American Horror Story: Asylum was all about religion, demonic possession, mental institutions… and aliens. Here’s what these characters really mean.
American Horror Story: Asylum included aliens, which don’t really seem to fit with the rest of the “mental institution” and “demonic possession” theme of the season, so why were they included and what do they really mean in this context? The horror genre has regained popularity in recent years and not only on the big screen but also on TV. Among the most popular and acclaimed horror TV shows in the last decade is American Horror Story, an anthology TV series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk.
American Horror Story debuted on FX in 2011 and was very well received, allowing it to continue living for many more seasons. This has made it possible for the series to create its own unified universe and explore a variety of themes. First was Murder House, which as the title suggests, was all about a haunted house where the ghosts of its former residents and their victims lived. Then came what’s considered by many as the best season of the show: Asylum, with mental institutions at the front and center. Thanks to that specific setting, Asylum explored themes like corruption, abuse of power, and demonic possession – but it also added another element that doesn’t fit the rest, thus confusing viewers.
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The unlikely addition to American Horror Story: Asylum were aliens, who were key in the arc of Kit Walker (Evan Peters). The aliens abducted Kit’s wife, Alma, but authorities believed he had killed her and thus he was the serial killer “Bloody Face”. Aliens were present throughout Asylum though not as prominently as other themes, but they were triggers in Kit’s life, and they even returned for him when he died of cancer many years later. It’s even more confusing that aliens were added to Asylum as they weren’t a main theme/element in the season as a whole, just in Kit’s arc, but Ryan Murphy has already explained the meaning behind aliens in this particular season.
Speaking to EW in 2013, Murphy, Falchuk, and producer Tim Minear opened up about many elements from American Horror Story, including the alien storyline in Asylum. Murphy said that, to him, the aliens were “always an obvious metaphor for God” and thus could easily fit into “the world of a Catholic sanitarium asylum” they were building. Minear mentioned stories like the Betty and Barney Hill abduction in the 1960s as inspiration for the inclusion of Aliens in Asylum, as they, just like Kit and Alma, were an interracial couple, adding that it felt “exactly right to him for the period”. Minear went on to add that the aliens are “the closest things to angels”, and as the series has a “religion vs science” approach, to him, the aliens fit quite well, with Murphy agreeing that the “science vs faith” vibe of Asylum was ideal for the addition of aliens.
Seen from Murphy and Minear’s perspective, having aliens in American Horror Story: Asylum makes more sense, more so as they did play a role of God and angels by taking Alma and Grace and bringing them back and later taking Kit with them when he died, as an “angel” would do, and they also bring an interesting contrast between the whole religion/faith side of the story and the science part of it. It’s unknown if Ryan Murphy and company intend to dedicate a future season of American Horror Story to aliens instead of using them as a subplot, but if they do, they will most likely mix in other elements as well.
Next: American Horror Story: Asylum’s Bloody Face Killer (& His Copycats) Explained
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