If you're like us, you've already checked out this week's episode of FX on Hulu's American Horror Stories. But for the sake of objective viewing, we always screen an episode a second time through a more critical eye. With "The Naughty List", this practice is especially important because our first screening was all about our appreciation for the greatness that is Danny Trejo (as Santa, no less!). Directed by Max Winkler and written by Manny Coto, "The Naughty List" finds a group of influencers not winning too many fans after posting a video online they probably should've never posted. This episode's cast also includes Charles Melton (Wyatt), Nico Greetham (Zinn), Dyllón Burnside (Michael), Kevin McHale (Barry), Taneka Johnson (Detective Gibbs), and Rowland Akinduro (D.J.). And just like the previous outings, the tone for this week's episode starts at the very beginning.
Here's a look at the opening credits for "The Naughty List" that has a creepy Sinister-like, pseudo-"found footage" vibe to it (Scott Derrickson's 2012 supernatural horror film with Ethan Hawke):
Here's a preview of the horrors that lay ahead for four deserving influencers in this week's American Horror Stories:
Here's a look at the official cast announcement video for "The Naughty List" that was released yesterday:
Part of the reason Episode 3 "Drive In" worked so well (check out our review here) has to do in no small part to AHS universe powerhouse John Carroll Lynch's turn as twisted filmmaker Larry Bitterman. In fact, Lynch's performances in the franchise are even more impressive when you realize that Lynch is no fan of horror films, telling EW: "I enjoy doing [AHS], and I'm surprised that I do, because I don't enjoy watching horror, but I apparently enjoy doing it." Here's a look at what Lynch had to say about Bitterman and his American Horror Story universe future.
For Lynch, Bitterman is a Completely Different Beast: "I've had the good fortune of playing four characters on the show. Without a doubt, John Wayne Gacy being an actual person who murdered people, there will never be someone more sinister and truly humanly evil than he is. But when it comes to the three fictional characters, I would say that Larry Bitterman is the first time I've actually played the villain. I think Twisty and Benjamin Richter were victims. They did bad things, but their motivations weren't wrong. Benjamin Richter was the story of redemption, in my opinion. And Twisty the Clown was in some ways the same, I mean, all he wanted to do was make children laugh. [Laughs] Now when it comes to Larry Bitterman, his motivation is, I want people so freaked out that they will murder and eat each other. And that is not a good motivation. Note to self: That's not right. I don't care how good of an artist you are. That's not right. So I would say this is the first time I've played somebody who actually has a level of malicious intent. But what I loved about the way in which it was written, and the opportunity to play it with my fellow actors was that he didn't know he was the bad guy. He thought he was the hero."
And It Doesn't Sound Like Lynch is Leaving "AHS" Any Time Soon: "These shows, they're fun to do. I enjoy working with everybody who works on them. If you're going to get to work with an acting company and be a part of an acting company — first of all, there are no acting companies really, except this one and maybe a couple of theatrical ones. So the opportunity to work with the quality of actors that I've gotten the opportunity to work with, and then to be able to work with them again and again and again, that is quite enticing. Ryan's never let me down. The show's never let me down. I enjoy doing them, and I'm surprised that I do because I don't enjoy watching horror, but I apparently enjoy doing it. Like when I was playing Twisty and I'm stabbing the people in the park with the picnic, what I'm stabbing is a piece of wood. And it's pretty cathartic to be stabbing a piece of wood. I mean, it feels good, I gotta say. As long as there's not a real person under there. It feels pretty good. [Laughs] Like when I was in Carnivàle and I went after a door with a fire ax playing Varlyn Stroud, there's really nothing more satisfying than going after a door with a fire ax. That's really fun."
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