SciFridays: “American Horror Story”

Baddie – I can’t say. It’s a secret.

Lesson – TV shows can do scary!

American Horror Story poster

20th Century Fox

I’m breaking tradition like crazy this week. I took the rulebook, and I threw it on the ground. I stomped on it a little for good measure, too. It started, like all good things in life, with peer pressure. In this case, I was highly encouraged to watch American Horror Story. So I finally did. And…and now I’m kinda hooked.

This review is obviously going to be abridged, because there is just no way I can cover 10+ hours of content in a few paragraphs. This is also only going to cover Season 1, because Season 2 starts a whole new storyline.

American Horror Story is a wonderful bridge between soap opera, horror film and torture
porn. I’m not the first and I won’t be the last to notice the similarities of the whole shebang to David Lynch’s infamous Twin Peaks, and I enjoyed both series. However! Twin Peaks is much more ‘soap opera’ and much less ‘horror’. AHS is sort of a no-apologies series.

It’s very hard to write a show that consistently stays serious, particularly in the horror genre. It’s even harder to do in the series format, so I give AHS a lot of credit. They do a lot of things that are genuinely scary, and most of the twists are surprising. The acting is almost entirely spectacular.


20th Century Fox


20th Century Fox

 Allow me to introduce me to my newest celebrity crush, Evan Peters. He’s fantastic. So fantastic they bring him back for Season 2. Also! Jessica LANGE. That’s all I need to say about that.

Before I get too distracted, having given my props to the writing staff, they do love their shock value. There’s a lot of comments/dialogue, etc., that would be perceived as off-color humor in day-to-day life. I think it does the job of suggesting a corrupt and sinister world for these actors to live in, but occasionally I found myself doubting that anyone was really so surrounded by hate, bigotry, racism, whatever, that it was distracting. There is plenty of sex, sexual tension, sexytime, sexyness, too. It does offer a certain commentary about the horror of human tendency. AHS Season 1 is based off of the danger of impulse. As such, it’s effective to have these elements all over the place.

Screen shot 2012-12-13 at 10.07.46 PM

This being said, this is a Gimp suit. This is for S&M/BDSM sexplay. This is NOT a Halloween Costume. There is no identifier to let people know you are from AHS. End public service announcement.

As per usual, I have to give a shout out to the SFX people, who are FREAKING AMAZING for this show. There are several very complicated makeups to complete, and they are all extremely convincing and well-done (including an extreme burn makeup. Crazy). Speaking of behind the scenes, the sound and set design are well done as well. Almost every scene takes place within the same house, which really gives an intimate feel to the show. When the characters leave, the audience follows, but they get the same disconcerting feeling as the characters.

Final verdict is definitely to watch this show. There are genuine horror moments, and genuine heart moments. If you love Soaps, it won’t hurt. It covers a wide range of ‘horror’, some stuff will affect you more than others, but it also appeals to a wide range of horror fans, which makes it a successful series. If you are a scaredy cat, don’t watch this show. (Seriously, Kathryn, don’t even think about it.)

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