Tag Archive for FX

American Horror Story: Coven Recap: “Go To Hell” and “The Seven Wonders” (Season 3, Episode 12 and 13)

I went to Florida for a wedding, then found myself wrapped up in other media blitzes: the Golden Globes and subsequent Woody Allen scandal (which, sorry, I’m not touching with a 10-foot pole); the Super Bowl and the “controversial” Coke commercial; and finally, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s tragic death. In all that cray, I got woefully behind on my American Horror Story recaps. Oh well. There are far more important things.

This series always seems to flounder a bit mid-season, then speed to a feverish velocity of weird before leaping over an abrupt edge in the final episodes. Hell, up until episode 11 the writers were still introducing integral new information. In “Go to Hell,” we finally learn what the Seven Wonders entail. Before the credits roll, the episode dives headfirst into a flickering silent film behind which Chopin’s Nocturne in E flat major plays softly. (This reminded me very strongly of Waltz in A flat major, which, because it featured prominently in Welcome to the Dollhouse, added an extra layer of weirdness for me). ANYWAY. The film depicts Salem-era witches undergoing a theatrical version of the test of the Seven Wonders, thus explaining succinctly to the audience what we’re in for.

"You walked into the wrong house." Photo courtesy Michele K. Short/FX.

“You walked into the wrong house.” Photo courtesy Michele K. Short/FX.

“Go to Hell” gives Gabourey Sidibe the chance to shine (and yeah, I realize she’s hidden in the above photo – sigh); Queenie defies Fiona and gets a small comeuppance, and in her search for Marie LaVeau she gets to take care of Delphine LaLaurie once and for all. Delphine had apparently murdered the tour guide at her old home and whisked Marie into her attic torture chamber to show her who’s really boss. Delphine underestimates Queenie, of course – black people, man! – and Queenie kills her for good. Honestly, I don’t remember why Queenie was able to kill an immortal; does it matter? Unfortunately, the amazing Sidibe either gave up the ghost as a result of the terrible writing, or she’s just no match for Lange and Bassett’s scenery-chewing. At one point she mutters, “You’re Papa Legba. You live in a chicken shack?” and her deadpan voice and total lack of expression reveal she’s pretty grossed out she has to recite these lines. Read more

American Horror Story: Coven Recap: “Head” (Season 3, Episode 9)

Well, we’ve hit that point in the season when the writers start to toss things at the wall willy-nilly. In last year’s Asylum it was in episode nine (“Coat Hanger”) that, as ScreenRant put it, the writers started leaping “from dangling plot thread to dangling plot thread in an attempt to set up all the pieces for the push into the final episodes.”

Myrtle in American Horror Story: Coven

How did your hair grow back after you were burned at the stake and resurrected? “Honey, I’ve been buying in bulk in Korea for years!” Photo copyright 2013, FX Networks.

“Head” opens on an idyllic father-son camping trip in the Chattahoochee National Forest; they share coffee from a thermos as sunlight filters through the dust motes hanging in the air. They speak earnestly of hunting, of a desire “not to miss.” When the time comes, though, little Hank hesitates a bit too long while a jaundiced, pale witch with a halo of red hair begs him to let her live; she almost kills both father and son before Daddy shoots her in the head. Does it strike anybody else odd that witch hunters would be able to just, you know, find a national forest and literally hunt witches like they were game? “Got a nine-pointer, son!”

Kyle Cooper’s Prologue Films created the titles for The Walking Dead, Sleepy Hollow, Prometheus, and a number of others. Before that, Mr. Cooper designed the titles for Se7en, which have stuck with me as a profoundly spooky, entirely unsettling sequence that drops you face first into the deeply dark world of Fincher’s film. A friend pointed out that perhaps the “scariest” part of American Horror Story is the opening credits. The show isn’t about terror, jump moments, or psychological thrills. It’s about making you feel as bloody uncomfortable as possible. The credits succeed at that – slivers of imagery, jerky movement, artfully timed shots so that just when you’ve got your head around a severed goat’s head or an insectile, humanoid creature in the trees, it flips to the next spooky-ass thing. Beneath the images a ghastly series of sounds plays, subwoofers prodding at your eardrums as dripping water synthesizes a rhythm and a guitar squeals discordantly. The effect is chilling and discomfiting, and you can’t look away. The credit sequence is near-perfect (but the rest of the show certainly isn’t).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=mmRXT7w2C1s Read more