An American Horror Story

Hi, my name is Rachel and I’m addicted to “American Horror Story.”

Cue: “Hi, Rachel!”

Not only is AHS a great premise (season 1 and 2), but the characters, design and overall mise-en-scène make it seem so real. In “American Horror Story: Asylum,” the show wouldn’t be nearly as fantastic without the atmosphere the creators have sculpted. Not to mention the fabulous 1960s fashion sported by the cast (see: Sarah Paulson as Lana Winters). Also, I just really, really like Zachary Quinto, too.

There’s romance, violence, mystery, aliens, an asylum (obviously, which totally makes things creepy by default), a crazy mad doctor, Nazis, a serial killer, religion and pretty much anything else you can think of. (Crazy Ed Gein-inspired psychopath, anyone?)

Miss Lana Banana

“I was writing his story/and he gave me a look/he was, very handsome, distractingly so…”

It’s 1964, and there you are, young, ambitious and sent to cover the life of a death row inmate Capote-style. Which is fine; it’s better than those silly stories your editor’s been assigning to you–ones about new lions at the zoo, a carnival to benefit homeless dolphins and the most recent one about a farmer who grows oversized beets. You were basically foaming at the mouth to cover this piece. This inmate was one of the most ruthless killers ever captured in recent memory. He’d terrorized the town for what seemed like years, and his fate was big news. Soon he’d be electrocuted…but not before you got the full scoop.

Your editor was afraid you’d be squeamish about the whole ordeal–you know, a “pretty little thing” like you wouldn’t be able to handle the yelling, cat-calls, lewd remarks. He thought you’d faint or something. But you wouldn’t. You had fought tooth and nail for this opportunity. This was your big break. You could almost smell the Pulitzer.

The gates were tall, dark, iron-wrought bars the slowly parted so you could drive up the long, winding driveway. The building itself wasn’t too menacing from the outside–white and made of brick. The warden and two guards greeted you, offering you the “grand tour,” which consisted of cells, the cafeteria and some offices. Then it was time to meet the inmate, the subject of your story.


Damien Fontleroy.

“They have to leave,” he said, pointing to your editor and the guards. They were uneasy, “he’s a killer of women,” they all whispered. But you aren’t afraid, not when you’re on the brink of success. Once they leave, he tells you everything about his victims, the murders, how he planned everything out…but he never told you his motives. He said he didn’t really have any motives. It just felt right.

You were repulsed, it only made sense. It was disgusting. But there was kindness in him and depth and intelligence–he said “it just felt right,” but that couldn’t be true. He was a monster. You had similar interests, he’d been to college and could speak French. He used to paint beautiful pieces and had a few drawings in his cell. And he certainly didn’t look like a monster.

“And I never dreamed that he’d be my boyfriend / he wrote me letters, daily from prison / that said, ‘I know I’ve killed a few. But none of those women were you.’ / And I couldn’t speak it was over for me…”

He wrote you frequently, sometimes letting you a little deeper in his psyche, almost to the point where you thought you would be able to figure him out. But it never came to that. Soon it became letters about his life and asking about yours, when you were coming to visit again, what your favorite flowers were. It was nice; he was nice. Soon, you questioned whether or not he was even capable of such violent crimes.

But he was. Or at least the courts thought so and, although he never claimed innocence, you knew he had to be.

“And I’ll never forget him / now that it’s over, the life that we had / when they strapped him down…”

After your story was finished and had printed a while ago, they decided his time had come. You went to the execution and watched as they put him in that cold, unfeeling chair. A few people mingled about, laughing and rolling their eyes. They were happy to see a killer fried. But he wasn’t a killer to you–he was a person. He was yours. They didn’t know the man that drew portraits, wrote poetry and could tell stories about Paris in the springtime. You were sure that they had never read Milton, Dickens or Homer, had never traveled the world or had seen what he had seen. No, but he was evil–he deserved his fate. Well, they were the ones reveling in this horrific event, almost enjoying it.

Then they flipped a switch. And it was over.

“Well I said I loved him / as they strapped him in / but he wasn’t crying / he took it like a man…”

“Goodbye my Grim Reaper Prince / Goodbye, goodbye / I’ll see you in a while / Goodbye / Farewell / Good luck”

American Horror Story: Asylum-inspired style.


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