the scary reality
Whether American Horror Story has almost always based its horror tales on fantasy elements (leaving aside the terrible season 7), this new season focuses on much more realistic horror. Witches, vampires, aliens and other creatures have been shelved in favor of a serial killer story, a more classic theme that we welcome with open arms after the supernatural and insane delusions of recent seasons.
This story grounded in reality is the best thing that could have happened to the series imagined by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. We find in this season 11 issues already raised in their previous collaborations, American Crime Story and Laida series centered on criminal investigations and the other on the queer community in New York in the 80s.
There are also elements of Dahmer, another series created by the indefatigable Ryan Murphy, notably in the desire for realism brought about by historical reconstruction. But unlike Dahmer, American Horror Story: NYC places us on the side of the victimsas oppressed by the killers who rage in the city as by the society in which they must survive.
In addition to the killer who seems to be made of flesh and blood, the realism is also reflected in the historical context of the series. All the problems encountered by the characters are palpablefrom the ignorance of the police, to the presence of a killer targeting only the gay community, to a mysterious virus that is beginning to make itself known.
The story is also rooted in reality thanks to the immersion it offers. From decor with well-known places of the queer community such as fetish and sadomasochistic bars and gay baths to the musical atmosphere, from Joy Division to Kraftwerk, this new season immerses us in a specific place, at a specific time.
These immersive elements contribute to the establishment of a dark and dangerous atmosphere. New York is described and shown as a veritable ball of horrors where something very serious is about to turn everything upside down.
Several strange phenomena occurring in the city, the characters decide to investigate. At the heart of this eleventh season, we find the couple Patrick and Gino, formed by the actors Russell Toveynewcomer to Ryan Murphy’s band and Joe Mantelloseen in Hollywood and The Watcher, two series co-created with Ian Brennan. Even if the old ones are back so Zachary Quinto and Denis O’Harefor our greatest pleasure, these two newcomers also bring a breath of fresh air.
Gino the journalist and Patrick the police inspector unite to lift the veil on the murders and disappearances that are multiplying in the city and that American justice has decided to ignore because they affect a part of the population that does not exist in his eyes. If this season 11 follows the classic path of a detective series (collecting evidence, questioning suspects, going into the field), its narrative structure makes this investigation particularly catchy.
As murders and disappearances intertwine, so do the character stories. This season 11 ofAmerican Horror Story can be considered as a choral season since the many characters meet, refocus throughout and that many of their points of view are presented. Thanks to this large number of characters, the stories of each come together, contradict and overlap. Like Gino and Patrick, but also Hannah (Billie Lourd), Adam (Charlie Carver) and Theo (Isaac Powell), the spectator conducts his own investigation.
The investigation is also clarified thanks to the editing and more particularly to the flashback of episode 6 which gives many keys concerning the relationships between the characters, more complex than one could imagine. Even though the episodes are quite short, the narrative seems to expand towards the end of the season. Nevertheless, the structure of the investigation allows for rhythm and real tensiontwo elements that were sorely lacking in recent seasons.
mass killer AIDS
In parallel with the investigation into the murders and disappearances, another character is also doing research. After spotting a virus on deer, Dr. Hannah Wells will begin to notice symptoms common to many of her patients. Never named just because he didn’t have a name yet, AIDS is another killer that the characters will have to face.
Initially an almost anecdotal sub-plot, the spread of this strange virus becomes over the episodes the greatest horror. The big idea of this season is to put the AIDS virus on the same scale as serial killers, at least for a few episodes. Like these bloodthirsty humans, AIDS weakens, tortures, isolates, degrades the body and kills. Because of him, fear is everywhere, all the time.
Little by little, AIDS becomes the greatest of evils, because once the killer has been unmasked, the virus is still there. Sthe threat is silent and the characters are powerless, all the energy they expend to find the killer cannot be used to stop AIDS. The latter transforms his victims, condemned to let themselves die in abandoned hospitals as if the apocalypse had passed through there.
AIDS ended an era. This palpable tension since the first episode led to this precise point, the loss of innocence. The last two episodes, moving (a rare thing for American Horror Story) and tragic, remind us that death has been on the prowl since the first episode. A murderer was nothing compared to the distress that AIDS would cause. Personified, the virus has always been presenthe just went from silent threat to mass killer.
Season 11 of American Horror Story is available in full on MyCanal