In its first season on FX, creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk took American Horror Story where no other television show has gone before, and viewers definitely noticed. The imdb message boards for this show continue to get hits every day although the last episode aired way back in December. And fans are ravenous to get their hands on the Blu-ray and/or DVD of the show’s first season, which strategically releases on September 25, just prior to airing of the first episode of season two in October.
AHS‘s heebie-jeebie inducing opening credits convinced horror fans this show was something special. The jolting camera cuts showing glimpses of jars containing who-knows-what interspliced with broken and burning antique photos, in the creepiest basement ever, accompanied by an industrial sounding score that sort of resembles music. Then the pilot’s opening, when Addie (Jamie Brewer) aptly prognosticated, “You’re going to die in there,” to the no-good red-headed twins about to enter what is possibly the most perfect looking haunted house – after which the boys met their untimely ends in said creepiest of basements. In the third episode, new inhabitant of the house Vivien (Connie Britton, A Nightmare on Elm Street) learns that the house is featured in a tour of notorious L.A. locations and is known as Murder House.
Other show standouts include casting inimitable Oscar award-winning actress Jessica Lange as Constance, a central character. Lange subsequently won Golden Globe, Bram Stoker and Screen Actors Guild awards for her performance on the show. Also groundbreaking – the well-warranted parental advisory warning announced at the close of each and every commercial break. Some sleaziness seems requisite in a show with the word “horror” in its title from Nip/Tuck creators, but AHS repeatedly pushed the limits of what can be shown, even on a cable channel.
The show cleverly mixed in true historic events and characters, like The Black Dahlia (played by American Beauty hottie Mena Suvari), with outlandish supernatural occurrences. And the writing only topped itself with all its allusions, including an excellently used reference to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s insightful story about mental illness in women, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The character Infanta (Ben Woolf), a re-assembled toddler who grew up with a horrific set of incisors, vies for all-time most hideous television character.
The show creators’ ingenious timing in releasing pieces of the puzzle surrounding the house and its inhabitants (both living and dead) always left viewers poised for the next episode, dying to discover which juicy tidbits would be exposed next. The show’s biggest mystery, the identity of the Rubber Man, kept everyone guessing until revealed in Episode 8.
[SPOILERS] The show’s crowning achievement has to be its success in inducing scores of women to fall in love with the dreamy-eyed Kurt Cobain-esque Tate (Evan Peters), and remain so even after it was revealed he opened fire on his high school Columbine style. AND, that as a ghost, he brutally killed sweet Chad (played by the much-loved Zachary Quinto of Star Trek) and his partner Patrick (Teddy Sears). AND, that he is, indeed, the Rubber Man, who impregnated his girlfriend’s mom (while she mistakenly thought she was making love with her husband) and later attempted to rape her forcibly.
Season one starred Britton and Dylan McDermott (The Practice) as the couple who move into Murder House and Taissa Farmiga (Vera Farmiga’s little sister) as their teenaged daughter and Tate’s love interest. Among the cast’s recurring characters was Sarah Paulson, who was previously featured in the mid-nineties horror series American Gothic.
Season two promises a new setting and new characters, retaining a handful of the actors from season one and introducing many new actors to the show. Click here for details about just what’s been revealed for season two. And in the meantime, pre-order season one DVD from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy or Walmart, where the price is about the same at each. But don’t order the Blu-ray from Best Buy, whose $59.99 price is significantly higher than Walmart ($53.86), Amazon ($53.99), or B&N ($51.12).