American Horror Story (2011– )
User ReviewsReview this title
This is another series that starts great but then someone just remembers to screw it up completely (remember Flashback, Kyle XY or even Lost? Just to name a few). I couldn't bear to see the whole 1st season, it was just too stupid and complete waste of time. Awful!!
The characters are not likable; they may not even be redeemable. Even the suffering wife is bitter and cold and hateful. But do they deserve what horrible things will assuredly happen to them? Nope. Which means their fight is our fight, and their fear is our fear.
American Horror Story is interesting, entertaining, suspenseful, and ambitious. After watching the first episode, I want to watch some more.
Season 1: 5/10. Season 2: 8/10. Season 3: 4/10.
I don't understand how this show has a rating of 8.4 Sure, season 2 was pretty great. It lost its pace a bit when the antagonists died out mid-way, but it was still thrilling and well made. But as for season 1 and 3...
What the hell were they thinking? Season 1 started out promising but soon became more of a ghost drama than a horror movie. With every episode my hope diminished.
And don't get me started on season 3. It's like it was written by an impulsive teenager. The effects and cinematography are good, but it really has NO consistency. The writers sacrificed consistency and plot accuracy for cheap thrills. For example, let's take Madison's death. She was choked to death by the overused Tate-guy. THEY'RE WITCHES! In the very first episode of season 3 Madison flips a god-damned bus using her powers. But apparently any old human can choke these almighty witches to death and they can't do a thing. Nearing the conclusion all of the protagonists suddenly have a multiple of powers which they did not have before. They literally appear out of nowhere. And let's not forget the oh-so-useless Cordelia.. whoops, I mean the supreme. I think i'm pretty right in saying that they wrote her to be the supreme at the very last second. Because up until that point all that fool could do was grow plants.
The writers of this show are WAY in over their heads. Desperately trying to be over-achievers, and failing miserably.
The first episode is very well assembled and an impressive pilot. We are quickly introduced to all the characters, who appear to be quite likable, yet slightly flawed. Then we are introduced to a cast of supernatural beings, Who are definitely flawed,and most most definitely BIGTIME CREEPY,. Man just watch this show its overly awesome. wont be regretted. ,If you grab a lot of the great horror movies and mix them up you get American horror stories. There were quite a number of sequences that were unsettling and quite disturbingly perfect,. Every scene leaves you stunned in a way, waiting there stil and anxiously not knowing whats gunna happen next,. This show has everything and more all us horror fans need these days.
OVERALL The show utilizes both shock and psychological terror to frighten, Absolutely loved it, exceeding my expectations like nothing else. A MUST WATCH!!
cannot wait for the next episodes!
10/10 there is nothing else that compares to this style on TV,. watch it and try to disagree ;)
I think the casting is superb. Great acting throughout. The writing is fast paced and doesn't stretch things out like many long winded series. Too many shows take for ever to get the ball rolling. This show is fast paced and never leaves you much chance to breath before springing another traumatic event your way. I can hardly wait to see where this fun house ride leads to next.
Another thing forgotten in recent horror movies is the fact of NOT explaining everything within 5 minutes of it happening, it's more entertaining and spooky to speculate why someone sees something or what actually happened in a particular scene. People forget that in some of the best horror pictures like "Psycho" the real horror came from the suspense and the wondering of what was going to happen and that the violence was secondary.
The dialogue between characters is actually impressive especially in a couple scenes that you will be able to easily pick out. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk who also created Nip/Tuck and Glee (odd combo) seem to be able to excel in almost any genre and especially now in horror. It's rare to writers like this who aren't afraid to jump around from genre to genre fearlessly.
It's hard to describe many aspects of this show without giving away to much so I must refrain from describing the plot as it appears so far.
The day after I viewed the pilot episode I was shocked to see all the negative feelings towards the content of the show. So let's be VERY clear this show is classified MA which stands for "Mature Audiences" which should be taken the same as and "R" rating for films, so if you don't want you or your kids to see it that's fine but don't get all pissy about a show you decided to watch that was marketed as a "psycho-sexual horror". Yes there is scenes of semi explicit sexual acts and scenes of disturbing violence but it's a horror story so images like that are to be expected.
