Thursday, November 15, 2012

Much Madness is divinest Sense [AHS Review] ...

Today's post must be a swift one. I found last night's episode of American Horror absolutely riveting. And I kept thinking of the following poem by Emily Dickinson:
Much Madness is divinest Sense -
To a discerning Eye -
Much Sense - the starkest Madness -
’Tis the Majority
In this, as all, prevail -
Assent - and you are sane -
Demur - you’re straightway dangerous -
And handled with a Chain -
We found out who is behind the Bloody Face. The sanest seeming character proves one of the most insane (I can't say I didn't see that coming). Anne Frank isn't Anne after all (she's a woman off her rocker), but she is dead on about Dr. Arden's background (as we discover in a pan of the camera reminiscent of the closing scene of Kubrick's The Shining).

At a conference a few weeks ago, casual conversation over dinner (and a little wine) turned to the nature of AHS and its overarching messages. One person noted that she found the last season of AHS rather conservative in the end, for as controversial as it was, the four-person family is reinstated at the end, under the Christmas tree, surrounded by an aura of warmth and love, suggesting that a little murder and mayhem was all that was needed in order to bring this family, which was in dire straits when it moved into the Murder House, back together again. I am bothered by the fact that women are constantly under assault in this latest installment of AHS, even if they are under assault in order to show that all the 1960s MadMen want is a little Stepford Wife who will fix them martinis and cook them a pot roast with potatoes and carrots and onions.

I hope the women aren't shrinking violets, fading into the yellow wallpaper. I hope Dr. Arden and Dr. Thredson get what's coming to them.

Finally, on a completely different note, I am really enjoying the intertextuality of this season's episodes. What riffs on classic horror films, novels, and stories have you picked up on this season? ~Alice

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