'AHS' Elsa Mars Is a Torture Porn Victim, Which Seemed To Be The Theme of "Edward Mordrake Part 2"

It would be stupid to start an episode of any season of American Horror Story expecting not to be shocked to your core — shock is, after all, the life blood on which the Ryan Murphy series survives. But Season 4 took things ridiculously far when Elsa Mars' AHS: Freak Show backstory came to light. Elsa is victim of some rather literal torture porn, having had her legs sawed off as part of a dirty movie she was tricked into making back in Germany. Yes, really.

I'd say that it's inappropriate for the series to have gone that far, but I've come to expect nothing less from this constantly awe-inducing show. We actually signed up for this — the clown with the gooey mouth, the wonderboy with sex toy hands, and Elsa's personal horror story. 

It did seem rather odd, however, to see that AHS took such a sexual undertone with the episode. When depicting such graphic travesties as Elsa's legs being sawed off or Maggie Esmeralda nearly getting sawed in half (lots of sawing happening this week), it's probably a good idea to keep the sexual aspect separate. In both scenes, the angles of the camera add a sexual nature to something that should be anything but sexual. Combining the two adds a layer of uneasiness that crosses from creepy show mean to make us scream, to creepy show that brings about feelings no one should ever have to feel. 

Of course, there's a scene that set this sexual tone: when Edward Mordrake asks for her story, we see Elsa's former profession as a dominatrix in which she makes a German soldier sit on a toilet with nails sticking out of it. That definitely pinned a certain tone on the rest of the episode. 

It's true that we signed up for something that shakes us to our cores and touches on some of our deepest fears in a visceral way, but something about bringing that brutal, savage violence into a realm of the most intimate pleasure known to humankind is just a little too much, if you ask me.

Image: Michele K. Short/FX

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