Sarah Paulson is known for playing frightening characters like twisted psychic Billie Dean Howard, witch headmistress Cordelia Foxx, and ghost junkie Sarah McKenna across all nine seasons of American Horror Story. But Netflix just released the final trailer for the actor's new series, which proves fans haven't seen anything yet. This Ratched trailer shows Sarah Paulson at her most terrifying — yes, including all of her AHS personas.
Ratched, created by her AHS collaborator Ryan Murphy, tells the origin story of Nurse Mildred Ratched from the infamous Oscar-winning 1975 film One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, as now portrayed by Paulson, who attempts to paint a picture of how the nurse became one of the most dreaded villains in cinematic history. The final trailer starts out with a big clue, as Nurse Ratched explains that she was taken from her parents at a young age with the promise that she would see them again — one which wasn't kept, because what makes a villain if not parental abandonment?
The trailer captures all of the steps on Nurse Ratched's journey from doctor's assistant to cold-hearted killer, including a secret love story with a mental health patient, her fixation on peaches, and the invention of the lobotomy, which, according to Dr. Richard Hanover (Jon Jon Briones) can reverse juvenile distraction and lesbianism, among other "conditions." Her fascination with the procedure is obvious from the start, as is her longing to be free from feeling sad or abandoned. "You deserve someone to show you mercy," Paulson says ominously in the trailer. "How different I would be if someone had."
The trailer also gives viewers a sneak peek at the star-studded cast of new Murphy recruits and AHS staples, including Sharon Stone as heiress Lenore Osgood, Cynthia Nixon as gubernatorial campaign manager Gwendolyn Briggs, Finn Wittrock as mass murderer Edmund Tolleson, and Judy Davis as Nurse Bucket.
Paulson previously told Vanity Fair that she hated Nurse Ratched "very, very deeply" when she first saw Cuckoo's Nest, which only made her more interested in trying to humanize her. “I feel like Nurse Ratched is sort of a shorthand for barbarism," she said. "She became almost like a catchphrase for any sort of institutional abuse of power. What was interesting was trying to create an emotional character from a reputation that’s very cold… trying to figure out every little detail about her childhood, her relationships, her sexuality." However, that doesn't mean she wasn't afraid of the challenge — even Murphy was scared. “It felt very daunting to take on one of these great mythological characters," he told VF. Not as scared as we will be watching the series, but still.
Ratched premieres on Netflix on Sept. 18, and Paulson will promptly start haunting your nightmares thereafter.