'American Horror Story' a creepy mess
October 6th, 2011
10:32 AM ET

'American Horror Story' a creepy mess

I think it's safe to say that FX's "American Horror Story," from two of the creators of "Glee", is the weirdest show we will see this season by a mile.

Dylan McDermott ("The Practice") and Connie Britton ("Friday Night Lights") star as the Harmons, who move into a cheap, old, picturesque home with their teenage daughter. When they find out the reason the house is so cheap is due to a murder-suicide, the daughter, Violet, says, "we'll take it."

So far, so weird. But let's back up just a bit to the first five minutes of Wednesday night's premiere, which were genuinely terrifying. Two kids who wander into the house in a flashback to the 1970s are warned they will die in the house, and wouldn't you know it, that's just what happens.

The pacing of the episode was going pretty well about 15 or 20 minutes in, including the reintroduction of the now-adult girl who warned those boys. Her mother, played by Jessica Lange, was camping it up like nobody's business. (The girl who seems to know an awful lot about the dangers in the house has Down syndrome, an issue that has been touched on in a sensitive way on "Glee" but comes dangerously close to offensive here.)

Then, things go a bit off the rails. McDermott's character, Ben, was recently caught cheating by his wife, Vivien. When Vivien comes across a kindly old housekeeper, Ben sees her as a beautiful young woman. At various times during the night and day, Ben wanders the house in the buff, and the housekeeper eventually tries to seduce him, something his daughter ends up seeing.

If that's not enough, we're introduced to the Rubber Man, something of a mascot in the promos. Supposedly, a ghost has taken over a fetish suit owned by the previous owners. It's not long before... well, the ghost is having sex with Vivien. Or maybe it's her husband she's seeing. Or she thinks it's him. Not really sure.

And then there's the man with burns all over his face, who chases down Ben in a David Lynch-ian style sequence and warns him about the house. You see, he ended up burning his entire family to death, because the house made him do it, or something.

Is this enough to make the family move out? Nah. Violet's horrifying incident in the basement with one of Ben's patients, a homicidal teenager, and the creature who killed the kids in the '70s, isn't either.

Oh, and did I mention that Vivien is now pregnant, apparently by the ghost? Or not?

There are a lot of scares, as well as bizarre imagery that seem to be there just for its own sake. That's not to say there aren't moments that work. For example, Lange's character telling the housekeeper, "Don't make me kill you again," is a line for the ages.

I will also confess right here to loving Lynch's "Mulholland Dr." and hating his "Lost Highway." "Twin Peaks" is a work of genius, no doubt. So I'm not completely turned off by this sort of thing, as a rule.

At some point, though, all of these scenes and elements need to fit together in some way, and so far, they're not. And it would really help if the characters were more likable (I have yet to find anything likable about Ben).

Okay, horror fanatics, time to weigh in. Did this show genuinely scare you, weird you out, or even make you laugh? Share your reaction on iReport or in the comments.

soundoff (58 Responses)
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    July 8, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
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    October 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. horrorlover

    Can someone please tell me if the dog dies? I can take all the blood and gore and freaky stuff you can dish out. I just can't take it when animal is hurt or killed. As this post is a year old and everyone has already seen the whole show I'm sure. I just need to know if the dog gets it before I can keep watching.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  4. Lucas Corso

    It's like Murphy's other garbage. Flash, but no substance. Murphy knows how to push an audience's buttons. But he couldn't tell a good story to save his life.

    November 2, 2011 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. Denay

    This show ROCKS!!! I have seen the first 4 episodes, and its coming together wonderfully. There is nothing out there like this. I am so hooked on the show,; its now one of my favorites.

    October 31, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Andrew

    It boggles the mind to imagine the same people who made Glee sitting down and deciding to create this. But I'm glad they did. American Horror Story hooked me pretty much immediately, the writing, the characters, the tone everything about it is superb. Between this, Archer, It's Always Sunny and Justified, FX has become my most watched channel. Which makes me glad that I'm not a DirecTV customer right now, seeing that they will probably be losing all of their FX programming on November 1st. Being a DISH Network customer and employee I don't have to worry about it since we have a long term contract but I still feel bad for all those DirecTV customers who will be missing out.

