Thursday, August 30, 2012

FBF Analysis: American Horror Story's S2 Cast Promo

The excitement for the second season of FX's American Horror Story is building by the day now that we're being given a series of tantalizing teaser videos. This morning, released a pair of new promo videos for the series. The first was a highly atmospheric take featuring a haunting rendition of 'Que Sera, Sera' while almost all the new characters (featuring some returning actors from last season mixed in with the new additions) eerily rest in hospital beds.

The second clip had the same song but a different verse visually as we were given a glimpse into the personalities and situations of the various characters at Briarcliff Asylum. After a couple (dozen) viewings of this clip we at FBF have a few observations and notes about what we've seen so far.

*Character descriptions and details about S2 story-lines sourced Here and Here*

 If you notice anything we missed, then by all means let us know in the comment below.

When the clip begins all the key players are frozen on the stage and the action doesn't really begin until we see Leo (Adam Levine) lift his camera and snap a photo--starting the rest of the action and plunging us into Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's sepia-toned nightmare.

We also get a brief glimpse at Leo's lover (this was the duo that's actually referred to as The Lovers in prior casting notices) at his bedside. Her face is never shown though she will be played by Jenna Dewan and having Leo actually in one of these beds suggests that he won't fare very well during his run. The cover story in EW magazine described Leo as someone who's obsessed with the legend of this year's Rubber man, Bloody Face. A serial killer who wears the skin of his victims as a mask as well as black opera gloves and a nightie. Yep. A nightie. I wouldn't be shocked if Leo was one of the first victims this season as he and Teresa explore the modern-day ruins of Briarcliff hospital. 

Moving on from there we have the next new character but this one is played is by a returning cast member from season one. 

Lily Rabe returns to AHS this year playing one of the nuns working at Briarcliff. Sister Eunice is described as the second-in-command to Sister Jude (Jessica Lange). The first new teaser of the season showed a nun emptying buckets of some sort of body part out in the woods and Eunice is surrounded by the very same buckets. Not only that, but we see a deformed hand reach out for one of the buckets.

This has to be one of the 'Raspers' a creature Ryan Murphy described as once normal humans who have been gruesomely experimented upon by Dr. Arden (James Cromwell). I love how her eyes are closed until after the hand is nearly gone again--it's all very See No Evil. 

One bed over we have one of the breakout stars of season one back to play again. Evan Peters who played fan favorite Tate Langdon last year is back in a different role as Kit. A young man whose wife disappeared and he's been accused of murdering her. Kit claims she was abducted but no one believes him. 

Note the wounds on his back. Apparently Sister Jude is going to be quite vicious in punishing Kit (nice little callback to Constance and Tate's dysfunctional relationship last season). The girl seems to be one of the additional inmates but there isn't much known about her. She seems to have taken a devious shine to Kit however and he's probably one of the characters that will suffer most this season.

Next up, a brand-new character portrayed by Chloe Sevigny. Shelley is one of the committed at Briarcliff and all we know about her is she's a nymphomaniac. She'll no doubt stir the pot in a similar manner to Alexandra Breckenridge's ultra-fetishized maid Moira O'Hara.

Another returning player from last year is Sarah Paulson who this this year is playing a lesbian journalist called Lana. Lana is committed to the institution by her own girlfriend after an investigation of the hospital gets her much more than she ever bargained for. 

We see her lying in bed desperate to get out the truth despite her situation and no matter the pain it's going to cause her in order to do so. Represented by her intently writing onto her own arm. The only word easy to make out is 'her' but the rest of it is quite difficult to discern. She's another of the more vulnerable characters in the asylum. 

Switching gears from the patients we have Doctor Thredson (returning cast member Zachary Quinto this time in a lead role). Thredson is described as a forward-thinking psychiatrist who will clash often with Sister Jude's methods. When we see him he's literally struggling with one of the patients as he tries to keep them restrained during some sort of psychotic fit.

It's worth noting that even though he's a member of the staff he's the only character we see on that end of things who's down on the floor with the patients. His co-workers remain above him and very closely-knit. Likely they're all involved in the nasty secret doings at Briarcliff and Dr. Thredson isn't aware of how horrific things really are behind closed doors. It also makes me think that he's just as vulnerable as any of the patients because of this. 

A closer look at what he's dealing with reveals either one of the mutated Raspers or something closer to good old fashioned demonic possession. Whatever is wrong with the man it's great symbolism of the battle to come for Dr. Thredson. 

As Dr. Thredson struggles below them, we have the literally 'above it all' trio of Sister Jude, Monsignor Timothy O'Hara (possible early relation to Moira from S1?) and Dr. Arden. 

Monsignor O'Hara and Dr. Arden start off very solemn-faced and peaceful. 

As the camera continues to sweep forward we get a glimpse of the true nature of each man as Monsignor O'Hara smirks knowingly and Dr. Arden gnashes his teeth aggressively. Both are clearly not interested in the well-being of these patients.This is further driven home by the shot interspersed of the desperate hand reaching out for help. Here are two of your main villains for the season. Arden is the man behind the mutated humans and it's been said he may well be an escaped former Nazi scientist--the interest in grotesque experimentation fitting that very well. 

But the woman of the hour is Sister Jude (Jessica Lange, the final returning cast member in a lead role this year). She may technically answer to Monsignor O'Hara but she's positioned at the head of the room--this is the lady with the power and the secrets. We've been told that she's a very complicated woman and one who became a nun later on in life so you know she likely has a shady past. There's also been mention of an affair between herself and Monsignor O'hara because what would American Horror Story be without illicit sex? 

All we know for 100% certainty is we cannot wait for October 17th's season premiere. 

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