American Horror Story Season One REVIEW
"How many times have I told you? When you sneeze, USE A HANDKERCHIEF! Tut."
Release Date: 15 October 2012
2012 | 18 | 540 minutes | £34.99 (DVD)/£39.99 (Blu-ray)
Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Creators: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk
Cast: Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, Jessica Lange, Taissa Farmiga, Evan Peters, Zachary Quinto
While Fox were haemorrhaging viewers, and goodwill, with the schmaltzy family values that smothered Terra Nova, over on sister network FX American Horror Story told a tale of a family home so perverse even Norman Bates would have run screaming.
Wearing its classic horror cinema references on its bloody sleeve, it’s the story of the dysfunctional Harmon family and the sinister spirits stalking the hallways of their new home – the not-at-all-ominous-sounding Murder House.
Almost no subject is considered taboo, no act too extreme. In one flashback, a homophobic, gimp-suit-clad ghost murders and subsequently buggers the home’s gay inhabitant with a poker. The show’s unashamedly sensationalist, and completely unafraid to offend anyone and everyone. Now try reconciling that with the knowledge that the same people behind this are also responsible for Glee.
It’s the most warped daytime soap ever made, sex, violence and melodrama its constituent ingredients. Characters don’t converse, they lob vitriolic word grenades at one another. The cast gloriously embrace the show’s extremes, particularly Jessica Lange as alpha female Constance, who feels like a twisted Tennesse Williams hangover.
Surreal, intense and utterly barmy, American Horror Story stumbles at the final hurdle with an anti-climactic finale, but the remainder ranks among the best TV of the last twelve months.
Audio commentary on the pilot, a 23-minute Making Of, a tour of the Murder House, and featurettes on the title sequence and the ghosts. Note: the pilot episode has been cut by five seconds (as per BBFC guidelines), to “remove potentially harmful dialogue describing a particular suicide technique”.
Jordan Farley twitter.com/JordanFarley
Watch the first five minutes of American Horror Story season 2.
Watch an American Horror Story season 2 trailer.
Read all our American Horror Story season 1 episode reviews.