Evan Peters as Dahmer

Once again, Evan Peters is slated to make millions of people question their attraction to a serial killer.

The angsty teens who loved Peters as emo ghost Tate Langdon in Season 1 of American Horror Story are now adults, and 34-year-old Peters is taking on a new role as Jeffrey Dahmer. Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan will collaborate on the show, which is slated to be a 10-episode Netflix series called Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture Feature

How "Tiger King" Changed Pop Culture: The 8 Worst Things We Watched in 2020

Every morning after watching Tiger King, we woke up and chose chaos.

Sorry Pete, this wasn't good

On or around March 2020, human character changed … or whatever Virginia Woolf said.

In the middle of March, COVID in the US went from an abstract concept to an immediate reality which people reacted to in varying degrees — I won't go into details; you were there. For most of us, there was some kind of lockdown period and still are some restrictions.

Keep Reading Show less
TV Features

9 of the Best Horror Shows to Binge Watch on Netflix

From jump scares to subtle psychological terror, these series have you covered.

Netflix

Horror movies are all well and good, but sometimes 90 minutes of white-knuckle terror just aren't enough.

Sometimes you want to spend hours or even days hiding behind your hands and muffling your screams as you're sucked into a terrifying realm of blood and guts and ghosts and monsters. When you're in that kind of mood, you need a TV show that can consistently deliver nightmares straight to your skull.

Keep Reading Show less


American Horror Story is gearing up for its 10th season, and Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Finn Wittrock, Lily Rabe, and Kathy Bates are signed up to return. So is Macaulay Culkin, and that fact alone is the only reason that I might actually watch the show.

Don't get me wrong: I loved AHS when it first came out. Murder House disturbed me more than most horror flicks ever have, and Asylum and Coven were both wonderously twisted and genuinely well-written. But somewhere along the way, things started getting formulaic. The excess of violence felt less purposeful and more like empty gore. The campiness felt less resonant, the characters less sympathetic. By Hotel, I was done.

I never thought I'd return to American Horror Story. I did binge-watch Roanoke during a rather low period in college, but watching that miserable show actually might qualify as self-harm more than anything else. I stumbled on someone watching an episode of 1984 while home for the weekend and felt my insides shriveling up like the baby corpses in the basement of the murder house.

Then, AHS announced that Macaulay Culkin is joining the cast this season. They haven't yet announced the series' title, but I am sincerely hoping that we'll be graced with American Horror Story: Macaulay Culkin, starring Macaulay Culkin as himself.

That might be the only hope the series has left. Culkin could star as a haunted, washed-up former child actor who continues to relive the traumas of his notorious near-death experiences during the filming of Home Alone. The whole thing could be a commentary on childhood and memory and the thin lines between commodity and tragedy. It could be about the commodification of violence in Hollywood and mostly just about Macaulay Culkin, waking up screaming in the night as he hears yet another killer trying to break into his home.

Most likely, AHS's 10th season will be called something like "AHS: Martians," "AHS: Zombies" or "AHS: Beach House." I may also be converted by a show called "AHS: Climate Change," but that might be too real.

You can watch the ominous and admittedly aesthetically pleasing first glimpse below, via Ryan Murphy's Instagram account:

Despite all the headlines that have spread rumors about him over the years, Culkin actually seems to be doing quite well. He's dating Brenda Song, and he has a satire website called Bunny Ears, a podcast with 100+ episode, and two cats named Apple and Dude. He was once in a pizza-themed comedy band and his legal name is "Macaulay Macaulay Culkin Culkin." And now we'll get to see him embroiled in at least a few brutal murders.

CULTURE

The Mystical Union of Halsey and Evan Peters: Tumblr's Greatest Crossover Couple

Turns out angsty Tumblr superstars of 2014 can find real love in 2019.

"Bad at Love" singer Halsey and American Horror Story actor Evan Peters are officially dating.

They made things official this weekend, stepping out on Friday dressed as two of music's most terrifying figures. Halsey went as a red-haired Marilyn Manson, and Peters was a Juggalo, a fan of the Insane Clown Posse. Then on Saturday, they arrived at the 100th episode celebration of American Horror Story as a polka-dot-clad Sunny Bono and Cher.

Elle.com

The two first sparked dating rumors when they were seen on a roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain. They're both coming off breakups—Peters' seven year relationship with Emma Roberts ended in March after it apparently became toxic. Though it's unclear exactly when Halsey and Yungblud broke up, they were dating at least through September.

