Chad Reviews AMERICAN HORROR STORY: TV’s Scariest Show Ever!
Ryan Murphy, the guy who created Glee, now wants to make you pee! And, with the help of his Glee co-worker and co-creative partner, Brad Falchuk, he is doing just that every Wednesday night with the FX original series American Horror Story! When Dave Spencer and I were co-hosting our movie review show The Screening Room, we had pretty much given up on the horror movie genre. Studios realized that for these types of movies to really make money, they had to be rated PG-13. After all, the teenagers were the ones going to the cinema and buying the tickets and, more importantly, buying all those cheeseball special effects and watered-down scary-movie devices. But, suddenly, the genre is alive and well on the small screen. With HBO’s True Blood and AMC’s The Walking Dead, horror has a new home on the tube. And horror’s newest home of all, American Horror Story’s MURDER HOUSE, is the most terrifying of them all!
Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton star as Ben and Vivien Harmon. When they purchase their new home, they have no idea it’s basically Amityville times 10! At first, they are too distracted to notice. She miscarried. He couldn’t cope, even though he’s a psychiatrist, and had an affair. She caught him in the act and slashed him with a big old butcher knife and now they’re fighting to save their seemingly unsalvageable marriage. A move across the country seems the perfect remedy, but tell that to their teenager-on-the-verge of a daughter, Violet (played by Taissa Vermiga).
Violet knows her parents are miserable and she’s right there with them. Violet’s doing all those things rebellious teenagers aren’t supposed to do. The only difference is her parents are too wrapped up in their own drama and misery to take the time to tell her, “Violet, you really shouldn’t be getting into girl-fights at school. Violet, you really shouldn’t be flirting with Daddy’s teenaged patient who’s obviously a psychotic!”
Oh, yeah! Did I mention this family, to escape their recent past, picked the single worst house ever to move into? Would you buy a house that was known around Los Angeles as MURDER HOUSE! Would you buy a house that’s on the Infamous Tour of Homes because all of its residents die gruesome deaths? Would you buy a house where a young gal with Downs Syndrome constantly stands out front and warns, “You’re gonna die in there!” Probably not! Unless you have the WORST realtor on the planet!
Now, in the Harmons’ defense . . . they didn’t know the history of the house when they bought it. But, it doesn’t take long for that history to begin repeating itself. There’s a crazy-ass, rabid baby living in the basement that seems to crave flesh. That’s always a pleasant discovery! (It kind of reminds me of Jaclyn’s daughter, Carsyn, when she sees a package of M&M’s!) There’s a creepy-ass man (clad in a rubber suit) living in the attic who comes downstairs for an occasional booty call. (Not judging, just saying!) There’s a creepy-ass housekeeper with one eye tending to the house. Vivien sees her as Six Feet Under’s Frances Conroy. Ben sees her as a sexy nymphette who puts the “french” in “French Maid,” if you know what I mean! Then there’s Larry Harvey (Denis O’Hare), who lurks outside and claims to have been driven mad by the house . . . to the point where he killed his own family by setting the house on fire.
In other words . . . this family needs to move, immediately! Rent an apartment. Hit up the homeless shelter. Live on a bus like the Partridge Family. Just move! And move quick, because I haven’t even mentioned your WORST nightmare!
And, yes! Your worst nightmare, Ben and Vivien Harmon, just may be your neighbor, Constance (played by a ferociously fun and politically-incorrect Jessica Lange, who, mark it down, is going to win an Emmy for her work on this show). Constance is a real piece of work and seems to be linked to the house. She’s knows its secrets and you get the sense that she’s deeply embroiled in them. After all, Addy, the young lady with Downs who stands outside telling people they’re “going to regret it” if they go in, is her daughter. Constance loves her and resents her in the same breath. She’ll threaten the life of anyone who touches Addy, then turn around herself and lock her in a closet of mirrors. Oh, and wait! The young psychotic who flirts with Violet and hangs out downstairs in the basement with the piranha baby, seems like he could be linked to her too. I have a hunch that Constance’s ties to this house or greater . . . or graver . . . than we currently know.
American Horror Story is truly unlike anything I have ever seen on television. It is eerie, unnerving, and, at times, downright jarring. The show makes no apologies for its adult themes, gore, profanity and nudity. It’s one of the most original series in television history and is, without a doubt, the most terrifying. And, we’re just three episodes into a thirteen-episode season and the ghosts and mysteries of the house continue to unveil themselves.
Here’s what I know. If my last name was Harmon and I found myself living in MURDER HOUSE, I would get the hell out. But, since I am on the outside looking in, I want them to stay and I can’t wait for more American Horror Story, FX’s ground-breaking new series that just may be my favorite show on television. The big screen hasn’t done horror right in a decade. But Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have managed to make us scream with, pardon the pun, glee!
American Horror Story airs each Wednesday at 9pm CST on FX. The first few episodes are currently available On Demand, so you’ll be able to catch up . . . if you dare! In the meantime, take a look at the official trailer for the show!