Why Evan Peters Is. Everything.

Nope, not a typo. I have to emphasize the importance of this statement by ending the sentence, immediately followed by a new sentence which consists of one word.

So now that we have grammar validated, allow me to expound on this hyperbolic statement.  Exhibit number one:

And here’s the second piece of evidence:

And why not go for three?

And my favorite incarnation:

This guy…he is the real deal.

Born on the cusp of Capricorn/Aquarius in one of the greatest cities for baseball, food and culture in the nation, his stock continues to rise.

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The bad news…he is only twenty nine…which is way beyond my “axis of creepy”. So he is safe from my charms.

However, as a consumer of fine television with incredible writing teams (see “Turn: Washington’s Spies), I can definitely appreciate his talent and versatility.  Evan manages to bring vulnerability, charm, and compassion to every role in which he portrays, which for some is quite the challenge. He managed to make Tate, “the beautiful monster”, likable and relative.  No small task.  His heinous and anti-social behavior in many of his roles should make for a creature that viewers love to hate.

Except you can’t. Not completely.

Maybe it’s those dead shark eyes of his that draw you in, looking for the glimmer of humanity. Or that easy grin that cauterizes his trustworthy, Midwestern/German face. Or that you just don’t want to completely turn your back to him because, well, you may not trust him as much as you thought.  In any of those scenarios one thing is evident.

Evan Peters has complete command of your attention.

And you’re not turning away.

Full  disclosure: AHS is the only body (clever pun) of work I’ve seen of his so I can’t elucidate properly on his entire collection of genius.  I probably would expect his characters to be a cross between “Jimmy” from “Freak Show” and “Kit” from “Asylum”. One dimensional at first glance, but later pulling back the many layers of the motivations for their behaviors.

Or maybe I’m getting confused with who he really is.  Maybe he shows us more about himself personally in every character he’s played than we are aware.  Isn’t that really what most performers do anyway?

To validate, I’ll allow Evan to speak for himself:

I guess creepy comes natural to me – I hate to say that.”

“But I love Halloween, and I love that feeling: the cold air, the spooky dangers lurking around the corner.”

“There’s something that’s sexy about a guy who has the strength to kill somebody, but is also vulnerable enough to be in love. It’s just those two sides – like, I don’t know why, but women for some reason aren’t attracted to normal guys, like, guys who are in between.”

(Much respect to IMDB for those quotes.)

Honestly, there’s always room on my Victorian fainting couch in my cottage on the shores of the Irish Sea for one of the many incarnations of Evan Peters.  I guess he’s not safe from me after all. Or I, unfortunately, from him. For he is one I seek out by which to be entertained. Because…he.is.everything.

Until the tea kettle rattles and the storms roll in…




Creepy, Purely. But Will It Last?

So I had simmering high hopes for this season of AHS.  I was not a fan of “Hotel” because it visually ran high on gore and intellectually was a snore. I admired their attempt to introduce Valentino to Millenials, but the story line was, in my opinion, uninspired.  Denis O’Hare’s Liz Taylor was on fleek (hope I used that right, 20 somethings), as was Kathy Bates and Angela Basset. Because. Always. And Matt Bomer is just so…I don’t know…luminous.  He is also totally believable playing straight. And if you’re into intense, creepy guys who hang out in corners and look at you from underneath troubled eyebrows, Wes Bentley brings it. Just for you. .  But that’s where my admiration ends.

So I was trepidatious when entering this season. All the fake teasers and refusal to announce the theme. Very clock and dagger.  But my hopes were pinned on a season as creepily satisfying as the first, so I dove in..again.


I was not disappointed. Except I’m not on solid land either.

Allow me to elaborate. Because this is my blog… (SPOILERS BELOW!)

I was hooked in a second with the Paranormal Survivor/Reality Show intro.  Because in my darkest of shame closets I will watch these types of shows.  And then we saw Lily Rabe. And Sarah Paulson. And Cuba Gooding Jr. Who were playing parallel characters reenacting real events. SOLD $$$$

Matt and Shelby are a young, interracial couple who, after two tragic events, escape L.A. and retreat to the wilds of North Carolina. They find a picturesque farm house, which, you know, they just walk into, and win it in a bidding war with some extras from Deliverance.  Soon after, they begin experiencing slamming doors, voices, and a tacky welcome wagon gift on their porch, not to mention a threat on Shelby’s life. But they’ve invested so much that they can’t just leave…

Enter Angela Bassett, Matt’s tough, ex-cop sister clinging to her sobriety. She agreed to stay with Shelby while Matt travels for work, which clearly sets up for bad juju and negativity in the air. Shelby drinks alot of wine after completing her yoga practice and Lee believes she is full of…yeah. that.