Daily Mail

Following Halsey and Peters' roller-coaster debut, fans quickly dug up some of Halsey's old tweets about Evan Peters. For those who didn't know, for a total of seven years, Halsey's been tweeting about her crush on the actor. Though they've all been deleted, as we know, nothing on the Internet ever goes away.


"Halsey, your powers are strong. May this be a lesson to us all!" wrote Mari Lodi in Vulture when the dating rumors began to swirl. It's true that Halsey's ability to successfully tweet her way into a relationship may indicate that she's cast some sort of occult love spell, but honestly, Halsey has always been powerful on her own. She recorded her first demo, "Is There Somewhere," on GarageBand while a homeless teen and scored a major label contract. Her first (and best) album, Badlands, went platinum, and if you listen to its lyrics, you can see that Halsey's always had some sort of divine power. Maybe it's because of her song "Hurricane," but if I had to judge her type of magic, I'd label her as a weather witch, able to conjure up storms and to change the color of the sky (possibly from red to blue to violet) at will.

PinterestLyrics from "Colors", circa Tumblr 2014

Meanwhile, Evan Peters has been dabbling in occultism on his own, albeit in his role on American Horror Story. He was the iconic homicidal ghost Tate Langdon in Murder House, and in a 2012 tweet, Halsey perfectly articulated every teenage girl's feelings about his character. "Seriously Evan Peters stop making me attracted to alleged sociopaths and accused murderers…" she wrote.

https://www.tumblr.com/tagged/wanna-hook-up

Now that their union has emerged from the purely ethereal plane, becoming manifest on our physical one, we can see that it was always written in the stars. They do seem to exist in separate universes, in a way, as they come from TV and pop music respectively. On the other hand, they're both the highest possible evolution of Urban Outfitters teens, Tumblr darlings who somehow made their way into adulthood without losing their perfectly grungy, relatable-yet-alluring mystique. Of course they chose Scorpio season to make their debut as a couple; this time of transformation, rebirth, intensity, and Halloween seems designed for them to join forces. Plus, Sunday was a New Moon, the most goth of all the moons, perfect for a couple that captions their Instagram couple shots "Resident goths."

Sure, their best work may have been done years ago, but maybe this means there's more magic where their early masterpieces came from. Maybe Halsey will write a song from the perspective of Violet Langdon (she did film the music video for "Colors" in the actual Murder House from AHS Season 1). Maybe I don't know which one I'm more attracted to, but I'm not complaining. Maybe if we Tweet enough about our truest desires, they might just become incarnate—though of course, being a world-famous pop star helps.

Halsey - Colors (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com


TV

Netflix's "The Politician" Is Completely Insufferable

Ben Platt's golden vocals can't redeem this show from the pits of its own self-absorption.

This review contains spoilers.

What happens when you combine Glee's high school drama, American Horror Story's propensity for random acts of violence, and an already absurd 2020 electoral cycle?

You wind up with Ryan Murphy's The Politician, and it's just as pretentious, exhausting, and addictive as you'd expect.

The Politician has a lot going for it. It has the lovable, golden-voiced Ben Platt and the sweet Zoey Deusch as its stars, as well as Jessica Lange, Gwyneth Paltrow, and a host of other Hollywood staples. It's extremely timely and very visually pleasing.

But here's the thing: The Politician is, for the most part, totally obnoxious.

Hollywood Reporter

The show tells the story of Payton Hobart, a high school senior whose sole objective in life is to become President of the United States. It doesn't seem that he wants to achieve anything in particular with this platform, and party politics are rarely mentioned except in passing. But Payton will stop at nothing to achieve this goal, and the first step to becoming President of the United States, according to his research, is being elected president of his high school.

Like most characters on the show, Payton is exorbitantly wealthy. Though shunned by his billionaire father, he's the beloved adopted child of Georgina Hobart (Paltrow). The Hobarts might be the show's wealthiest family, but almost all the characters are part of the upper-upper class, and their lives are defined by excess and entitlement. Even one of the "low-income" students—a subject of interest because he's an undecided voter—lives in a nice house with a pool.

Hollywood Reporter

Of course, all this wealth never translates to happiness, and the characters continually try to run away from their families, from emptiness, fakeness, and the looming terror of failing to live up to their potential. One of the characters runs away from home to New York City, and after seeing homeless people on the subway, she returns with a newfound perspective on what the "real world" is like.

Certainly Murphy and his team were trying to satirize the wealth and disconnect at the heart of modern politics; after all, billions of dollars are spent each election cycle, much of it funneled through major corporate establishments. In some way, the show succeeds in doing this, highlighting the prominence of scammers and our growing frustration with them, while also commenting on the pitfalls of authenticity. Still, any message that could've been communicated effectively here is damaged by the show's many plot holes.

