|"For sale--cheap." Wonder why?|
|We're a happy family... Not.|
Cue supernatural mayhem, right? Well, yeah. Duh.
Except that it really isn't that simple. The house has been a site for murder and mayhem of old, which means that there is a lot more going on here, a lot more to come, and a lot of ghosts, and even though the first episode takes you by the neck and doesn't quit until the end, it still expects you to hang around and find out what's going on. Creators Murphy and Falchuk have already stated that the entire opening-credits sequence is rife with clues that have to do about what the house really is and what went on there, so any puzzle-lovers among you who went wild over Twin Peaks and The X-Files should be set for AHS's initial 13 episodes.
|The Gimp Suit|
As previously stated, the house is rife with ghosts, one of which appears to be haunting a leather gimp-suit found in the attic, which was left behind by the previous owners. Though we know full well the house is haunted almost from the beginning, part of the interest of AHS is trying to figure out who of the numerous outsiders (who approach the Harmon family for one reason or another) is actually a ghost, since they all appear connected in some way to the house. Besides the Gimp Suit, there is the very batty and elegantly vulgar next-door neighbor, Constance (Jessica Lange) and her "mongoloid" daughter Adelaide (Jamie Brewer), who is also the little girl from the beginning of Episode 1, who seem to be able to enter the house whenever they like. Soon after the Harmons move in, Vivian hires Moira (Frances Conroy and Alexandra Breckenridge), the mysterious "former housekeeper" who appears as a middle-aged woman to everyone else but as a seductive garter-clad young temptress to Dan. Dan must also deal with his latest patient Tate (Evan Peters) an intelligent and frighteningly disturbed young man who is developing a very twisted and dangerously mentoring relationship to Farmiga's broken, self-loathing Violet, and a strange, badly burned man named Larry (Denis O'Hare) who is a former owner of the house, which drove him to murder his wife and children by fire. Though all these characters initially seem to have malicious intent toward the Harmons, Constance prevents Dan from performing a deed similar to Larry's murder in the first episode, and in Episode 2 Tate, Constance and Moira protect the Harmons from police interference and possible incarceration by cleaning up the aftermath of a night of terror in the house when Dan is away and Vivian and Violet are terrorized by three murderous devotees of a serial killer who committed a double murder in the house in 1968. This suggests that whatever the house's final endgame is, it may be that not all the "ghosts" want to do serious harm to the Harmons, and perhaps some of them are even seeking redemption.
|Vamp Moira: Hotter than hell|
So for my own part, I shall follow this to its end, despite the excess, cliches, slightly wooden acting (of which McDermott is especially guilty), and the time being used to set up the overall story, which from what I am reading in reviews seems to be what is really bothering most reviewers: that someone would take 13 episodes to tell a story that could be told in one two-hour movie (or perhaps a series of same). While American Horror Story will not give up its secrets so easily, one has to consider the reality of the current television horror landscape. This will most likely be the final season for the beloved Winchesters of Supernatural (who do seem despite CW's best efforts to be growing long in the tooth), and while Vampire Diaries and Secret Circle come from material that is above-the-norm by comparison to other teen horror, there is a definite sense that we should know the drill simply by virtue of paying attention to the last few years of pop culture phenomena. By comparison with those examples, American Horror Story is, very definitely, unlike anything else on TV.
American Horror Story airs each Wednesday on FX at 10:00 PM (9:00 Central), so check your local listings for times. The first episode can be watched here at the FX site (second episode should follow shortly). PARENTAL ADVISORY: NOT FOR KIDS.