Shocker: some parents’ group is outraged about violence on television. Ya never see that! *snicker*
THR writes that the Parents Television Council, a conservative watchdog group, has blasted FX’s “American Horror Story: Hotel” and also taken issue with Fox’s “Scream Queens” — both produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. The group, led by president Tim Winter, singled out the season premiere of “Hotel” for featuring what he called an “unbelievably explicit combination of sex and violence.”
Too bad the show isn’t actually any good anymore. It’s like an extended music video with all the trimmings: slick production, swooping cameras, and Lady Gaga writhing around in blood showing her ta-tas. It tries so hard to shock, too. “Hey, here’s a guy getting raped with a metal spike! Did that shock you? Aren’t you just shocked?? Wait, here’s a guy having sex with a corpse while slicing it with knives! OMG isn’t that SHOCKING??” Yeah, whatever. Try building some suspense, employing a little clever weirdness, and not throwing every possible storyline at us all at once. Original storylines wouldn’t hurt either, since just about everything so far this season has been a ripoff of The Shining, The Hunger, and half a dozen others. Shit, they even ripped off The Shining’s signature carpet!
This is coming from someone who’s watched horror and monster movies all his life, by the way. I’m far from a gore prude, but the older I get the less patience I have for self-indulgent train-wrecks like this. I need some cleverness, some buildup, some nail-biting tension. Beating us over the head with over-the-top violence just for the sake of being violent just seems lazy.
I just came across a fantastically cranky post on The Cutprice Guignol which goes into far more detail as to why this show has jumped the proverbial shark. Here’s a taste:
Honestly, my rule for these kinds of things is that if Se7en wouldn’t do it, there was probably a good fucking reason for that. And that reason is that showing, in pretty graphic detail, a man getting raped with a giant spike only enlightens the viewers as to what a man getting sodomized with a fucking spike looks like. The scene genuinely upset me, and also made me really angry, because Ryan Murphy and his team have been throwing around sexualised violence a lot in their shows recently, often to no real conclusion. This was just an extension of that in the worst possibe way: we learnt nothing, we were told nothing, and it all seemed like an excuse to show us something “shocking” and “edgy”, trivialising the pretty grotesque act. Do you remember the rape scene in series two, where the camera slowly pans in on Sarah Paulson’s traumatised face, and how impactful that was? Compare it to this scene: vile, exploitative, and simply there to feed the dumb gross-out violence of a certain subset of horror fans (note: this is the second time someone has been bummed to death in this show. Just so we’re keeping count). I hated it. I HATED it.
I turned it off halfway through the ridiculously-long second episode. I don’t even care what happened, I’m done. I still think the second season (Asylum) is the best — it had just the right amount of messed-up characters, WTF storylines, and an actual feeling of dread that you’ll never find in this season. (Or the last one, for that matter — another embarrassing mess, especially all those “Glee” singing bits.) Lots of missed opportunities here. Oh well.