Then there's the fact that its characters are extremely difficult to empathize with. No one on the show seems to actually care for each other, even in the smallest way. There's endless, convoluted backstabbing, and everyone uses each other to get something else.

Perhaps the most loving, genuine relationship on the show is between Payton and his mother. Though she clearly loves her son, Georgina's love is mostly communicated through mystical, quasi-deep asides. She's his biggest champion but also the kind of mom who encourages her son's selfishness by corroborating his already inflated sense of self-worth. (Fun fact: She's married to the show's co-creator, Brad Falchuk, who said he based Georgina on Paltrow herself).

VitalThrills.com

In the midst of all the relentless, pointless political competition (what school in this world has such intense elections?), there are moments of blinding tragedy. In the first few episodes, it's revealed that Payton once had a love affair with River, a sensitive, beautiful, Adonis-like lacrosse player who is running against him in the election. In an emotional speech during a debate, River speaks candidly about his prior suicide attempt and about his own feelings of crushing loneliness. An episode later, he shoots himself right in front of Payton, after saying, "I really did love you."

After that, River disappears for several episodes with few mentions, and politics as usual continues. (He eventually reappears as a ghostly manifestation of Payton's own suppressed emotions).

After River dies, his girlfriend, Astrid, decides to run in his place, and she picks one of the school's few black students as her running mate. The VP, Skye, later tries to assassinate Payton so she can take power—and while the show definitely critiques this kind of blunt, tasteless tokenization, it still takes part in it, giving its few cast members who are people of color precious little characterization and screen time.

Newsweek.com

This is just one of the many ways that the show feels removed from the modern era. It's supposed to be about Gen Z, but social media is remarkably absent from the show; political statistics are broadcast on slideshows and votes are counted with slips of paper. As many reviews have pointed out, the show feels firmly rooted in the perspective of someone in Gen X or even earlier.

The only character who seems remotely conscious is the late River, who says he feels like the world is ending in his tell-all speech. Aside from that, the show is simply a muddled approximation of teen life in 2019; it lacks any frank discussion of insecurity, fear, ennui, irony, and bitter humor that defines so much of the conversation among Gen Z, millennials, and most political discourse today. It's about politics, but its politicians stand for nothing. They protest issues like gun violence to get attention but have little to no actual connection to these things. While not all teens are politically active today, the ones that are—the Greta Thunbergs and Emma Gonzalezes—are checked in, to say the least. Everyone in this show is checked out and, other than Platt, excised of an inner life. Each character is a different kind of anxiety, shallowness, and competitiveness personified, and it gets old very quickly.

Maybe that's the point. Maybe the show's plot is a mirror of Payton's convoluted state of mind, or of the incoherence of living in the modern world. But from a viewer's perspective, the show lacks the creative vision and humor to pull itself together. Ostensibly, the entire series is about fakeness and performance, but it does as little as possible to puncture its own ballooned sense of self-importance.

If the show had the acerbic self-critical edge that shows like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia possess or the irreverence and strong characters of The Office, then it could've made for better television. Still, the narrative's downfall is its jumbled, soap-opera-like flair for the dramatic, which might also be what makes it so difficult to turn off.

Fortunately or unfortunately, there will be more seasons of The Politician, as each season supposedly will follow Payton as he runs in a different campaign. Season Two looks like it might be much more promising, as it'll leave behind the bubble of the characters' small town, focusing on Payton's race for (spoiler alert) New York state senator. If the show can leave behind its fixation on high school drama and focus more on the state of politics at large, it might actually be able to spin its jumbled plotlines into a more fulfilling whole.

Still, it's kind of a shame that Netflix would greenlight a show like this one (and give Ryan Murphy a $300 million deal) while canceling shows like The OA that actually had relevant and sincere things to say. Sure, Ben Platt's cover of Joni Mitchell's "River" is uncannily moving. But a simple Google search will take you to a treasure trove of Platt performances, and you need only to search through Goop to get your fix of Gwyneth Paltrow's character's sanitized, spiritual homemaker aesthetic.

River - Ben Platt www.youtube.com

The show is fast-paced, attractively filmed, and difficult to look away from—Murphy makes sure of that, keeping the shock factor alive, and this review barely touches on half of the show's highlights (which include musical theatre duets, a major plotline involving a girl whose grandmother poisons her, and attempted assassinations involving rodent gallbladders). But ultimately, it's as incoherent as your average scroll through Twitter, without any of the spicy discourse or diversity of opinion.