Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Queer fears

You know when you call something a mind fuck and really you mean, “That’s kind of fucked up. Let’s put it out my mind.”? Will if you, like me, are being forced against your will to watch this season of “American Horror Story” then you are among the few who can legitimately use the term “mind fuck” and mean it in almost the literal sense. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk are having nonconsensual sex with my brain and I don’t like it one bit. As I have already mentioned, I am a huge wuss when it comes to scary things. I only watched the first few episodes of the first season of “American Horror Story,” but knew it was not for me with its ghouls and ghosts.

But this season, this season is less about the things that go bump in the dark and more about the things that go bump in your brain. The creators have gone for the non-too-subtle metaphor of making this season about psychological scares and setting it in, duh, a mental asylum. And, boy, have they done a terrifying job of bringing every gay person’s worst nightmares to life this season. Having your lover blackmailed into committing you to the institution just because you are both lesbians. Getting locked up against your will in the nut house just for being a lesbian. Being subjected to electroshock treatment just for being a lesbian. Enduring sexual behavior modification therapy just because you are a lesbian. And now (SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS) finding out your girlfriend has been brutally murdered by the one seemingly rational man in the entire place and kept on ice (minus her teeth – shudder) for you to continue your sick ex-gay therapy on just because you are a lesbian? Welcome to your mind fuck, there is no lube.

I can’t say I enjoy this season of “American Horror Story,” because I don’t. I had to close my eyes during the whole (SPOILERS AGAIN) possibly Anne Frank lobotomy scene. And don’t get me started about what the hell they’ve done to poor Chloe Sevigny. But I will say that Ryan and Brad are doing an admirable job of making my every worst nightmare spring to life on screen to terrify and disgust me in equal measure. And while it is not, in any way shape or form, easy to watch, it is interesting. And it is interesting not just for the sheer WTFness of it, but because it does something few horror genre offerings do. It makes us sympathize with the lesbian character above pretty much all others. Sarah Paulson’s Lana is the proxy for the audience, and her anguish is the audience’s anguish. Granted, I’m never happy when a LGBT character has to endure terrible, horrible, very bad, no good things. But I do commend them for making Lana’s horrifying journey our journey. More so than the young man accused of killing his wife. More so than the French girl accused of killing her family. More so than the promiscuous young woman who gets her legs cut off. More than anyone, we’re stuck in this god-awful place with Lana. And we’re rooting for her, above all others, to make it out.

Now will she? Fuck if I know. Also, what the fuck is up with the aliens?


9 comments:

Amanda Morrell said...

Snarker....reading my mind grapes. Everyone at work, including myself, watches this show. We went into intense debate regarding what we think is going to happen to the lesbian. She is the only SANE character on the show...therefore, our only leading and trusting narrative to follow and invest personally in. Yet, she's now the most fucked. Inf act, she is most royally fucked, which was heartbreaking to see her slowly realize just how fucked she was. She's in the belly of the beast, and that beast turns out to be the guy we thought was her only ally and only hope. OH and that episode of conversion therapy, is LITERALLY my worst nightmare (I'm saying this like Chris from Parks and Rec)

Goodness, the acting is mostly wonderful. Whoever plays the head nun... I'm completely captivated by her. Loving the posessed nun..... nazi doctors, zombi creatures, aliens just randomly dropping by. It's everything you love about the genre wrapped into a series show. Why didn't this happen before? And why do I watch it alone with my cat who prefers not to be squeezed to death?

Well anyways, we at work predict Lana is going to get her revenge...somehow, for the murder of her partner. At this point I don't really care about anyone else...and I'm terrified to see the next episode for Lana's sake. Oh.... I'm gunna need some more cats.

Amanda

Anonymous said...

So much wasted talent! I tried to watch - who wouldn't? Jessica Lange, Clea Duvall, Chloe Sevigny, Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe - even Franka Potente (Love you, Lola). All pretty much wasted - either literally (killed off too soon - and gruesomely)or dramatically.

The overwhelming anti-women vibe is too much too. It's not entertainment and it's not thought-provoking. IF you've been around even the least little while, you've seen the whole thing too many times before. Sure hope Season 3 is better - I'm out for now.

And for my money, you don't need to get so gruesome to be scary - Jessica Lange showed that brilliantly in 'Frances.' That was an interesting, and entertaining (not quite the right word, but you know what I mean) and SCARY movie.

And as a native of Massachusetts - I have to say the on and off attempt at the accent is annoying. It's true, Maine was a part of Massachusetts way back when, but it wasn't in the 1960s.

JW said...

Aliens are a common delusion in schizophrenic patients. IMHO TPTB of AHS might be trying to 'get' us to see things from a possibly schizophrenic POV?

Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to next episode. So intense... SH is perfect.

Anonymous said...

mistake SP:) Sarah Paulson.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Sarah Paulson is perfect! Her conversion therapy was...so disturbing but so well acted! Thank God for her 'cause otherwise I don't know if I would watch the show...Though after the last epi I think I'm kind of hooked on it...

Virginia Marshall said...

I am really not a fan of blood and guts horror. I do like psychological thrillers though. But this show just pushes me to the very edge. Maybe because it REALLY is my worst fear to be locked in a mental ward. And I just happen to be a lesbian. I close my eyes, I leave the room but I just cannot stop with this show. That said, I think the acting is just fantastic.

XX said...

Dominique nique nique *sing

J9 said...

I had to stop watching the first season during the second episode because I was having horrid nightmares. I only kept it on my DVR to try and impress a woman who watches, and on whom I have a crush. Last weekend I was going to marathon all of the show so far, and I couldn't get through 10 minutes without panic. So I deleted it and watched a Hot in Cleaveland marathon instead to soothe my fragile subconscious. I commend you for your bravery.