Aired: October 5 – December 21, 2011
DVD Release: September 25, 2012
In American Horror Story: Murder House, on the precipice of divorce, Ben (Dylan McDermott) and Vivian (Connie Britton) relocate from Boston to a renovated mansion in Los Angeles with their daughter Violet (Tassia Farmiga) in order to start again. Little do they know that the great price that they got on the mansion is due to its dark history of violence. Will they become eternal tenants to be the rare people to leave the house alive?
I was very late to catch the American Horror Story train. Always a Ryan Murphy fan, Feud was a work of genius, horror simply isn’t a genre that I would regularly choose to watch. One night, my 16-year-old and I were talking about what to watch and we landed on American Horror Story: Murder House. Let’s be clear, while I know my daughter is old enough to watch shows like American Horror Story Murder House, it was a little uncomfortable at times to be watching it with her. Some of the themes are quite adult but the story is engaging and the acting is spectacular.
in American Horror Story: Murder House Ben and Vivian go to California looking for a new start after Ben cheats with one of his students. Vivian suffers a miscarriage. Ben opens his psychiatry practice from the spectacularly beautiful wood-paneled library (the real house used in the show was built in 1908 and is 10,000+ square feet. For more information, click here). He takes as a patient Tate (Evan Peters), a troubled teen who forges a bond with Violet that doesn’t especially thrill Ben. Complicating matters are the sometimes young and sometimes old maid, Moira (Frances Conroy and Alexandra Breckenridge), a somewhat overbearing neighbor played by Jessica Lange and her mischievous daughter who slips into the house at will scaring its occupants is played by Jamie Brewer. As time unfolds, the former occupants reveal themselves to the new owners and their motivations are very rarely innocent.
While hesitant to start this series, I have to say American Horror Story Murder House is wonderful. The stories of the former occupants are deep, complex and fully realized. Lily Rabe plays the wife of the first owner of the house. She suffered a great loss and the actress plays both her grieving a manipulative sides to perfection. Zachary Quinto gives another outstanding performance as a former owner trapped eternally in a relationship with someone with whom he’d rather not spend eternity. Jessica Lange perhaps, not surprisingly, gives the best performance as a woman. She has a deep connection with the house and is torn in a love-hate relationship with her life and desperate need to stay nearby. She won a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance in the role of Constance Langdon. Truly, at many points, the show is a work of art.
One of the constant characters is the man in the rubber suit. The art department deserves a lot of credit for the way he sometimes floats through the scene. There are a few really unforeseen twists that just thrilled this viewer, and while not all character stories were as interesting as the others, as everything came together it was clear the story was just astoundingly well done. At first, I did find the show a little scary, but as episodes progressed, I just simply could not stop watching.
If you’re looking for a good ghost story this post-Halloween weekend, binge the 12 episodes in this season and remember, Season 8 all comes back to that gorgeous house.
American Horror Story Murder House is available as a DVD, Blu-ray and on Amazon Instant Video.
|Title||American Horror Story Murder House|
|Director||Ryan Murphy (and others)|
|Actors||Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, Tassia Farmiga, Evan Peters,
Jessica Lange, Frances Conroy, Dennis O’Hare
|DVD Release||September 25, 2012|