters of AHS…Just maybe the show hits “too close to home.”


About admin

A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog, kevinMD.com, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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