American Horror Story Roanoke: Chapter 5 – Anthology Within an Anthology? (Review)

Sarah Paulson as Shelby Miller

“Chapter Five” of American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare appears to be a finale of sorts to the Miller story. The rest of the season will presumably stick to the same location but feature a different set of players. Season six is apparently an anthology within in an anthology.

It was, all told, a great wrap-up of events. There were some nods and winks to other works of horror that were appreciated and worth mentioning.

Mama Polk’s “hobbling of Shelby” that was done on only one ankle was straight from Stephen King’s Misery. (The film version though as King’s book, cuts off Sheldon’s foot.)

Another connection, or homage, was to either the ghost woman from  The Grudge or a nod to the Japanese survival horror video game Forbidden Siren aka Siren. Some reviewers have mentioned The Grudge but the figure that grabbed Flora looks an awful lot like a Shibito from the video game.

To-may-to, to-mah-to.

It was somewhat fitting that the cannibalistic family of backwood’s hicks were named Polk. (Anyone growing up in the south, or perhaps the countryside  full stop, will have eaten the leaves of this “weed” substitute for spinach.)

The show’s creators worked in the Mott family, explaining that the last heir died in Florida, “Freak Show” and Evan Peters played the Mott ancestor.  Mott’s story was proof that Dandy, the last of the line, came by his madness via his genes. Clearly madness ran in the family, or at least an inability to interact with other people.

Frances Convoy was splendidly cast as Mama Polk the head of the horrific hillbilly threat who worked hand in hand with The Butcher.  It was also a nice touch to have her appear in the “Mott” episode since she was Dandy’s mother in season four.

In terms of horror there were some excellent bits placed in this “mini” finale.  Cunningham’s face getting bashed in with the ball peen hammer was shocking in its simplicity. The camera only shows the crushed face for a split second but this makes  it more disturbing.

The shooting of the hillbilly driver with the shotgun was executed quite nicely as well. Thomasin and Ambrose first entering and then erupting from the fire was brilliant.

American Horror Story has, this season, deviated from its usual format.  Presumably the remainder of the Roanoke storyline will continue but with a different family and may possibly leave the “Paranormal Witness” template used thus far.

With seasons that only have 10 episodes it will be interesting to see what Murphy and co. fill the second half of season five with. Will it be a continuation of the “recreation” of horrors at the Roanoke house and is this the last we will see of Shelby and Matt?

Regardless of what comes next, the first five episodes were interesting and different while playing outside the usual AHS sandbox.

The series airs Wednesdays on FX. Tune in and see who enters the house next.

CAST:

Four Letter Word Misery

Annie Wilkes
Annie Wilkes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was just re-reading the last What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able: Bacon In a Toaster and at one point in the article the question of four letter words came up. I was surprised.

I mean, we are all adults here right? Now unless the words are so socially unacceptable (let’s face it a few are), like the notorious C-word that has been banned from my house for years, that not only do we blush a bit when encountering them we also feel slightly (or not so slightly) offended.

But getting right down to where the carpet meets the floor, who decides what is an acceptable four letter word? Like I surmised earlier, are we not all adults? Surely we’ve heard enough ‘damns’ and ‘hells’ in our short lifetime that we’ve grown accustomed to the more ‘colourful’ aspects of speech and the written word.

The esteemed George Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) used to have a list of words that you could not say on television. I do believe that the list originally consisted of just seven words and were actually words you could not say on stage. Carlin, for those of you who don’t remember or were not around back in the day, was removed from a Las Vegas stage for saying the word ‘shit’ onstage.

Now gentle reader (or the editorial staff at WordPress) if that word just shocked and offended you, might I suggest reading something that is less likely to offend? Like the many editions of Dick and Jane primers or perhaps any Dr Seuss book laying around out there in book land.

Signature of Dr. Seuss
Signature of Dr. Seuss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The very fact that the editor, who was helpfully pointing out that the ‘four letter words’ used in the post were in keeping with the “blunt humour” of the post itself, felt he had to justify the four letter words is disturbing. Not to mention erudite. I’ve not encountered the phrase ‘blunt humour’ before.

Blunt Humour? I’ll have to look that one up. Perhaps if I hadn’t been so busy using four letter expletives in my own blog posts I would be more familiar with that term.

It is scary that the editor had to ‘justify’ the use of everyday words that might just offend somebody. It’s like the world is full of Annie Wilkes‘s who despise the use of the four letter language that quite a few of us use on a daily basis. I’m not saying that we all walk around talking or writing like the world’s worst potty mouth, but come on.

Do I really have to continually substitute darn for damn or heck for hell? Maybe I should just be a cock-a-doodie brat and not substitute any of those oogy old swear words.  What’s the worst that can happen? Will some bitching mean fundamentalist break into my house and hobble me?

I suppose I could get a visit from the Good Word Fairy who just might wash out my mouth with soap and make me write a 1000 times on my blog that I will not use dirty four letter words in my posts again.

I might even decide to use the more offensive words of the four letter variety in my future posts! I mean, why the hell not.

I’d write some more on this business of offensive language and it’s tendency to offend folks who still suffer from the ‘vapors’ but I’ll have to stop.

Someone’s just knocked on the door…

Last Words (book)
Last Words (book) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)