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Our Picks And American Horror Story: Apocalypse

Wednesday 5 August 2020, by Abla Kandalaft, Coco Green

Another fortnight, another episode! We start with our picks and move on to a discussion about American Horror Story: Apocalypse (S8, 2018).

As huge horror fans, we’ll have other episodes down the line in this genre....

Coco’s Top Pick is American Son (2019), performed as a one set straight play, in which an interracial couple waits at the police station for news of their teenage son’s whereabouts, revealing the lies a family has told themselves about political race and the limitations of family and love. Despite the gratification of seeing Nia Long and Omar Epps in a sexy thriller, the best thing to say about Fatal Affair (2020) is that it should be saved for date night when you don’t really need to finish the film. Two documentaries worth watching are Cannabis (S1E5, The Business of Drugs, 2020), which provides the history of small businesses pushing for legalising the cannabis industry in California and the encroachment of big businesses, and Holy Hell (2016), chronicling 22 years of the Buddhafield cult with file footage from the their videographer, Will Allen, and capturing the emotional journey of Allen’s path to accepting the truth.

Abla’s picks are thin on the ground, so thankfully Coco’s detailed comments more than make up for that! These are Season 1 of The Sinner on Netflix, an intriguing suspenseful watch, led by Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman who both pull off nuanced and engaging performances. Abla brings it up because it illustrates a point about some police departments in the US that resorted to pinning crimes on one person to help expedite cases. This was discussed in this thoroughly informative podcast: In The Dark (Season 1). She’s also flagging the upcoming Independent Iraqi Film Festival, which will be screened online, showcasing work often made in very difficult conditions. Keep on eye out for updates on their website.

American Horror Story (2011–present) is a 9 season series that airs on FX. Apocalypse (S8) incorporates the characters and storylines from S1, the 12-episode Murder House (2011) and S3, the 13-episode Coven (2013–14). Apocalypse can be summarised as Hogwarts meets The Shining (1980) meets Ghost (1990) meets Rosemary’s Baby (1968) meets The Exorcist (1973) meets Lost (2004–2010) meets The Stand (1994). Although Coco thinks the film does avoid the magical Negro trope, which is endemic in horror and fantasy genres, the Benetton Dream Team cast Blacks, Asians, and Latinos is not enough to cover up the two-dimensional strong, black, and unnecessarily single women, e.g., Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) and Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett); but the series is good fun overall, telling an old story in an interesting way, so is recommended.


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