It's refreshing to find a show that is different and does not follow traditional formula's TV horror shows. I plan to watch every week and enjoy the series fully, since it is honestly very rare to see a show do better in it's genre then most recent films.
American Horror Story arrived a couple weeks ago on the great FX network that also houses two of my favorite shows: "Sons of Anarchy" and "Justified".
We all know the primary reason this show was 'created'. Its the money. Horror or the supernatural is trendy. Look at Twilight, True Blood, Paranormal Activity, The Walking Dead (an awesome show, by the way) and others. Just throw in some sex and you got a winner. I battled through the first season and it was rough. If it wasn't for 45 minute packages arriving every week I probably wouldn't be able to watch this horror. And I have seen all kinds of horror movies before. I am a fan of the genre. Honestly, I thought the show hit rock bottom in the Halloween episodes. But it went straight through that rock and landed in the cesspool beneath. I had extremely low expectations and it turned out to be just what I expected from Glee with ghosts, monsters and other whatnot's. Why am I disappointed by this horrible American story then? Well, there is this lack of creativity. And I mean lack as in there is no creativity. The story is a collection of every horror cliché known to mankind. Not to mention all the plot elements that were just copied from old horror movies, polished and repainted for people who have never heard of or seen The Amytiville Horror, The Shining, Rosemary's Baby, Poltergeist and countless other movies. The house itself has a serious ghost infestation. They are everywhere. More importantly, they have abilities that are not ghost-like (if you don't understand what I'm trying to state here, watch The Shining please). They can materialize anytime and anywhere inside the house, have therapy and a prescription for Prozac, have sex with each other and with the living thus conceiving a child, hurt the living with weapons like guns and fire pokers, stealing newborn babies, eat a sandwich and drink coffee, fall in love.....This premise is completely illogical since most of them died violently, often by the hands of another ghost, and are now stuck in this house forever. No ill feelings, resentment, revenge, no making someone suffer for a long, long time ??? Apparently not.
Positives? It looks good. Oh, and Miss Breckenridge in a French maid outfit. That's about it. EDIT: THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE FIRST SEASON.
The pilot started good, with the typical story about what happened to the people in the house to lay the ground for what's to come for the new owners.
10 minutes after these guys move in, the pilot starts to slowly and surely turns for the worse.
The "horror" and "scary" parts are not horrific and scary at all, in fact, I wasn't scared not even once. The way the scenes are composed is amateurish at it's core and the dialog is incredible stupid and unrealistic.
I know this is not real life but the conversations and situations have to be at least logical in it's own way.
The majority of scenes are just plain disgusting, they also felt forced and by the time I watched 30 minutes, it was just too much for me.
Slight Spoiler Ahead: ---------------------
A house keeper that is a ghost but in fact it is a hooker than also turns on the husband of the house that then give us a masturbation scene, not only that, the psychopath patient of this guy then falls in love with the daughter of the masturbation guy that is also trying to kill herself.
This is the basic script for the pilot, can you believe it?
End of Spoiler. ---------------
This show has the word "PERVERSION" at it's root, it's seems that all the script and the acting is done purposefully to entice the pervert, shame on you !
There is an over abundance of sex portraits in the worst possible way.
The story has no logic whatsoever, it's disgusting, immoral and quite idiotic.
I'm a fan of horror and/or scary movies and I just can't believe how wrong this pilot was.
If this is the way to open the series then I'm sure I wont watch anymore.
This seems like a real bad series, score is just wrong on this one and I totally disagree with the majority of the reviews here.
I really don't know what the target audience for this series should be, but I'm sure nobody in the right mind will like it.
That this series is already renew for 2015 while other incredible good series like "Awake" got canceled in the first season should tell you a lot about the world we live in.
I really don't know how the story proceeds from the pilot but one thing is for sure, I'm not interested and if you can't see how gross and utter disgusting this series is from the pilot and need to see more then it's all on you.
You SHOULD KNOWN better.
If you want a real horror story please, do not waste your time with season after season of this pile of crap, better go watch a REAL true horror story series like True Detective.
Good things comes in small packages.
