American Horror Story: Asylum

With your eyes all painted Sinatra…black?

I’m currently watching the acclaimed American Horror Story: Asylum with my roommates.


I’m particularly interested by the use of the “Angel of Death” or “Dr. Heidegger” archetype in Dr. Arden. I want to examine his character in the following post.

Nathaniel Hawthorne was, to my knowledge, responsible for perpetuating the trope in American literature. “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment,” “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” and “The Birthmark.” Before him, (to my knowledge,) it was Mary Shelley who introduced English readers to the scientist who pushes science into the realm of morality, metaphysics, and philosophy. Frankenstein, Heidegger, Rappaccini, and Aylmer. They are the four characters who make Arden possible.

You see, Art is a sadist. He likes his patients awake for his operations. No anesthesia. He likes his women to do exactly as he demands. He pulls the circuit to electrocute his patients. When talking with Kit before excising the probe in his neck, he goes on about how he could be jailed for his practices or worse.

Hello. Let’s forget about anesthetics for now. Enjoy.

Quite the pleasant scientist, eh.

After watching the first two episodes, I get the feeling this guy will have an ultimatum to face — and it will probably involve the sweet little nun with a demon inside.

I’ll keep watching.

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