Posted in Reviews

American Horror Story


I’m not much for scary stories.  Ghost stories are all right (because I don’t believe in them), but toenails scraping on the windshield stories?  No.  Can’t do it.  However, in light of the fact that some of my favorite actors/characters from other shows are popping up on American Horror Story (Tammy Taylor, Zoe,  Albie Grant, Sylar, Russell Effing Edgington!), when I was flipping channels and found it on last night, I stopped for the last half of the episode.  30 minutes later and my skin was crawling.  I had nightmares all night.

What is so scary about it to me?  Certainly not the ghosts (because I don’t believe in them), but the family’s very real feelings of helplessness, anxiety, and fear.  Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton are brilliant actors–even in half an hour they had convinced me that they were what they are pretending to be.  I especially liked watching the subtle changes in McDermott as he told a great, big whopper of a lie.

What else is scary?  The universal fear that everyone else is in on the joke.  Everyone else knows the important secret and no one is telling you.  That is central to this show’s plot.  So is the twilight lighting in every scene.  Just on the edge of dark, where your vision plays its easiest tricks on you, graying out the fringes and starting to turn shadows of innocent chairs and lampshades into lurking monsters.  And just so you know, I’d have taken one look at that house and demanded to go to a Motel 6.  I don’t care what kind of money problems we’re having.  We are NOT living there.  No.

When we moved to Texas, we moved into a suicide house.  Of course I didn’t know this immediately.  I found out after I had been sleeping in the suicide bedroom for months.  I was eleven, and already convinced something was horribly wrong with our house.  Finding out that someone had taken his life right where I was sleeping…no.  I did believe in ghosts then.

 

So here is what I thought was wrong with the show:

  1. Jessica Lange’s plastic surgery
  2. The lighting–Connie Britton is looking harsh in that light, and everyone’s skin looks dirty
  3. The editing.  At one point, Britton and McDermott are having a violent argument with ghosts, and the very next screen–inside of the same scene even–it is as though they don’t even realize that was happening.  And, there was the hospital scene that set us up for horrors and then…petered out?
  4. Continuity.  Dang.  So the Harmons (B&McD) leave the house to go to the hospital (after their house was home invaded by murderous people 2 weeks ago), leaving their daughter alone (in the home invasion house).  Enough time passes that the daughter misses a loud knocking at the door, then a murder in front of her house–literally–ambulances and police sirens and lights, and a hysterical woman screaming on her lawn, and I am assuming she misses the entire crime scene and investigation because when she finally does hear a knock (long after the trick-or-treat traffic has gone–Did I mention it was Halloween?) all she sees is the guy who helped her father kill that other girl–no cop cars behind him.  And her parents, who have conceivably just found out they are expecting Rosemary’s Baby, say they are on their way home when she calls to complain of him.  Britton is STILL IN THE STIRRUPS  when she calls.
  5. Glee.  I hate Glee.