If this is true, then what Ryan Murphy has done is taken the clichés of everything from chief competitor Alan Ball's award-winning American BEAUTY and Stephen King's THE SHINING, put them on steroids and blended them together in his word processor. The result? American HORROR STORY, where the only thing more terrifying than a haunted house laden with secrets that rip people to shreds, are the secrets and lies infesting the lives of one family that threaten to rip THEM to shreds.
When a tragic miscarriage and an even more shattering act of infidelity threaten to tear apart their tenuous marriage, Ben Harmon (THE PRACTICE'S Dylan McDermott) and his wife Vivien (FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS' Connie Britton) take their teenage daughter, Violet (Taissa Farmiga) and move away from their "house of horrors" to find a new start somewhere...ANYWHERE that they can put the noxious past behind them and at least try to have a go at tending to their gaping emotional wounds.
The place they choose - or maybe that chooses THEM - a run-down manse on the outskirts of L.A., turns out to be a real bargain, and though irredeemably creepy, does have an antiquated charm...if you're into murals that would give even Hieronymous Bosch nightmares.
In no short order, unsettling and strange characters - as much as the house itself is - begin to materialize and insinuate themselves into the Harmons' lives, whether they want them to or not: next-door neighbor Constance (Jessica Lange in a brilliant turn), whose demeanor suggests a deadly combo of Blanche DuBois, Norma Desmond and Gale Sondergaard's Black Widow; Frances Conroy (Ruth Fisher from SIX FEET UNDER) as the mysterious housekeeper, Moira, who appears to the rest of the family as one persona, while tempting Ben's weakness for "a taste of strange" with another more lascivious presence, (played by Alexandra Breckenridge); Larry Harvey (TRUE BLOOD alum Denis O'Hare), a horribly burned man who seems to be stalking Ben, and who has his own deadly history with the house and what lives there, and Constance's daughter, Adelaide, (Jamie Brewer), with Downs' Syndrome, yet who seems to have it more together - and knows more about the house - than anyone else around her.
Even Ben's practice as a psychologist is fraught with peril, with the introduction of a teen patient named Tate Langdon (Evan Peters), who has an easier time picking apart and savaging the weaknesses in Ben's emotional armor than Ben does in probing his inscrutable and infuriating new charge's troubled mind. Not to mention that his growing fascination/infatuation with Violet doesn't help things one little bit.
Many people have cried fowl about the show's penchant for relying heavily on old horror tropes and clichés, without even paying attention to how it has been taking said clichés and twisting them into newer and even more unsettling shapes than today's average hot mess passing itself off as a 'horror film.' Leave it to FX to allow Murphy and his team - much as they did with NIP/TUCK - the freedom to push the boundaries of where a horror-infused series can go, without the constraints that hog-tied many of the like-minded series that came before it, such as the ground-breaking TWIN PEAKS or American Gothic, (which wasn't anywhere near as well-written as this).
Two episodes in and I am already intrigued, grossed-out and frankly spooked by what I have seen so far. I just hope that the quality continues to get even better as plot lines and characters get darker and more deadly secrets are unearthed...
American Horror Story focuses on the Harmon family who is moving from Boston to Los Angeles to escape their past. Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton) is still reeling from the miscarriage of her baby boy and the subsequent affair she caught her husband having to "cope" with the loss. Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott) is a psychiatrist who is trying to escape his mistake of sleeping with one of his college students and the rift it has caused in his marriage. Violet (Taissa Farmiga) their daughter is disgusted with her parents and the move but loves the house and its sinister past.
The plot only thickens as the cast grows. Tate Langdon (Evan Peters) is one of Ben's new patients who shows not only an interest in Violet but an unusual amount of knowledge about the house. Constance (Jessica Lange) is the Harmons' next door neighbor and seems to have no problem not only speaking her mind but being pushy and threatening. Last but not least Larry Harvey (Denis O'Hare), a former owner of the Harmons' house, starts to follow Ben and warn him about the house. Larry had murdered his entire family in that house and he warns Ben that if he's not careful that house will change him and may make him do something he wouldn't otherwise do.
This show is a really creative idea. To be honest it's strange to me that no one has ever tried to do something like this before. It has all of the normal concepts and ideas that keep you coming back to a normal drama series, but it has the added element of a horror movie. So you not only get the mystery but the ghosts and the murders. It's nice because you don't only get one type of horror movie. You get ghosts, you get slasher, you get possession type horror like Larry who ended up killing his family. The show appeals to all tastes of horror.
