Nurse Ratched may not be a brand new American Horror Story character, however she is an notorious icon in popular culture, immortalized by Louise Fletcher in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Certainly, the American Film Institute ranked her as the fifth-best film villain of all time, simply beneath the likes of Hannibal Lecter and Darth Vader. Now, she’s getting the Ryan Murphy therapy with Ratched, a Netflix prequel sequence led by Sarah Paulson. Whereas increasing on her backstory is an intriguing endeavor, Mildred Ratched is traditionally a legendary character.
Nurse Ratched originates from Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Kesey was impressed by his personal experiences as a nurse’s aide at a psychiatric ward. In his novel, Nurse Ratched is a former military nurse performing as the head administrative nurse at a psychological establishment in Oregon. She emerges as chilly and calculating, virtually machine-like. She manipulates male sufferers into submission via threats and humiliation, exercising ways reminiscent of electroshock remedy and lobotomies. Whereas she maintains an authoritative presence, there’s one particular person in her method: Randle McMurphy, the rowdy new switch affected person. In the end, Nurse Ratched embodies how establishments can slowly and menacingly dehumanize folks below the guise of authority.
Louise Fletcher and Jack Nicholson respectively introduced Ratched and McMurphy to the massive display screen with two Academy Award-winning performances in the 1975 movie adaptation. Fletcher ingrained Nurse Ratched into popular culture reminiscence with a stiff white uniform and glued 1940s coiffure. Nurse Ratched is, like her ebook counterpart, obsessive about management and order. In the film, Fletcher brings dimension to her character’s refined terror by balancing Nurse Ratched’s insidious actions with a mild and calm demeanor. In a profile with Vanity Fair, the actress shared the perception that Nurse Ratched is satisfied that what she does is correct for her sufferers.
Spoiler alert: Nurse Ratched is taken down by the finish of each the ebook and film. After an inmate takes his life, she and McMurphy get right into a brawl over what occurred to him. McMurphy tries to strangle her to dying. Nurse Ratched makes it out alive, however she’s a lot weaker, as she has accidents round her neck and might now not communicate over sufferers. As punishment for his actions, McMurphy undergoes a lobotomy and enters a vegetative state.
Ratched serves as a prequel to the novel and the film, imagining the titular character in 1947 as she seems for work at a psychiatric hospital in Northern California. Whereas Nurse Ratched is an icon, there have been feminist critiques about how she’s a girl who terrifies males merely due to her energy. Paulson’s portrayal affords a chance for nuance and depth. And contrasting with the predominantly male film, it will be supplemented with views from different feminine characters, together with these performed by Sharon Stone and Cynthia Nixon. In the prequel, we’ll see how Nurse Ratched’s twisted methods got here to be — we’re already terrified wrapping our brains round it.