Events escalate when the women are alone in the house and creep down the stairs to the basement, guided by disembodied voices.  What they find is unexplained and decidedly creepy and may lend more explanation later on.

The end of the episode comes quickly, with Shelby’s reenactment of hitting a woman whilst fleeing from her home and then getting lost on the woods, but not before she encounters strange wooden and yarn contraptions hanging from trees. Oh, and the guy with no skull… And did I mention the tie into Roanoke? (Look it up…)

All in all it was creepy and very atmospheric. Exactly what I LIKE! No typical blood and guts, low on the shock value.

Which is exactly why I am not trusting that this is how the season will roll.

I’m fully expecting things to get really, really off topic and weird. And because I like this format so much, I feel it will change quickly.

However, I found some tie-ins to previous seasons which I’m paying attention to: Interracial couple, miscarriage, haunted house, and the PIGMAN!

So, keep it coming Falchuck and Murphy! I’m. All. IN.

And of course we have to see what Gaga will do.

Till the tea kettle rattles and the storms blow in…


“Look At The Mountains: The Creepy Legacy of Miramont Castle

Clad in black, tingling hands pulling his coat tighter around his thin frame, the man stared hard at the mist covered mountains just outside the window. He squinted his failing eyes, making out shadows below on the lawn; members of the parish and town who were not sorry to see him off. Nor he them. “Allez!”, he shouted suddenly, turning to face the scuttling novices of the Sisters of Mercy, who now raced with boxes of belongings and pieces of artwork down the grand staircase. Anxious to return to polite, aristocratic society, the man became impatient. Soon, he and La Mere would return to France to settle back into the fine world his aristocratic father had laid out for them. And what had happened here would be forgotten, for who would speak of it?  The mountains were silent sentries, quiet in their secret keeping.

Lodged firmly into the rock under which healing natural spring water flows, Miramont Castle is now home to the Manitou Springs Historical Society in Manitou Springs, Colorado. At an impressive 14,000 square feet and with thirty rooms, this is truly not an average abode or humble living quarters. Built in 1895, the castle was home to only two family members, a mother and son who had arrived from New Mexico by way of France.

Father Jean Baptiste Francolon had been dispatched to New Mexico to be the personal secretary to Bishop Lamy in the Archdiocese in 1878. Even at the age of twenty four, Father Francolon proved to be unpopular with the parishioners. There is even some speculation that he may have been poisoned, according to the Castle’s website (www.miramontcastle.org). In 1892, he was placed at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Manitou Springs, which was known for the healthy spring water. Hoping this would improve his health, the ailing priest moved north, staying within the confines of the Rocky Mountains.

The child of an aristocratic diplomat, Father Francolon was not used to the sparse living arrangements that the church encouraged for priests.  Built in 1895. his home, which translates into “Look at the Mountain”, offered picturesque views, two inch thick walls between rooms, running water, various antiques, a luxurious parlor, and an immaculate garden. Certainly, a home to rival Versailles. It is also supposed that the nuns of the Sisters of Mercy cooked and cleaned for him and his mother.

But even within the confines of his magnificent fortress, Father Francolon could not escape his past. Debts and a lawsuit for non-payment of construction materials followed him, along with his reputation. Again, he was disliked by the townspeople and he kept mostly to himself. However, he did host two charity balls in 1897, with proceeds going to the poor of Manitou Springs and to the library.

A mere five years later, in 1900, Father Francolon and his mother left Miramont Castle, leaving many pieces of household furnishings, but taking expensive artwork. They returned to France, where she died shortly after their return. Father Francolon returned to the United States and lived in New York until his death in 1922.

The castle was abandoned until 1904, upon which the Sisters of Mercy purchased it and used it as the summer location of their sanatorium, Montecalme. Miramont became the permanent location in 1907 after the main campus was engulfed in flames and destroyed.

The Solarium, noted for it’s high ceilings, 180 degree view, and natural lighting, was used as an operating room for simple procedures.

In 1927, the sanitorium closed and the castle became a private retreat for the members of the nunnery.

The economic boom following World War II echoed through Miramont, as it was released from the Sisters’ hands and into private investors who converted it into nine apartments. These were mainly geared towards returning veterans and planned to accommodate them as they reentered into civilian life.

The Castle enjoyed another renaissance in 1976 after it had been neglected and damaged for years. Nearing condemnation, it was saved by the Manitou Springs Historical Society and today is open to the public The museum offers a view into the genteel world of Victorian living at the turn of the century, with some amazing architecture and amenities. It is handicap accessible and offers a Queen’s Tea for those looking for a special way to remember the Castle (check website for details).

