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[TV Recap] A Look at the Haunting First Episodes of ‘American Horror Story’

We’d like to introduce the newest member to Bloody D, Alexandra Scarpello, who will be tackling horror on the small screen.

To initiate her with blood, she’s reported back a breakdown of the first two episodes of “American Horror Story,” which airs every Wednesday on FX.

“American Horror Story” revolves around The Harmons, a family of three who move from Boston to Los Angeles as a means to reconcile past anguish. It looks like a mix between Rocky Horror Picture Show and a David Lynch movie.

After you read her thoughts, chime it at the bottom and tell us if the showed lived up to the hype.
Last week, FX kicked off the fall season with “American Horror Story”, created and produced by Glee darling Ryan Murphy. Before you disregard the series based on that alone, know this: the only connection this show has to Glee is the name behind it. American Horror is a sick, twisted piece of work that resembles an independent horror film much more than it does a TV show. The hook of the show is that it shifts a focus from monsters and murders, and directs the viewer’s attention instead of the inner demons of these characters ( despite the fact that both monsters and murderers play a strong role). The scares can be graphic, but are largely psychological.

The premise is familiar. A couple that has hit a rough patch moves into a new home that they get for cheap, hoping that the location change will encourage positivity in their relationship. The couple learn about the tragedies surrounding the house, and the deaths of the former inhabitants, but are unshaken in their interest in the place.

Once they settle in, strange things start happening in the house. and the family is plagued with bizarre hallucinations and unwelcome house guests.

Episode two picks up in the past, telling the story of yet another death in the home. This time, a young woman is stabbed to death by a house intruder while forced into a nurse outfit. Like episode one, the opening scene was highly stylized an unique.

Flash forward to the present, where Ben Harmon is having a session with his psychotic teenage patient Tate; whom expresses an unhealthy interest in his daughter Violet. Elsewhere, his Violet is consoling her schoolyard bully; a girl she lured into her basement in the previous episode where the she was viscously attacked by a “creature” conjured by Tate. Or the house. Or both. Actually, we aren’t all too sure about that yet.

A large part of this episode is dedicated to Ben dealing with his past infidelities, or perhaps how they deal with him. He is haunted by the whispers of an old flame prom claiming that she is pregnant, as well as his as his cancer afflicted new “running buddy” who also happened to murder his entire family in the house Ben lives in. Their mutual conclusion: lie about everything and take a trip to see the mistress; leaving the two girls home alone in the house. This is all of course, after an episode and a half of mourning about what a horrible guy he was for cheating in the first place. And the world’s best husband award goes to….

Now Vivian’s story takes a much, much stranger turn, starting with the blood and spit cupcakes that her overly talkative neighbor Constance brings over to her home. This is in an effort to “make peace” after her disabled daughter broke into their home one too many times. To say that listening to this woman talk about herself can be more creepy than the actual scares on the show would be an understatement; and this episode strongly hammered that home. This lady is functionally insane.

That night, Vivian gets a surprise visit from a woman who’s methods of intrusion mirror those used in 1968. As she runs to call for help, she finds that her phones are missing, and is ambushed by a group of three horror enthusiasts that are looking to reenact the murder that took place all those years ago.

This is where things get messed up. More messed up that is. As the women are being threatened, several of their new neighbors appear in the house to protect them, including Tate and Addy, and later joined by Constance and Moira. Tate effectively kills every last intruder using the ghosts the reside in the house basement and a very handy fire axe. Once Violet and Vivian are safe, Constance, Tate, and Moira all collect together in the basement to get rid of the bodies. This finally begins to shed some light on what is actually going on here, while effectively giving us 100 new questions. The episode as a whole was very give and take. Once one mystery is solved, Murphy doesn’t waste any time creating more that need answers.

Once the dust is cleared and the family reunites, Vivian finally takes the bold step that should have been taken 10 minutes into the first episode and proclaims that the house will be sold.

Despite the massive critical praise, the show has picked up a bit of flack in its two week run for being too “scary” for cable, which begs the question: Can a true blue horror television program actually manage to stay relevant after October’s Halloween fever wears off? What exactly is the longevity for a series that appeals to such a niche crowd?



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