    October 26, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. Soapy Johnson

    Dylan McDermott or Dermot Mulroney? Now it no longer matters ... http://placeitonluckydan.com/2011/02/dylan-mcdermott-dermot-mulroney-agree-to-be-same-person/

    October 24, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Samuel

    I love the show

    October 9, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ada

    They mention that the omnipotence of Addy is offensive because she has Downs. This kind of a "foretelling" has been used in horror before. Take for example the two orderlies from Kingdom Hospital: they both had Downs Syndrome but always knew much more than anyone else in way of the supernatural goings-on. I don't think its offensive in the slightest–in reality, its basically a way of saying that those who are clouded by other judgement often do not see what evil is lurking around them. I particularly like this Horror cliche, it adds to the story, and to the idea of what it means to "know".

    October 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. kirby

    I am shocked by the number of people that really find it too confusing to follow multiple story lines in a 1 hour show. Has the general public become that stupid? People want to have their entertainment hand-fed to them with no thought involved whatsoever. Perhaps you should stick to cartoons. Please don't comment about something that is clearly way above your level of comprehension. Personally, I enjoyed the show. I was not confused by it at all, and am looking forward to the continuation of the story.

    October 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lucas Corso

      Kriby - It isn't that AHS is too "confusing." It's just a poorly told story. AHS resonates with many precisely because it is dumbed down. If you want a good story in this genre, rent American Gothic. If you want over-the-top developments, ridiculous plot twists, and poorly-drawn characters, keep watching AHS. Then watch Glee.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. sarah

    Loved the show,had to watch the ending twice to make sure I saw what I saw.The "rubber mans" smile was enough to give me nightmares.They do need to cut back on the storylines however...too many. One more thing,PLEASE DON'T KILL THE DOG

    October 7, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. stargazer

    Oh and I think Dylan McDermott looks too much like David Schwimmer from "Friends" – I can't take him seriously!

    October 7, 2011 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  13. stargazer

    Halfway through, my husband and I looked at each other and agreed that this show was just too "out there". I love Jessica Lange, though.

    October 7, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. Crystal

    I was waiting for this pilot to air. I thought it had great potential but.... There was to much going on and i found myself saying what the hell a lot. There are to many story lines going on at once. Where do they fit? I'm going to watch again and if things dont come together I'm done. I must say that Jessica Lang rocks though.

    October 7, 2011 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. Ron Denvers

    This "American Horror Story" is the quirkiest TV show since TWIN PEAKS and may be the most foul mouthed ever on
    regular TV. (Not on HBO or SHOTIME or a DVD.) Never the less I like it ! HOPE IT will run for 1 full season anyway.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Hana

    LOVED IT!! It's wonderfully creepy and strange, and I'm sure it's going to get better as the season goes on. Watch both episodes in a row. Can't wait for next week.

    October 6, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Colin

    This show suffers from being written for the ridlin generation, people who have no attention span or patience for actual stories so they prefer clips and soundbytes. That's all I felt was here. It's just a series of mildly shocking little bits here and there with no real suspense, build up or character development. From a writing standpoint it's a laughable mess and from a viewer's perspective it's an incoherent steaming present that makes me sad anyone thinks so lowly of the viewing public.

    October 6, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Janelle Swanson

    Loved it. Never leaves you bored. Plenty going on all the time.
    Cannot wait to see the next one!

    October 6, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  19. @Micky 88

    Ewwww! That's just plain creepy commenting to yourself on B vixen"s post. Creepy troll!

    October 6, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  20. kristan

    The year was 1978 when the twin, red-headed boys vandalized the abandoned house. NOT the 1960's.
    Pay attention. You're a writer?

    As for the show: undecided: & on the fence. Parts I really enjoyed. I sense a definite "red-head" theme.
    Otherwise, dunno. We shall see.

    October 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Beautiful Vixen

    @Micky 88..You only turn me on more when you talk dirty like that. Seriously..I do..lol. Grrrr bad boy.

    October 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Beautiful Vixen

    I am ! I am retarded Mickey 88 ! Im getting so fat I cant hardly get out of bed these days.

    October 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  23. steph

    The best part was the first scene with the twins.."I hate trees!" cracked me up..

