Just months after the release of The Politician season two and limited series Hollywood, Ryan Murphy is reverting back to all things macabre with new show Ratched. The Netflix original, which reunites the showrunner with American Horror Story staple Sarah Paulson, explores the origin story of the nightmare nurse Mildred Ratched. And from the looks of the trailer, you'll have to watch this show with the lights on.
Nurse Ratched is a character made famous by the 1962 Ken Kesey novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and the eponymous film remake that followed it years later. In the story, she terrorizes the staff and the patients of an Oregon mental institution, using her authority to subject the people around her to a number of atrocities.
For his new Netflix series, Murphy will dig deeper into Nurse Ratched's history, tracing her life experiences in order to explain how and why she made her descent into madness at the hospital. In Ratched, audiences learn that the mad Nurse's sociopathic behavior likely stems from her traumatic time on the frontlines of WWII as a nurse.
"We had a saying in the Corps," says Paulson-as-Nurse Ratched in the full-length trailer, the scene showing her violently cracking a soldier's bones back into place. "Save one life, you're a hero. Save one hundred lives...well, then you're a nurse."
Unfortunately for the institution that hires her, the nurse turns out to be more villain than hero, but Ratched gives her an important nuance that has been missing in past iterations of her story. She's still terrifying, yes, but there's so much more to Nurse Ratched than meets the eye.
“I think ultimately at the end of the day, [loneliness] is sort of what drives Mildred," Paulson told Vanity Fair of her complicated character. "A pursuit of survival and of finding some sense of home. Even though the methods that she chooses to achieve that internal security are somewhat questionable, I would argue that she’s doing them with a potentially selfish need, but a survival need nevertheless.”
Paulson is obviously a perfect fit for the lead role in Murphy's retelling of the horror classic — I don't think anyone does scary shit quite like she does — and she's got an all-star cast joining her for the ride. Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct), Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City), Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda), and Vincent D'Onofrio (Law and Order: Criminal Intent) are among the famous faces that star alongside Paulson in the psychological thriller series.
Nurse Ratched will never not be a nightmare, but with Ratched, you might find yourself understanding her a little bit more. Find out why when season one makes its debut on Netflix on September 18.