Thursday, March 9, 2017

Is FEUD American Horror Story, Season 6.5?

One of my favorite horror films of all time is 1962's Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, a cult classic starring two iconic Hollywood legends, Betty Davis as a deranged former child star, and Joan Crawford as her wheelchair-bound sister. The film is filled with dark humor (what's for dinner Blanche?), psychologically tense, over-the-top crazy, and features one great villain. It went on to get five Academy Award nominations including one win for Best Costume Design.

55 years later Ryan Murphy creator of American Horror Story and Scream Queens has unleashed his latest series: FEUD: Bette and Joan, a fictionalized story chronicling the real-life feud between the two stars during the filming of Baby Jane.  The 8-episode series explores the issues of sexism, ageism and misogyny in Hollywood. Bette Davis is played by Susan Sarandon and Joan Crawford is played by AHS alum, Jessica Lange – both of whom are at the top of their game (just give them the Emmy already).

The show is not a horror per se, but as a long time fan of the powerhouse cast (which also features Alfred Molina, Stanley Tucci, Judy Davis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sarah Paulson, Jackie Hoffman, Kathy Bates, on and on), this is one incredible and fascinating series. This is thankfully not as campy as the advertising (below) would have you believe and surprisingly shares the DNA of American Horror Story. At the very least, I have a feeling it will be better than most of Freak Show, and seriously only a few tweaks would be needed to make this an actual AHS season. Maybe shoot it a little darker and out of sequence, add a black demonic figure manipulating the two stars, and figure out how to splash more blood around the set – the physical stunts did result in actual injuries including Bette almost rolling Joan down a flight of stairs!




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