The first episode of American Horror Story left me feeling uncomfortable. Was it enjoyable or not? I can’t honestly tell but it did keep me hooked for the hour. It had its freaky moments, which isn’t surprising given it’s from team Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk who brought us Nip/Tuck, a show that liked to push the boundaries of taste. Oddly enough these guys are also behind Glee
Husband and wife Ben (Dylan McDermott) and Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton) move to the west coast, running from Ben’s infidelity and the trauma of a miscarriage. They choose a seriously looking creepy, Victorian house whose former owners died in a murder suicide. This little tidbit about the house’s history is what seals teenage daughter Violet’s (Taissa Farmiga) approval. She’s a self-harmer and seems to have modelled herself on Winona Ryder’s misfit character Lydia in Beetlejuice. We soon meet the housekeeper who appears as a young temptress to the father but an older maid (Frances Conroy from Six Feet Under) to everyone else. The nosy neighbour Constance is played by Jessica Lange, an ageing Southern Belle whose performance had me wondering if she had just stepped out of an insane asylum. Is she evil or crazy or both? Adelaide (Jamie Brewer), her daughter who has Down’s Syndrome has a strange affinity to the house. Despite all the past horror that occurred in it, the building has never harmed her.
This show definitely has the shock factor going for it. Sex scene with a ghost? Check. Female masturbation? Check. Male masturbation? Check.
The second episode settled down thankfully and got to the story telling. I still have no respect for Ben who lies to his wife yet again while he goes off to Boston to stay with the student he knocked up while she prepares for an abortion. The united mother and daughter front presented by Vivien and Violet against the home invasion was impressive. Constance locking Adelaide in a closet where all four walls are lined with mirrors was horrible to watch and underlines her perverse personality.
This tv show is not for the faint-hearted. It kept my interest and I’ll be tuning into episode three. ***