Ryan Murphy's carefully curated drama camp has become a staple of the 2010s with the twin success of American Horror Story and American Crime Story. His next project, Ratched, is a new kind of horror, a spinoff of the thriller classic One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Starring Sarah Paulson as young Mildred Ratched, the series explores what turned the famous nurse into the abusive terrorizer of patients fans met in the original movie. Netflix's Ratched trailer promises Murphy is going to take this cuckoo's nest and go one over the top.
Ratched is Murphy's first horror series for Netflix, and as such, is not connected in any way to American Horror Story. Still, fans could be forgiven for thinking it was. The immediate post-World War II setting recalls some of the AHS period-set seasons. And of course, Paulson, who has been a Murphy staple for years now, stars as the titular character.
Ratched is not inspired by Murphy's other work, but rather from the 1975 classic film One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Jack Nicholson starred in it as R.P. McMurphy, which solidified him the eyes of the public as a star. The character of Nurse Ratched (played in the original by Louise Fletcher) was Nicholson's evil nemesis in the film, and she represented the straight-jacket of society designed to break a man.
With Ratched, Murphy's conceit is to ask who Mildred was before the years when Cuckoo's Nest is set, and how she became this twisted controlling embodiment of evil. The answer is, of course, monsters are not born, but made.
Here's the synopsis for the new series:
In 1947, Mildred arrives in Northern California to seek employment at a leading psychiatric hospital where new and unsettling experiments have begun on the human mind. On a clandestine mission, Mildred presents herself as the perfect image of what a dedicated nurse should be, but the wheels are always turning and as she begins to infiltrate the mental health care system and those within it, Mildred’s stylish exterior belies a growing darkness that has long been smoldering within, revealing that true monsters are made, not born.
Ratched will premiere all eight episodes on Sept. 18, 2020, on Netflix.