We’ve seen the promos. We’ve seen the weird bondage suit billboards that are tacked up around the highways. October is upon us, which means ‘American Horror Story’, the show FX has been promoting for months, is finally hitting the airwaves. I went into watching this show barely reading any of the reviews and not really knowing anything about it, just going off of the base that I love horror movies and shows, and this seems like we can look at another FX Original hit. The only thing that held me back was that it was written and directed by the same people as Glee, which isn’t exactly a cast that makes me think of horror films. But, sometimes you have to be open minded and take that leap.
The series kicks off in 1978, where you see a young girl with Down’s Syndrome standing in front of what looks to be an abandoned mansion. Suddenly a rock breaks one of the top windows, and two boys, slightly older than her, show up behind her with bats. The girl tells the boys “You’re going to die in there” and they tell her to shut up. They are tough and have bats and firecrackers! She tells them “You’re going to regret it!”, which she repeats several times.
The boys walk into the house and begin destroying everything inside, until they stumble upon a dead possum with its throat cut. A door moves, which looks to be by a breeze, and they decide to investigate, going downstairs into the basement. They find specimen jars down there and in one you can distinctly see a human ear, which one of the boys break. The other, claiming that it smelled down there “like when the raccoon got stuck in the chimney”, goes to go upstairs, but doesn’t hear his brother behind him. Looking around, he sees that his brother is missing. After a few seconds of searching, he discovers his brother, bloody with his throat cut, and a man charging at him.
Fast forward to present day where we see Vivian Harmon being examined by her OB/GYN after something traumatic has happened. The doctor wants her to start taking medicine, but she doesn’t believe in it. This is the first time we hear the phrase “What are you scared of?”. After she comes home, she hears noises in her house. The first thing she does is call the police, certain she is home alone. She goes upstairs with a knife in hand and finds her husband Ben having sex with someone. He races to try and stop her, but she cuts him in the arm.
We next see the pair driving to LA, with their daughter Violet. There is some light bantering, but nothing that would change a healthy family dynamic. They are viewing the home first shown in the beginning sequence in 1978. The Realtor tells them that the last people who lived in the home, a gay couple, both died there. A murder/suicide it was claimed to be. After Violet sees the basement and hears the story, she says she wants the house. At one point, Vivian notices the wallpaper peeling, which the Realtor says that there is a mural painted under there. Throughout the episode, we see her working on peeling the wallpaper off, and see the interesting mural painted underneath.
While working on her project, the girl with Down’s Syndrome appears behind her, saying “You’re going to die in here.” The girl’s mother, Constance, comes to take her away, calling her a monster. Constance then tries to engage Vivian in conversation, swiping some of her things when Vivian’s back is turned, but Vivian is visibly uncomfortable, and eventually persuades Constance to leave. Constance leaves her with a gift of Sage, traditionally used to cleanse old spirits out of the house.
During the cleansing of the house, Vivian comes across the attic, which she finds a “gimp” suit, traditionally used in bondage and/or S&M acts. Ben, thinks that he should put it on, but Vivian convinces him to throw it away. The gimp suit is also the one we have seen in the many promotions.
Ben is a psychologist, and begins seeing patients in the new home. He starts with a young man named Tate, who is having violent fantasies of killing those he loves because he wants to save them from the dirty, disgusting world that we live in. He thinks of it as taking them somewhere clean and kind. While he is meeting with Tate, Violet is in the bathroom cutting herself after being beat up at school for smoking. After the session is over, Tate tells Violet she’s cutting herself wrong if she wants to kill herself. Violet tells him to get out, and he replies that if she wanted to kill herself in private she shouldn’t have left the door unlocked.
Ben wakes up in the middle of the night, hearing voices. While nude, he lights a fire. Vivian comes downstairs and asks him what he is doing, and he replies that he is “Buying a dream”.
While hanging sheets on the line outside, Moira comes to introduce herself. Moira is an aging older woman who has been the housekeeper for years at the house, and Vivian decides that she will keep her hired. The problem being is Ben see’s her completely different, as a younger woman in her twenties, and filled with the sex appeals that Ben desires. Ben tries to become intimate with Vivian, but she pushes him away, not yet ready to forgive him.
Later, Tate and Violet are talking about how much they hate LA. It is revealed that Ben was having an affair and the traumatic experience that happened to Vivian was a horrific miscarriage. Tate reacts strongly to Ben hurting Vivian, saying that you should never ever hurt the ones you love. He writes TAINT on the chalkboard behind him. He then holds Violets hand and says he’s sorry. Ben walks in then and tells Tate to get out, and that Violet should not be seeing him. He then walks in on Moira touching herself on the couch, to which he goes to the bathroom and masturbates, weeping when he climaxes. He looks down and see’s a man staring at him from the yard below. He runs down to find him, to see that no one is there.
Vivian returns from the store, and while her back is turned every door and cabinet in the kitchen is opened, with Addy (the girl with Down’s Syndrome) standing in the doorway laughing and pointing at Vivian. The two boys from 1978 appear behind Vivian, and Addy continues laughing. Constance comes over, and Vivian tells her to stay out of her house. When Addie goes to try and pet the dog, the dog goes to bite her.
Ben calls to report Tate as a danger to society when Moira comes in to clean (we see her as Ben sees her, as the 20 year old woman.) Moira continually tries to seduce Ben, and while doing so Violet sees them in a compromising position. Later, Violet continues to get into fights at school. Tate tells Violet to just kill her, but then retracts what he says and says they should scare her into leaving Violet alone. The two of them devise a plan to scare Leah, and hopefully keep her away from Violet.
Ben tries to put the moves on Vivian again, but she rejects him once more. He gets angry this time, and they fight which then leads to angry sex on the floor of the room where the mural is. Later, Vivian notices a cut on Violets forehead, and they talk about the fights at school, and about the miscarriage and the affair. Violet asks Vivian “What are you scared of?” and Vivian tells her that she’s scared of everything.
That night, it appears that Ben shows up in the gimp suit, and seduces Vivian again. This time, her vision seems off and blurry. Ben is in the kitchen, trying to set fire to his arm when Constance stops him and tells him that he still needs to enjoy the house.
Violet lures Leah into the basement of the house promising drugs for her to buy when they go into the back room where Tate is sitting in a chair. He tells Violet to hit the lights, and during a strobe light sequence you see Tate launch himself at Leah and turn into the man who killed the two boys in 1978. Leah, screaming, runs off with scratches to her face. Violet gets mad and tells Tate to leave, and he screams at her “I thought you weren’t scared of anything!”
Later, we see Ben jogging when a car starts following him. He runs off, trying to get the car away from him, when suddenly the man who saw him masturbating gets out. The man’s name is Mr. Harvey, and he begs Ben to leave the house. He murdered his wife and two daughters because of the voices he heard in the house, as they told him what to do. He tells Ben to look at his case, to read his transcripts, but all Ben tells him is to leave him and his family alone.
Constance is back in the house stealing some of Vivian’s jewlery when Moira stops her and tells her to leave. The two of them have a small verbal argument, with it ending with Constance threatening to kill Moira… again. While that is going on, Vivian tells Ben that she is pregnant and then we see the gimp suit standing in the background.
That was the series premiere of American Horror Story. It was a lot of character development, with great actors. As a True Blood fan I was excited to see Denis O’Hare show up as Mr. Harvey. Overall I think the show has an interesting start, that it could really go somewhere, and hopefully to that scary place that we want it to go. It says Horror in the title…lets bring it on!
What did you think of the series premiere? Are you excited about this show? Do you think it will last? How do you feel about the characters?