One of the things that could be better is that there are just so many characters that seem to know something about the house and they also seem to know each other. This makes things a little confusing. The writers are probably trying to keep the audience interested but this particular collection of twists is a little confusing. Maybe as the series unfolds it will become clearer.
Someone that really loves horror movies will love this show. It keeps your attention with all of the twists and turns. This show takes an amazing genre of films and allows an audience to have a new weekly addiction. It's a great mystery/horror fix.
Much like Nip/Tuck, you have to suspend your belief and see this as purely entertainment. There's so many open ended narratives that are slowly unfolding and although at times the show verges on the edge of cliché, a single episode could easily match the brilliance of such horror classics like The Amityville Horror and The People Under the Stairs.
At the end of every episode I feel shocked that 40 minutes have gone by, which is a sure sign that this show is pure, unadulterated, entertainment.
I was under the impression that this was an anthology show - that every episode would be a different scary story with different characters. So i was a little disappointed when I realized it was a season-long story. Oh well, we'd watch it anyway with open minds. An ongoing story line could still be scary.
However, this was not scary. There were a few creepy scenes, but that's about it. Each episode starts with a little scene from the past to establish where the ghosts came from. The show could have been helped A LOT by focusing more on THOSE stories rather than the house's current residents - an annoying Bostonian psychiatrist and his family. There is so much they could have done with this show - but didn't.
Even though I had been less than impressed with the show, I made it through the season and still held some expectations for the final episode. Unfortunately, the final episode was the worst of the lot. The ending was a terrible, predictable, cop-out leaving a number of loose ends.
In fact, that pretty much sums up the whole season. This is a crackling, fast-paced and entertaining horror series. I would never call this high- art, but that's what makes it great. The show doesn't take itself seriously at all, and it always remains fun, even when it's silly, and yet you get really invested in the story lines and characters. Sure, the performances are flawed at times, and the writing and directing awkward, but the fast pace in every episode doesn't ever let the viewer gasp for air. This is the true definition of a thrill ride. It also feels very experimental. It executes a lot of things in very unordinary ways, in ways that no other TV show does. It doesn't always succeed, but even when it doesn't, you can appreciate it.
Your friends might call The Walking Dead the better horror show, but I disagree. As far as Pilots go, no matter how entertaining or thrilling American Horror Story's Pilot was, the Pilot for The Walking Dead was better, masterful in every way. Since then, it's merely a good, sometimes great, TV show. It takes itself more seriously and is slower-paced, but it's problem is that a lot of times the writing just feels stale, recycled. You are intrigued by it, but it sometimes feels weaker than it should be. And the fact that it takes itself too seriously sort of dampens the fun one should be having with it, simply because its writing isn't strong enough to stretch out its story lines (like the two best TV shows on air, Mad Men and Breaking Bad, do). American Horror Story is better for these reasons- each episode by itself is exciting, it's always moving, and instead of trying to slow things down and makes its flaws more apparent, it even overdoes things on purpose. Messy, sure, silly, sometimes, but overall more intriguing, funner, and more exciting. I cannot wait for the second season of this, since I thought the resolution to the story of the first season was excellent, as well as the final shot.
P.S. Oh, I also want to add another note to take. The performances do hit their great marks, but the only truly incredible performance is Jessica Lange. Her character and performance makes all other supporting turns in television look stale by comparison, and all of her scenes are truly gold! She needs to win that Emmy next year! I want to see her back!
Ryan Murphy seems to be incapable of reigning it in. Rather than focus on all the good he has, especially in season 3, he manages, in 13 episodes to throw even more in, discarding stories he might find boring without tying them up, writing things into a corner so that they're forgotten about the next week to allow the story to continue, killing and reviving and killing and reviving, not to mention the stupidly confusing choices the characters make along the way.
So let's begin with the biggest waste this season: Fiona Goode. Jessica Lange has created, until now, two successful anti-heroes. Both were twisted and cynical but also possessed a capacity for love (albeit of a bizarre manner). Fiona Goode, her character in this season, is nothing but a tired rehash of those two women; same mannerisms, same accent, same attitude. She murders a young girl in one instant and then revives a still-born baby the next. Then she repeats the cycle again. There's only so many times a viewer can be bothered sympathising or hating someone. Along the way, one just gets bored.