The basement hosts a firefighter’s exhibit, and houses relics from some of the earliest firefighting equipment, badges, uniforms, and curios. Other exhibits throughout the Castle include Trial at Nuremberg, artifacts from John C. Young, Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court who presided over the 12th Nurnburg Trial, and a gallery of artwork by local artists.

But the Castle continues to be home to Father Francolon. His bedroom suite, decidedly smaller than the other rooms, appears to be awaiting his return; his hat hanging from a rack, his rosary near his bible.

A small chapel is located within the center of the Castle, near the sweeping staircase. A sign on the wall said that the chapel has been opened to the public for small ceremonies, including weddings.

The architecture spans nine types, including Gothic, Moorish, and Domestic Elizabethan, and offers, as a centerpiece, a twenty-ton fireplace in red sandstone, complete with an arched hearth.

The tour is self-guided, and comes with an informational sheet that details the history of the Castle and it’s rooms.

The reason as to why Father Francolon left Manitou Springs is never clearly discussed, which brings up many possibilities that could be entertained in a fertile imagination. With his reputation, it would be easy to create scenarios that introduce lurid details, but these questions are not answered within the Castle.

Miramont indeed lives up to it’s romantic name and is an impressive and lovely museum. Though located near a bustling downtown, there is a sense of isolation and loneliness that permeates through the two inch thick walls. Indeed, there is little happiness that accompanies the history of the Castle, the bricks and mortar held together by sadness and disappointment.

Manitou Springs is located five miles from Colorado Springs, Colorado and also offers many unique boutiques and eateries. There are also seven spigots in the main square which run spring water; tourists are encouraged to stop by the Visitors Bureau to receive a free cup so they may sample the healing waters.

For more information about Miramont, visit http://www.miramontcastle.org.

Season’s Readings…The Haunting of Hill House


“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.  Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more.  Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”

So begins The Haunting of Hill House, one of Shirley Jackson’s more renown works.  And a piece of literature, if you are not familiar, let me kindly introduce you.

Throw some fresh pinewood on the fire, refill your mug with tea, and have a protein snack nearby…you won’t be leaving your chair for awhile once you begin this tale.

Eleanor Vance is a quiet, unassuming “good daughter” who has cared for her invalid mother for eleven years.  Endless bowls of soup, piles of soiled laundry, and fragments of guilt have permeated every facet of Eleanor’s world.  Losing her identity after her mother dies, she goes to live with her sister, and her family, which consists of a bratty niece and a condescending brother-in-law. But Eleanor has a secret.  And a driver’s license.

After being contacted by Dr. Montague, a psychologist who is researching the authenticity of a truly haunted house, she stealthy steals  borrows her sister’s car (a car she insists she paid half to purchase) and drives to a remote location outside of Boston.  Despite her mousey appearance and servant lifestyle, Eleanor has some strong psychic abilities and the last lines of a poem logged in her soul ( “Journeys end in lovers meeting).  Ultimately, she is sustained by these two characteristics and soon arrives at the gates of Hill House.

Looking at this arrival as a vacation, which she has never experienced, Eleanor throws herself whole heartedly into the experiment at hand.  She also meets her fellow paranormal partner, Theodora, an eccentric artist who shows both sweet and sadistic sides to her personality.  Luke Sewell, a family member of the home owner’s is there to provide insurance that the house is not being trashed, appears as a slightly entitled but hapless you man who alternately flirts with and disregards Eleanor.  And Dr. Montague’s introduction is much like the benevolent wizard who controls the players; nothing to dangerous…at first, lest they lose their powers too soon.

Over drinks in the parlor, Dr. Montague  conjures images of a house with well-intentions but a detestable fate. From the carriage crash that kills the lady of the house before she ever sets eyes upon its Gothic turrets to the two bickering sisters who fought over the gilded dishes.  And of course, the unpleasantness with the caretaker…

The house also appears to change shape as hallways extend to nothingness and doors lead to rooms previously unnoticed.  As Eleanor’s distortion grows, so does her sharpened skills and perceptions.  Who is Dr. Montague, really?  Can she trust Theodora, whom she had called “cousin?”  Could Luke be her one true love who has been waiting for her at the end of the journey?  What truly is lurking just outside in the garden? And who (or what) keeps writing chalk dust messages about her returning home?

Psychologically, the story races around dark corners and into hidden passageways, providing one of the most enjoyable rides in literary fiction.  Jackson was a master of deep, inner dialogue with a passion for the black side of humanity and plays it beautifully, even beyond the final sentence.

As preserved as coffin flowers, this story rings as true at it did over fifty years ago when first published. For a devilishly delightful and atmospheric read, look no further than this tale.

Bonus: The 1962 move version is also fantastic!

Until the next storm rolls in…