I first saw American Horror Story on cable a few months back but I wasn’t able to catch the pilot so I decided not to follow the series just yet. At the back of my head though, whenever I caught a trailer for an upcoming episode, I got more curious about this weekly horror, created by the geniuses behind Glee — Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. Its a total departure from all the teen drama of the musical and I wanted to know what these two had up their sleeve. Finally, a friend was able to share with me her collection of the first season. As a big horror fan, I must say, I was completely blown away by this intricately plotted miniseries.
The story revolves around the Harmons, a family that is going through a difficult time after first suffering from a miscarriage and then finding out that dad Ben (Dylan McDermott) has been cheating on his wife Vivien (Connie Britton). In a bid to save their family, they find a spooky old house in Los Angeles that Violet (Taissa Farmiga, little sis to movie star Vera), immediately falls in love with. After learning that it is being sold for a fraction of its actual cost because of its rich (read-tragic) history, they decide to buy the house after all. The family start to put their lives back on track but the presence of overzealous neighbor Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange), a former glamor girl and mother to Addie, a woman with down syndrome who has an uncanny fixation on the house, make it difficult for the Harmons to have the peace and quiet they desire. Also, there is Tate (Evan Peters), a disturbed teen and Ben’s new patient (he’s a psychiatrist) who develops an attraction for Violet, a disfigured weird guy Larry (Dennis O’Hare) who warns Ben to get out of the house while he still can, and Moira (Frances Conroy/Alexa Breckenridge), an elderly housekeeper who somehow transforms into a sultry young temptress when in the presence of the house’s current master.
From the very start, one has to give credit to the show for not only being creepy as heck but being able to execute cinema-quality storytelling into an episodic masterpiece. For one, the opening credits, a collage of gothic old photographs combined with a 60s soundtrack is bound to give viewers the heebie jeebies. The style in which miniseries is executed, which is mostly owed to the fact that the script follows an intelligently written plot that pretty much has the viewers guessing who and what did which to who is absolutely astounding. The combination of the supernatural and the sheer temerity of the series to really reach and mercilessly tell a dark and twisted tale is probably what makes this anthology a cut above the regular cable fare. Everything is connected and each of the characters is able to connect with the audience in one way or the other. But what’s amazing is that even as each story unfolds, the house never seems to lose its tricks. There is always something that shocks the viewers about the house with each episode, even up until the very end.
I must admit though that what drew me the most to the series is Evan Peters, who plays the horribly twisted yet utterly charming Tate Langdon, who, on the one hand, is a rebellious mass murderer, and on the other is a young man who falls in love with Violet, whom he sees as a kindred spirit. My favorite episode would probably have to be Episode 10 “Smoldering Children,” where he tries to protect his girlfriend from the hard truth. I love the combination of vulnerability and ruthlessness that he exhibited throughout the series and I was glad to find out that he was going to come back for the second season to play a totally different character Kit Walker, who is completely opposite his role as Tate.
This show had me hooked from beginning to end. The last episode was a bit open ended, and I would have wanted for things to end better for my sweet little psychopath but it was a good ending — bittersweet but just right. I just couldn’t get enough of this show. I would watch it again in a heartbeat. Its that good.
PS. The season ended without me knowing what happened to Constance’s fourth child. Feel free to sound off for theories.