The next biggest disappointments occur in two new additions to the cast: Angela Basset and Kathy Bates. Both do so much with what they're offered (Kathy eventually just reprising Annie Wilkes and Angela as the sassy black sidekick) that it ruins the entire season (how, if a casting director or even show creator can find nothing more to do with two gifted veteran actors can he possibly have had any idea of what to do with the show in the first place?). It's sickening, really. Kathy plays the villain Madame LaLaurie who was cursed by Angela's Marie Laveau to live forever. Entombed beneath New Orleans, LaLaurie is released by Fiona to discover the secret of youth. However, when Marie Laveau discovers that LaLaurie was released, she sends her demon army after the coven.
LaLaurie, clearly a psychopath, spends most of the season repenting and learning from the African American witch, Queenie. So it's bizarre that she spends so long repenting when she's devoid of feelings (what a waste of ten episodes to discover what we already knew). Marie Laveau, probably the most grey of the characters in this season, laments the passing of her minotaur pet who she set out to kill the Salem witches. She then bangs on about a truce being broken by the Salem witches. Honey, I don't want to go all first grade on you but you broke the truce first! Apparently, she had been breaking it for a while. So, who exactly are we supposed to support in this cluster-mug?
Surely it must be the young students of the Coven?!? Four young women all nearing the edge of reason who require nothing more than a wrong look to kill someone? Who kill and revive one another and then eventually just kill one another? Who love to soliloquise the end of the Coven and of the Witch line whilst they maim and murder and brutalise themselves and others publicly? Yeah, they seem a safe bet...
Maybe it's the supporting cast we should root for? Misty Day, Chordelia SpiritFingers or Myrtle? Whilst the least offensive of the cast, they also seem the most useless. Misty has the power to revive people and spends her days dancing to Stevie Nicks in a swamp until a Witch Hunter tries to kill her. Then she just gets killed at the coven, anyway. Chordelia SpiritFingers is the headmistress of the school and Coven and daughter of Fiona. She seems nice. I mean, she spends her days in a garden doing nothing but crying about how useless she is whilst her charges burn down houses, flip buses, shag men to death and force the neighbours to ingest bleach... Then she gets the power of sight (you might think she'd become proactive) but can't even figure out that her husband is a Witch Hunter (maybe it's poetic that she's blinded by her love of him, I just found it sloppy writing). Myrtle, Myrtle Myrtle Myrtle. Frances Conroy is the one thing I like about this season. She's batty. She's cookie. She's just plain nuts. She's also highly entertaining. However, like the other two, she kinda just dies and then comes back only to die again. She also melon balls some eye balls and looks peachy doing it. Guess that's alright.
So, to cap this off, this season is a mess. If you read this and thought "Gee, he sounds messy," I won't take responsibility. I've tried to linearise the plot strands. It's impossible. It's messy. It's confused. It's full of style and contains no substance. I applaud an almost all female cast but when they're reduced to bickering over men, murdering children for their youth or backstabbing one another for power, I can't help but feel they must all be ashamed. I know I'd be.
Season 1 was decent enough, but the talent just wasn't there. When everyone started raving about Season 2 I gave in and gave the show a second chance. Season 2 just tries too hard to be shocking and cutting edge, the same way Hannibal did with an on-screen cannibalistic dinner party.
I'm not even totally opposed to ultraviolence. I love movies like Planet Terror and Machete. Quentin Tarantino does ultraviolence brilliantly in movies like Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. It's in your face, it's raw, but it gives you a balance of violence that feels wrong (rape and mutilation) and violence that feels right (vengeance). As a writer, you have to throw your audience a bone every now and then. I couldn't finish season 2, to be honest. I felt sick watching hour after hour of women being tortured and mutilated and nothing being done about it.
Overall I find this series to be "good", but this is not showing the picture clearly enough because the seasons do vary, and they vary greatly in my opinion.
