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American Horror Story (FX)

Postby Alexhead on 04/08/11, 15:27:21

You guys heard about this? Ryan Murphy(Nip/Tuck, some other show that will remain nameless)'s new one on FX. He's brought on a few usuals as well as Tim Minear, who is far and away the most talented and darkest of the writer/directors to work with Joss Whedon (he was also on the X-Files and helped run the sadly underrated and now cancelled Terriers). Here's a review of the pilot from NPR that isn't particularly spoiler-heavy but does spell out the basic plot (family moves into haunted house).

Tuesday night, FX trucked buses of TV critics out to a screening of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's new fall show, American Horror Story. Not for this show the advance DVDs or the streaming of screeners on your little computer. They told us it was because the DVDs weren't done, and perhaps that's true, but it's certainly a happy accident that this over-the-top crazyfest wound up being shown to us in a theater.

I'll have a final review closer to its October premiere, but they said they welcomed initial reactions, so let me say this: American Horror Story is emphatically not for everybody. It's a genre piece, it's very campy, and a significant number of critics in the theater with me didn't like it at all.

I, on the other hand, did.

It tells the story of the Harmon family: Vivien (Connie Britton) and Ben (Dylan McDermott) and their teenage daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga). They've got plenty of family problems, but their newest one is that they have moved into a straight-up haunted house. And it's not pleasantly haunted by friendly ghosts that look like Casper, either. It's haunted by demon-y looking things, and it may possibly cause you to hallucinate, and it has a history of not just spooking but downright ... well, devouring the people who live in it.

Great value, though. Nothing like it on the market!

There is so much going on in the first supersized episode that I wouldn't list it all even if there weren't spoiler problems. Suffice it to say it's got everything from a creepy neighbor (a fantastically wackadoodle Jessica Lange floating in and out) to a creepy maid (Frances Conroy) to creepy things in jars. Jars, I tell you!

I have no idea whether Murphy and Falchuk (two of the creators of the equally over-the-top Glee) have any idea how to keep this going. It will be very hard to maintain the frenetic pace of the pilot in terms of new spookings every minute or so, and there are so many things going on that are just weird that it will be equally hard to prevent the story from accumulating a million questions that fans will ask over and over again and never have answers for.

Several of the folks I talked to last night were talking about what utter sensory overload it was, and I can't argue with that. It's very, very over-the-top, but I also found it wildly entertaining. It utterly polarized the folks I had dinner with afterwards (this would have been a great screening for anyone who thinks critics can't think for themselves), but my reaction was that its biggest challenge may be that it's taken on far too much — that its ambition is destined to exceed its capabilities.

But after sitting through a lot of panel presentations in the last week, I have to say that a show where my biggest worry is that they're being too ambitious is a welcome change.

In short: This show is flat-out keeeee-razy. I liked it.


http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2011 ... rs-of-glee
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby PZ on 05/08/11, 21:30:01

Tim Minear + Horror + "emphatically not for everybody". sounds good.
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby Alexhead on 03/10/11, 11:11:36

First 5 minutes (I believe each episode will start with a flashback to a prior event at the house):

http://video.aol.com/aolvideo/aol-telev ... 8340702001
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby Alexhead on 17/10/11, 22:48:19

Very trashy, relentlessly derivative/thieving of better horror, yet oddly appealing.
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby TC on 18/10/11, 06:37:16

have been recording, haven't watched one yet.
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby Alexhead on 18/10/11, 09:38:58

If you can get past/embrace the fact that they are going to directly reference/rip off as much horror canon as they can--I mean, they are even lifting music from our favorites--then it's pretty fun. I think they brazenly walk in the door shaking their influences in your face, daring you to bitch about it. They're pairing up every horror movie trope with every family-on-the-edge trope, and it kind of works. Oh and Jessica Lange kills it, every time.
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby TC on 18/10/11, 13:37:32

yeah, all i've heard so far is complaints that they didn't even bother to create their own music, using cues from things like 'what lies beneath', etc.

i'll check it out soon.
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby Alexhead on 18/10/11, 16:40:40

Yeah, I mean I think that's all part of the meta exercise going on...pilot has the wild strings from Insidious (played over a strobe lit sequence that may just remind you of the Black Lodge), as well as some Hermann from Vertigo. 2nd episode has Hermann from Psycho.
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby _Marcus_ on 23/10/11, 15:08:10

Alexhead wrote:If you can get past/embrace the fact that they are going to directly reference/rip off as much horror canon as they can--I mean, they are even lifting music from our favorites--then it's pretty fun. I think they brazenly walk in the door shaking their influences in your face, daring you to bitch about it. They're pairing up every horror movie trope with every family-on-the-edge trope, and it kind of works. Oh and Jessica Lange kills it, every time.

