Horror has come in a variety of flavors this summer: Gory. Existential. Sharknado. FX’s The Strain is geek Neapolitan—a combo of all three. It’s a high-concept monster mash—a vampire takeover thing restated as a zombie plague thing—that revels in body ick and clever ironies. This is a show that gets its shocks and jollies from having a goth rocker—a prick raconteur who’s only in it for the “p—y”—accidentally flush his balls down the toilet after his infected body abruptly decides to shed them, leaving him looking like Marilyn Manson on the cover of Mechanical Animals. The lout responds with an “Aw, nuts!” groan, as if getting the Karma-is-a-kick-to-the-groin joke of it all.
The premise makes The Strain a show for our Ebola jittery moment. A New York-bound plane carrying a coffin packed with dirt, mutant worms, and an ancient beastly bloodsucker (with billowy robes and an epically long anaconda for a tongue) successfully lands at the airport, but with all passengers dead save four—who quickly become red-eyed, pasty-skinned ghouls with whippy, pincer-tipped lickers like their dirty-batty progenitor. (The Strain digs its new-model vampires and loves to nerd on their smartly considered construction. An autopsy sequence in episode 3 was an early season gross-out highlight.) READ FULL STORY