    October 6, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Pyroemo

    Amazing show! Incredibly intense! More so than I ever expected. I am hooked. Im just afraid that the rest of the season may go down hill. Its hard to say at this point. I havent had a TV show that made me make time to watch it...but this one will. Kudos to the writers...dont F#@& up the rest of the season, please.

    October 6, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  25. PoogMom

    Loved it! Totally kept me captivated! Can't wait for the next show!

    October 6, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  26. @Chrissy

    Give it up. Eveyone knows she was trolled. You're the one that look like the fool now.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  27. chrissy

    Beautful Vixen is a retard. Maybe she is strong too.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  28. The Dook of Westminister

    Dumb show for dumb people. Like most, I think this is a doodoo show.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Rex Manning

      In your case, wouldn't that make it an intellectual-thriller, Dook?

      October 7, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Daniel

    I loved it. I was scared and everything. It is a good show. Ryan Murphy has another winner on his hands.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  30. Brian

    It just started character development...I'll wait and see...so far so good...Lange is awesome...what a nut case, weirdo, gouloush character she's turning out to be...and the maid's hot...the younger one of course.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  31. Kenny

    The show was good, and very interesting especially for a pilot, and we felt that it successfully pulled off the introduction of a lot of different storylines/angles for the rest of the show to explore. And it'd be nice if a reviewer could get written facts straight. The flashbacks at the beginning of the show weren't from the 60's; it was very clearly marked "1978". And the "terrifying accident" in the basement didn't really "happen" to Violet, but to the bully from her school. She mainly just witnessed something she couldn't explain with the help of her dad's crazy patient. If you're gonna report things, at least get them right.

    We will definitely be watching this show as it continues.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Mbs86

      I agree here too. I liked the fact that a lot of ideas were introduced in the pilot. It seems that a lot of the commenters aren't willing to even watch episode 2 to see where all of the story lines go. Sad.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Ashlee

    Loved it. I happen to like the characters. I love the mom and Jessica Lange's character. I even like the maid. The dad and the daughter haven't grown on me yet, but they'll have their shining moments soon enough. There was something crazy going on in every scene. No boring, drawn out dialogue.....not too much suspense, instant gratification. I can't wait to see what happens next. I like that they weren't PC to the girl with down syndrome. Her mother bad mouths her, but she also protects her. She was given a "real" role, and you know she's gonna kill that dog.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  33. jessica

    Has me hooked..just hoping it starts to come together a little bit in the next episode..but thank you for finally putting on an original show and not just another random rom-com!!

    October 6, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  34. Jonathan

    I had no intentions of watching show but I am hooked. I am amazed what they were able to get away with on FX – I felt like I had HBO and was watching True Blood.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  35. Lewis

    It was strange. There were so many characters and so much going on. McDermott did the Ashton in that he is nude a lot and the creepy neighbors just popping up and no one seems to mind. I didn't like it as much as I thought I would.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Johnny

      No one seemed to mind? Vivien actually seemed to mind a lot...

      October 6, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathleen

      Me either. I was disappointed. It just kinda seemed all over the place. (Confession: I had thought it would be like Twilight Zone, with a different story each week, rather than a serial. I don't see that this serial story can go very far.)

      October 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  36. The Dook of Westminister

    This is a dumb show. It smells like doooodie.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Bisbee

      Dook..that smell may just be your upper-lip. But you are right about the show, it is NOT good.

      October 7, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Jennifer

    Loved it! Can't wait for the next episode

    October 6, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  38. Beautiful Vixen

    yeah. it is a dumb shoe.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  39. Thad

    If you don't understand it, there is no reason to hate on this brilliant show

    October 6, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Paco

      I hated the show and before I left my girlfriends house I left her with an "upper Decker." See how she likes that.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • jp

      Yeah, I do have a reason to hate it. It's disrespectful to individuals with Down syndrome.

      October 13, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Beautiful Vixen

    American Horror Story is great! It is like GLEE but less singing and more scary.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Dudley

      You can't call the show "great" AND "like Glee" because a show that is great can NEVER be anything like Glee...because Glee SUX

      October 7, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Beautiful Vixen

    Im still firsty because im so hot!

    October 6, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  42. Beautiful Vixen

    Im firsty and im a vixen. An ultra vixen. This horror story show ruuuuules.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  43. Ha Ha Trolls

    Ha Ha- You're second!

    October 6, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |

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