1. You Have No Clue What is Happening
Part of the fun of many good horror tales is that you have no clue what is going on. American Horror Story plays this card to perfection. It is fascinating to wonder why such experiences are so appealing to people. Aren’t we somehow intrinsically fearful of what we so not understand? Why did I read every Hardy Boys book as a child? I can honestly say that for the first half of American Horror Story I had zero clue what was going on and was enthralled for every second. Plot holes aside I was impressed with the way AHS resolved the story arc and showed how very few of the happenings were truly random. This is the mark of great storytelling.
2. The Rubber Man
There are countless extremely creepy moments in AHS but I would say the most purely frightening facet of Season 1 is the Rubber Man. His appearance is menacing. His origins unknown. Even is namesake is wickedly creepy. He represents the dark, twisted intentions of the evil in the show. I don’t want to spoil anything. Just give him the chance to haunt your nightmares.
3. The Richness of the Characters
American Horror Story deftly navigates classical horror elements. It brings the suspense we crave without genre cliches or stereotypes. I have seen many horror movies in my time but never a horror television show. The length of a tv season allows the story to develop and illuminate characters in a way that movies are incapable due to time restraints. I found these complex people to be that much more mesmerizing due to the relationship the show allowed me to build. Of course just because a show is long does not make it enjoyable. American Horror Story maximizes its time with skillful storytelling and wicked talent. The show follows the events in the lives of the Harmon family. The father (Dylan McDermott), the mother (Connie Britton, and the daughter (Taissa Farmiga). Dylan McDermott plays Ben with intrigue, authority, and depth. Connie Britton as Vivien is equally dynamite. Ben and Vivien’s relationship is layered and gives more context to their predicament than most horror tales typically provide. The supporting cast to AHS is expansive and superb. The list goes on but special mentions must be made for Evan Peters (Tate) and Jessica Lange (Constance). I love that all of the characters in AHS have sympathetic motives but most remain deeply flawed or hated for many reasons. The lack of that pure evil antagonist or helpless bimbo in distress makes the show that much more refreshing.
4. It is a Mini-Series
When I first found out that AHS was not a standard show but a mini-series, I yelped with delight in my mind. A mini-series according to Wikipedia “is a television show production which tells a single story in a limited number of episodes. The number of episodes is variable; however, they are usually limited to fewer than a whole season (13 weeks). The first season of AHS has 12 episodes. I wish that more shows had the guts to follow this model. Then the writers could take more risks and not prolong the plot until it is driven through the gates of agony, boredom, and sorrow. AHS takes full advantage of this format by cramming every second of the season with exciting content and ends it at just the right time. No second season to make the story stale. The second season of AHS just began and features all new characters and takes place in an insane asylum instead of the murder house. It also happens to be sick nasty awesome so far. I commend FX for letting AHS follow this formate that lets go of beloved characters. The format appears to be working with American Horror Story’s getting nominated for 17 Emmy Awards in 2012; tied for first with Mad Men.
5. There Will Be Blood
My leap into the FX pool started just recently with American Horror Story and the fabulous fantasy football sitcom, The League. The network is fast working its way into one of my favorites. American Horror Story is quite graphic and extremely edgy. No cultural taboos are spared. I felt like I was watching premium cable by the likes of HBO or Showtime. This fearlessness gives the viewer a sense of unease, the feeling that they are not safe. American Horror Story lets you know from the get go that they have the power to throw anything in your face so you are always on edge. I am not sure a horror production can truly scare you without truly horrific images. I assure you American Horror story can truly scare you.
Wikipedia Season 1 Premise
The first season is themed on infidelity. The story takes place in 2011 and follows the Harmon family: psychiatrist Ben (Dylan McDermott), his wife Vivien (Connie Britton) and their teenage daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga), who move from Boston to Los Angeles after Vivien gives birth to a stillborn baby and Ben has an affair. The Harmons move into a restored mansion and soon encounter the home’s former residents, the Langdons: Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) and her two children, Tate (Evan Peters) and Addie (Jamie Brewer), and the disfigured Larry Harvey (Denis O’Hare). Ben and Vivien try to rekindle their relationship, as Violet, suffering from depression, finds comfort with Tate.
The second season of AHS, American Horror Story: Asylum premiered on Oct. 17 2012. It is weekly on FX Wednesdays at 10 o’clock PM. Watch it.