Kathy Bates scares the crap out of me. There. I said it. I own it. I understand that the movie Misery, while not bad, was still a shell of its Stephen King-penned literary self. But Bates didn't care.

She stepped on the gas and plowed, full-throttle, into the unparalleled psychosis of whackjob nurse--and #1 fan--Annie Wilkes. And she even won an Oscar for it. Did she deserve it? Who knows?

But she was a scary freakshow and she needed to be. It's not just all that obvious (and silly) "cock-a-doodie"-laced dialogue. It was when she was quiet. And her eyes glazed. And she was no longer, mentally, one of us. Scary performance.

And, now, she has topped herself...at least, so far. Wednesday night's season premiere of American Horror Story: Coven proved once and for all that sometimes typecasting is a good thing.

You want a sadistic crackpot who tortures slaves by sewing their eyes and mouths shut and who moisturizes with human blood? Well, then, Kathy Bates is your girl.

This is a really terrific performance because the Bates character--Madame Marie Delphine LaLaurie, a real life New Orleans socialite and serial killer circa-1830--doesn't seem at all crazy when she's "on." That's right, she may yell and she may murder and she may rub blood into her pores but not once does Bates ever make it seem like LaLaurie is psychotic.

And how PSYCHOTIC is THAT?!?

Bates' Madame LaLaurie seems as if it will be a centerpiece in another freaky season of American Horror Story. And, of course, so will Jessica Lange's Fiona. I hope that's the case because, right now, the four younger cast members aren't very interesting and we could get a lot of scenes that echo Carrie, and we already have enough Carrie's to go around.

But a season that one critic said was going to be lighter in tone than the previous two is already off to a pretty dark beginning.

Of course, humor WILL help as we go along. Anything to ease the heebie-jeebies Kathy Bates seems hell-bent on instilling.