'American Horror Story' brings freshness, thrills, intrigue to viewers

FX’s newest fall series is sure to develop a cult following after the unnerving pilot episode.


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“American Horror Story” premiered on FX on Wednesday after weeks of build-up and endless advertising. Since the only description of the show I could find said it was “a psychosexual thriller,” my first thought was, “A show about necrophilia? Really, America?”

Naturally, I took the bait hook, line and sinker, mainly to figure out what the hell the show was about since the commercials were so freakin’ vague.

It seems the show’s creators, who also created “Nip/Tuck” and “Glee,” didn’t exactly have a set plan for the plot and used the age-old technique of throwing everything at a wall and seeing what sticks.

Apparently, what stuck was a fetus in a jar, an old creepy housekeeper, ginger twins and a strange sex scene involving kinky, anonymous S&M relations. It was very Addams-Family-meets-Amityville-Horror-meets-porno. And I like it.

Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton) is the main character. Fate has not been kind to her, as she recently walked in on her cheating husband and had to deliver a seven-month miscarriage prior to that. To start over, she, her husband and daughter move from the east coast to an old house in L.A.

Upon viewing the house, the real estate agent alerts them of the previous owners, a gay couple who died in the basement by murder-suicide. Violet, Viven’s daughter, immediately says, “We’ll take it.”

The cast is a very somber bunch: Violet is an outsider who smokes, cuts herself and gets in fights at school. Ben, Vivien’s husband, is a psychiatrist dealing with deranged teenagers in his home-based practice and is a naked sleepwalker.

Of course, like any good thriller, there are so many questions left unanswered. What is up with Constance, the Harmons’ odd, nosy neighbor? Is Tate, Ben’s patient, just a psychotic hot mess or an evil spiritual component of the house? Why are there so many gingers on this TV show?

The show is chock full of schizophrenic micro-flashes slipped into the scenes at various points, reminiscent of “Black Swan,” including scary, mutilated faces, gore and claws reaching out to choke you in the dark.

Despite all these external influences, the show is very original. The quirks greatly outweigh the “Don’t go in there!” clichés in the pilot episode. There is nothing else like it on TV, which is refreshing, and surely will develop a cult audience quickly.

All in all, the show is more intriguing and darkly erotic than it is scary. I am not a fan of scary movies (after watching “Paranormal Activity,” I didn’t sleep for a week) but I do love this show. The pilot left some big shoes to fill for the rest of the season, so let’s hope it’s not all downhill from here (ahem, “Glee”).

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