I'd say this is pretty spot on. Just saw the first episode and while there was some blatant rip-offs and a bit too obivous nudges in a variety of directions, it all somehow worked out in the end.

The whole became kinda original, even though the parts that made it up weren't. Some lovely weirdness going on too (rubber man ey?). I'm gonna keep watching.
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby _Marcus_ on 30/10/11, 16:43:04

So the writers for this are really just going no holds barred, aren't they? Seems they have a gut feeling the show's not gonna last for long so they just stuff as much weird shit as possible in every episode, in the hopes of something really sticking in the minds of the viewer so that they can continue. I can't for the life of me grasp how they can keep th break-neck speed up for another, say, five or ten episodes. Even so, me and the missus are enjoying every weird, fucked up moment of it, for a reason I'm not quite sure.

Anyone know the ratings for this show btw?
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby darkness on 30/10/11, 16:54:46

_Marcus_ wrote:Anyone know the ratings for this show btw?

It dipped a bit after the premiere, but the last two episodes have been going up in ratings, which is a good sign for a new series. In fact the last episode rated higher than the premiere. It's not a massive hit, but doing respectible numbers and growing.
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby Alexhead on 30/10/11, 22:44:53

I really like the idea (and hope they take advantage of it) that they can kill off any character at any time, and said character can continue to be a weekly character on the show. It's already starting to get a bit sloppy but since it started with such a baseline of chaos I'm guessing they can keep it up.

My understanding is the ratings are more than good enough (for basic cable) that it'll get a second season.
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby TC on 31/10/11, 18:18:44

finally watched the first two episodes yesterday - loving it. really cool. LOTS of cut corners, but i'm ok with it so far. btw, it just got renewed today for a second season.
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby _Marcus_ on 03/12/11, 16:05:11

So again - I can't for the life of me figure out how they are going to keep up this breack neck speed for the rest of the series life, let alone the first season! Just watched episode six and they're just stuffing more and more plot twists and turn into this, sprinkling new characters all over the show like it's a big, scary, bloody ice cream cone.
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby TC on 03/12/11, 16:48:26

i just finished the 2-part halloween episode with eyebrow quinto. pretty awesome. loving it. could they possibly have used some less recognizable music than from coppola's dracula? so obvious.
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby Alexhead on 03/12/11, 21:39:42

I read someone whining about the fact that if any character can die and walk right back into the room, it removes any stakes from the show (they compared it to Heroes as far as that goes--everyone's got powers, nobody ever gets knocked off, etc), but I kind of disagree. You may still be around the house as a ghost if you die there, but it's not like that's the same as being alive anymore. Anyway, I am thinking they're saving the baby for the season finale. That should be kinda awesome.
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby _Marcus_ on 04/12/11, 02:56:46

Alexhead wrote:I read someone whining about the fact that if any character can die and walk right back into the room, it removes any stakes from the show (they compared it to Heroes as far as that goes--everyone's got powers, nobody ever gets knocked off, etc), but I kind of disagree. You may still be around the house as a ghost if you die there, but it's not like that's the same as being alive anymore. Anyway, I am thinking they're saving the baby for the season finale. That should be kinda awesome.

Yes! I so wan't to see that baby satan crawl out of moms belly, Alien style. That way, they've from both Rosemarys baby and Alien in one glorious, gory final shot.
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby Storm13 on 04/12/11, 13:20:43

Is Violet dead? Was her overdose attempt really successful?
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby Alexhead on 05/12/11, 15:27:48

I get the impression that her boyfriend stopped her in time, but that would be a nice twist. I do hope one of the major characters is a ghost by the end of the season, and it would certainly be a logical place to take the story to have her be one so her parents were trapped in the house if they wanted to be with their kid. They can't maintain the premise with the same family for too long otherwise without making the lead characters seem more illogical than they already do in setting foot in the place at all at this point.
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Re: American Horror Story (FX)

Postby TC on 05/12/11, 18:08:47

oh hi spoilers, long time no see! j/k, don't really care, but i'm like five episodes behind.
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