For nearly unbelievable levels of ultra-graphic sex and gore, the October 7th season premiere of FX’s American Horror Story is the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.
“Since debuting in 2011, no show has more aggressively dared its audience to turn away lest they witness unspeakable acts of human debasement, sexual perversion, and gratuitous violence.” – TV critic Jordan Crucchiola, FX’s American Horror Story (Wired, October 8, 2015)
Since the earliest days of his program Nip/Tuck, the Parents Television Council has warned viewers about the programming created by Ryan Murphy and shown on the FX basic cable network. But with each successive year, Murphy’s programming has grown ever more explicit…until today, when Nip/Tuck’s scenes of bestiality and incestuous necrophilia seem downright tame compared to the fare offered up on Murphy’s current program, American Horror Story.
In recent years, television has been innundated with graphic murder and gore, on programs from Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, and the earlier iterations of American Horror Story to Hannibal and The Following. Such programming has made a fetish of sociopathic behavior. And while Ryan Murphy may defend his show’s content by claiming that a man being anally raped with a drill bit is a “metaphor” for drug addiction, in fact it appears that the program indulges in sexualized violence simply for the perverse thrills of doing so. For the better part of a century, Hollywood proved capable of dealing with issues like addiction without such horrific content. And after all, in 2007, Murphy said, ““Television is a thing where some doors have to be pushed open and, once those doors are pushed open, other people will follow.” Is it any wonder that broadcast TV is now also showing graphic gore, from Murphy’s own program Scream Queens, to murder on Empire, to decapitation on the Batman program Gotham?
“We recoil in horror at the real-life slaughter carried out on a regular basis in this country, or the atrocities that ISIS publicizes through social media, yet giddily embrace fictional portrayals of inhumanity shown on TV (many of which are celebrated by critics).” — Cultural commentator Rob Frydlewicz (ZeitGAYst.com, October 10, 2015)
It is easy to criticize American Horror Story in a vacuum. Here are some actual content examples from last Wednesday’s premiere episode:
A naked man emerges from a bath tub. The Countess snorts cocaine, then she and Donovan lead the couple back to the hotel room. The couple lies naked in bed with Donovan when the Countess enters. She is partially nude, with pasties covering her nipples. She sticks her finger into the man’s mouth. We see Donovan mounts the woman and has sex with her, as the Countess mounts the man. The couples engage in a four-some, swapping partners and having sex with one another. When both the Countess and Donovan are on top of their respective partners, the produce knives and slash the couples’ jugulars. Blood fountains out of the the couple’s throats and gushes across their bodies and spurts over the bed. The Countess and Donovan drink the blood, the Countess burying her face in the man’s spouting throat wound. Sated from their sex and blood feast, the Countess and Donovan and recline in bed amid the corpses.
Detectives arrive at the scene of a crime. Inside the hotel room, a naked man and woman are on the bed in a coital position. A huge spear impales the woman’s torso. Her hands have been nailed to the headboard. The still-living man’s eyes and tongue are found in the ashtray next to them. His empty eye sockets and blood-filled mouth are shown in close-up. The detectives determine that the man’s genitalia has been glued to the woman’s.
Detective Lowe: “He’s saying, “Get me out of her.’ He’s still inside of her. You’re going to find male potency drugs in his system. Probably a lot. You won’t be able to detach them here, so you’re gonna have to take him with the corpse.”
Detective Lowe looks through a series of crime scene photos. A naked man’s bloody corpse is shown lying face down with multiple bloody stab wounds all over his body. The corpse also has a portion of the skull caved in due to a severe blunt force trauma. One of the photos is a close-up of the corpse’s blood-covered rear. Lowe listens to an audio recording of the coroner’s report.
Audio Recording: “There are traces of what appears to be gold paint chips in the rectal cavity, as well as in what is left of the cranium. So it may be assumed that whatever the murder weapon was, it was used in the sexual assault.”
A faceless man wearing a large metal strap-on sex toy emerges from the shadows. The man grabs Gabriel, flips him on his stomach, pulls down his pants and repeatedly rapes him anally. Sally kneels by Gabriel’s head and watches.
Sally: “The more you scream the more he likes it. Tell me you love me, and I’ll make it stop.”
Gabriel sobs and screams in agony, and tells Sally he loves her. Sally watches as the faceless creature rapes Gabriel to death.
Scarlett walks into room where the corpses of two men hang from wires by their arms, their stomachs slice open and their entrails hanging out.
It is one thing to read descriptions of these scenes. Disturbing though those descriptions may be, it is something else again to actually watch them. To see the programming that FX is making available on basic cable and the internet is to feel that the latter days of the Roman Empire have returned. That such scenes are considered “entertainment” – and more, that they are lauded by most so-called “critics” – boggles belief. Only two decades ago, almost no one could have imagined that such an unbelievably sickening combination of graphic violence and pornographic sex would ever be committed to film…let alone that every cable and satellite subscriber in America would be forced to pay for it.
But that is what has happened. It is beyond time that FX be moved to a premium tier, like HBO, or at least offered on an a la carte basis…just as it is beyond time that FX stop promoting murderous orgies as “entertainment” that everyone is forced to fund.
For its nausea-inducing combination of sex and gore, FX’s American Horror Story is the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.
“American Horror Story has, almost since its inception, cleverly found a way to immunize itself against criticism. If you actually take issue with some of the things that American Horror Story says, well then, you’re being a humorless square, someone who just refuses to see [creator Ryan] Murphy’s campy, queeny gay sensibility for the arch, transgressive genius it is…But American Horror Story is garbage, something we need to bag up and throw away, or flush and forget.” – TV critic Richard Lawson (Vanity Fair, October 8, 2015)
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