Up to now, American Horror Stories (Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck, since 2021), the derived series from the almost homonymous from the same creators (since 2011) that premieres on Disney Plus, has gone from good to worse, devaluing from the first episode to the third.
In “Rubber (Wo) man, Part I” (1×01) we are very happy to return to the Crime House, but its soulless second part (1×02) ends it; and the next one, “Drive In” (1×03), is indefensible as sheer stupidity.
So, after two disappointments, one less marked than the other, we would love to be able to say that this terrifying fiction is back on track in “The Naughty List ”(1×04)But what it does is sink even deeper with this disastrous Christmas tale that can even be irritating in certain sections and, anyway, always a complete disappointment.
The consequences of transgression
The initial section of the chapter places us in the most recognizable news on the Internet: that of the so-called influencers who record videos and post them on their social media channel.
This very modern occurrence of American Horror Stories it is not particularly novel. Other series with the format of a narrative anthology have used what the viewer knows about the latest in technological dynamics, from The Twilight Zone (Rod Sterling, 1959-2020) or his first cousin Beyond the limit (Leslie Stevens, 1963-2002) a Black mirror (Charlie Brooker, since 2011), to offer the public a gruesome or very dramatic account about the destructive possibilities of this.
In your essay Macabre dance (1981), novelist Stephen King claims that the horror genre is an agent of status quo, of reactionary essence, because it usually shows the most extreme consequences of the transgression that supposes any advance or decided separation of the established thing; at least, for a simple playful purpose. And in no other kind of history is this theory seen more clearly than in a proposal similar to that of “The Naughty List.”
There is no where to catch this episode of ‘American Horro Stories’
The doubtful honor of signing the worst of American Horror Stories It has been from the Californian director Max winkler, who has one foot on the small screen and the other on the big one, and has directed both chapters of other television series, be it The New Normal (Ryan Murphy, Ali Adler and Katherine Shaffer, 2012-2013), New Girl (Elizabeth Meriwether, 2011-2018), Brooklyn nine-nine (Dan Goor and Michael Shur, 2013-2021) o Cruel summer (since 2021), such as feature films Ceremony (2010), Flower (2017) and Jungleland (2019).
There are grotesque moments here, of others’ shame, that are intended to be satire and skid but well, and even fragments of dialogue in Manny Cotto’s script (Dexter), who had already written the one for “Drive In”, completely absurd. But your biggest problem is narrative decompensationas the main conflict takes too long to appear.
A) Yes, a character like the Santa Claus of the well-known Danny Trejo, which we have seen before in the skin of ditto in Heat (Michael Mann, 1995), by César Ocampo in the episode “Redrum” (8×06) of The X-Files (Chris Carter, since 1993), from Tortuga in Breaking bad (Vince Gilligan, 2008-2013) or Mr. World in American gods (Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, 2017-2021), and their motivations lack strength.
Also, we find it a real shame that Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck (Nip / Tuck, with the blow of a scalpel) relapse into a type of character that Ian McShane (Scoop) as Leigh Emerson in American Horror Story: Asylum (2012-2013). The actions of his sad substitute turn “The Naughty List” into a vulgar slasher. And neither the counterpoint of the Christmas music at the crime scene works nor does the closure even relate to the fundamental plot. A nonsense from start to finish.