Movies/Television

American Horror Story: Freak Show.

Recently, thanks to Netflix, I have been catching up with American Horror Story. Some years back I had watched the first in the series, Murder House, and that’s where I left it; I didn’t know back then that every season told a different story.

I really enjoyed season two, Asylum and thought that was even better than the first, however, I was disappointed in season three, Coven. The story just didn’t interest me as much as the first two seasons and I didn’t finish watching it, so went straight on to Freak Show.

After watching the first episode, I was hooked. Maybe it had something to do with the characters and their stories; feeling empathy for the ‘freaks’, fascination for the wealthy but spoilt Dandy, a serial killer on the loose and the dark humour. I really enjoyed the storyline in this one, as well as the setting and the acting. A credit to everyone in this season, but I couldn’t help but feel that Jessica Lange really steals the show.

I had some personal favourites when it comes to characters. I thought the ‘freak’ Ma Petite was gorgeous, played by Jyoti Amge, the world’s smallest woman, and I enjoyed the character Edward Mordrake whenever he made an appearance (there are two episodes dedicated to him). And yet, it was the spoilt Dandy and his dark personality that I really enjoyed watching. There was never going to be a happy ending for him and neither did I wish it but there is something about the dark side of our humanity that fascinates. The final episode where he erupts into a psychotic rage was truly horrifying.

Although Jessica Lange believes that she is not a singer, her cover for the song ‘Gods and Monsters’ became popular. One of the things I like about this song in the video is Edward Mordrake’s entrance and departure, which is really well done. If nothing else, this version introduced me to Lana Del Ray. 😉

Yes, I have yet to watch more in this series (Hotel and Roanoke are currently on my list), but I have to wonder if they will be anywhere near as good as Freak Show. Time will tell!

Do you have a favourite season from American Horror Story? Is there a particular season in this series that didn’t work for you? Are you fascinated by dark/bad characters?

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Crime & Mystery

Alexander Pearce – Australia’s Cannibal Convict.

Imagine yourself in that scene in The Shining where Jack Nicholson is chasing you in the snow and wielding an axe.  Now picture that same scenario within the Australian bush and that the man with the axe is in fact a cannibal.  It may sound like the stuff of nightmares, but Alexander Pearce was Australia’s cannibal convict.

Alexander Pearce escaped from prison in Macquarie Harbour in Tasmania in 1822, along with half a dozen others.  About a week into their journey, three of them left the group. Due to starvation, it was not long afterwards that the remaining members of the group, including Pearce, began killing and eating their fellow inmates. Eventually only Pearce and one other, Greenhill, remained. This resulted in a cat and mouse game, as it was Greenhill who had the axe.  Having lulled Greenhill into a false sense of security, Pearce managed to get hold of the axe and murdered Greenhill.

Pearce had been on the run for 113 days before finally being captured. Despite telling authorities of these events (he was not believed), he was once again imprisoned, only to escape almost a year later. With him this time was another convict by the name of  Thomas Cox.  A few days later, Pearce was discovered alone, claiming that Cox had drowned.  In his pockets, however, were the remains of Thomas Cox, along with other sources of food.  Alexander Pearce was found guilty of murder and was hung on 19 July, 1824.

Not only was he a cannibal, but Alexander Pearce is also considered by some to be Australia’s first serial killer.  He has been immortalised in both film and song, including the award-winning drama The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce.  Somehow, I don’t think the line ‘Here’s Alex’ works quite so well as ‘Here’s Johnny’ don’t you think?

Does the idea of cannibalism frighten you?  Do you think Alexander Pearce was a serial killer? Do you think there should be more axe-wielding maniacs in horror? What’s your favourite scene from The Shining?

Free image by Boaz Yiftach courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net