Season 1 – Murder House is "Very Good" with 9/10 Season 2 – Asylum is "Exceptionally Good" with 10/10 Season 3 – Coven is "Fine" with 7/10 Season 4 – Freak Show is "Underwhelming" with 6/10 It is worth mentioning that Murder House set the standards quite high while Asylum delivered above and beyond, where it truly was an American Horror Story.
However, without going into much detail about the latter two seasons, I believe where the writers and/or producers have gone slightly wrong, is that they focused more on attaining characters for the actors to play rather than actors for the characters to be played by. This in conjunction with losing a lot, and I mean quite a lot of the "horror" factor and producing less of a cohesive and evolving "story" they created two instalments of an American Horror Story... where only the "American" part was more or less true.
This is not to say that Coven and Freak Show were bad "mini-series", they were both watchable, the former more so than the latter but they were not well produced, despite the potential.
Season 5 – Hotel is "Substandard" with 5/10
Unfornatunely, the latest instalment of the AHS, Hotel, did not reclaim the past seasons' former standards, worse still, this season, was even poorer than its previous predecessor, as I personally feel, hence the overall rating from me for AHS will now go to 7/10 as just "okay". While the general "film" aspects such as the filming, audio, editing, production, style etc. remained fine – not the best but certainly not the worst, the rest that comes with making a series seriously lacked almost everything.
The story, which ironically the series boasts in its very title, lacked tremendously; once again it felt incoherent, inconsistent, insipid and this time had even more plot-holes than even a patient viewer, such as myself, can allow to pass. There were so many things wrong with the design of the characters – some of them felt so extremely "forced", as in, it felt like they didn't really fit into the "story" (if you want to call it that) but the producers pushed them in just so that they can get the actor/actress from the past involved, after looking back that's seriously a big issue.
It's actually rather difficult to put into words how bad this season is, and while I can barely understand why it may still appeal to some, it is safe to say that the majority of us will agree that this was not the best of AHS.
I think the people behind this show may be allowing their "success" get into their heads; it seems the fact that AHS is quite popular and the fact that it is an anthology series makes them a little more careless, as if to say "if we f*** up we can forget this season because it's an anthology and plus we are popular anyway". I hope that's not the case, but it really does come across that way more and more.
With the most contrived skeletons hanging in just about everybody's closet, it soon became pretty clear to me that the producers of American Horror Story (AHS, for short) had absolutely no respect for the intelligence of its targeted audience.
Disappointing, oppressive, annoying, erratic, AHS's heavy-handed approach to its trendy tales of terror, far too often, got itself so bogged down with gloom & doom that it quickly began to grate on my nerves like you wouldn't believe.
Underhandedly using sexual situations and brief glimpses of nudity (both male & female) as a means of spicing up its less-than-frightening scenarios, AHS was a decidedly dull-edged TV program that, otherwise, frequently hit absolute rock-bottom in the realm of terror.
I am completely baffled by the rave reviews and solid 8-star ratings that AHS has collectively garnered for itself.
And, finally - I think that Jessica Lange should retire from performing in front of a camera. This woman has clearly not aged well and her performance in AHS was atrociously bad.
So AHS functions as a fast moving and surprising soap opera with a big budget, some good make up fx and some decent acting, which is why it gets a 5. Actually had the last double length episode not been the series nadir--- really bad dialogue and spacious melodrama that fails utterly--- the show would be slightly north of mediocre, but 'afterbirth' is pretty stinky, and the penultimate episode 'birth' not much better.
Like most Stephen King stuff that I don't like*, it is essentially modern day fantasy with too much explanation of everything so it barely even functions as suspense, much less horror. Ghosts as lead characters who can appear and disappear at will puts this in a camp with things like Ghost (yes, the Swayze one) and Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit. If you think Ghost and Blithe Spirit are horror, then American Horror Story is horror, but I don't (and you shouldn't) even if AHS has occasional gore and burn make up.
Overall, American Horror Story is a mildly engaging soap with better than average acting for a soap and a lot more blood than the average soap, but actually less creepy than the original Dark Shadows show, which actually had atmosphere and let the scenes breathe (and had better music as well).
*Horror guys I dig are the old school of Lovecraft, Blackwood and Machen, and also the visceral and immediate books of high tension storyteller Richard Laymon.