When I first had the opportunity to see the trailers for American Horror Story I didn’t hold out much hope. It wasn’t that it didn’t interest me, on the contrary, the show looked pretty decent, and right up my street. My problem was that the trailers advertised something that I expected would be entirely different from what would actually be shown. After the first episode, I wasn’t let down, but intrigued. This show actually felt like it could work. Did it scare me? Well… no but I’ll be honest in saying that there are not a lot of films or TV shows that do, but it is very creepy.
American Horror Story certainly caught my attention. The series runs like a book of short stories bound together, interlinking with one another, some rarely, some continuously all with the house at their centre. There is a lot going on but it works perfectly. The fact that each episode tells a different story in relation to the history of the house and its previous owners prevents it becoming dull or drawn out, there are some points in the show where you only see a glimpse of what is happening and it’s not until you reach the last few episodes that the pieces start to fall into place. I love that while there are a few predictable turns in the road, at times you have no idea where the story is going or whose side you are on, and that is something that a lot of shows are missing these days.
The main storyline in American Horror Story – Season One surrounds psychologist Ben Harmon and his wife Vivien, parents to troubled teenage daughter Violet, who decide to move to a new home in Los Angeles in order to repair their fractured marriage following the revelation that Ben had an affair after his wife suffered a miscarriage. As the family arrive to view the house, they are told about the murder/suicide of the previous owners, which took place at the residence. Although this bothers them somewhat, thanks to an extremely low price and a pushy daughter the Harmons agree to buy the house and move in. As they settle in to their new home, they meet their neighbour Constance, a rude and obnoxious women who walks freely into their home, and her daughter Adelaide, a young women with Downs Syndrome who is obsessed with the house.
There is also a surprise for Vivien when an elderly woman named Moira appears and offers her services as maid to the property, revealing that she fulfilled this role for the house’s previous occupants, while Vivien is reluctant at first she eventually hires the woman and when she is introduced to Ben, we see that there are two sides to the mysterious Moira. As the story continues we find out more about Ben’s infidelities and the troubles the Harmons experienced prior to moving home as well as the trouble that awaits them as the horrendous history of the house is revealed.
As Ben and Vivien struggle to keep their marriage together, and Violet struggles to find a place to fit in, they suddenly find themselves immersed in a strange world where the house’s history comes back to haunt them.
American Horror Story is a great new horror show, it is dark and gritty and the storylines are really well though out. It was refreshing and an absolute pleasure to view such a well-written and well-directed show. With a great cast including the wonderful Jessica Lange, Dylan McDermott and the awesome Evan Peters as Ben Harmon’s unhinged patient Tate, American Horror Story: Season One is genuinely one of my favourite shows and I am positive that this will continue when Season Two is released.
And now for your interest and to give you a little info about each instalment in this great series, here is my episode guide for American Horror Story!
American Horror Story – Season One
Episode 1: Pilot
Following infidelity and a miscarriage Ben and Vivien Harmon and their daughter Violet move to a new home in Los Angeles in an attempt to move on from their problems. The house comes with a colourful history as the estate agent reveals a gruesome murder/suicide took place on the property, a fact that seems to interest Violet. Ben and Vivien find out more about the house as a few of the house’s previous occupants introduce themselves, including next-door neighbour Constance and her daughter Adelaide and a man who bears the scars of a horrific accident. Violet meets a mysterious young patient of Ben’s called Tate. After a rocky start in their new home, Vivien and Ben get closer after Vivien finds a rubber bondage suit in the attic. Vivien discovers she is pregnant.
Episode 2: Home Invasion
As the history of the house is slowly revealed to us, we are shown one of the many murders to take place in the property in 1968. Copycat killers later take Vivien and Violet captive and though they fight back, it is the actions of Tate and Constance that save them. Ben has to return to Boston when he receives worrying news from Hayden, the women he had an affair with. Constance punishes Adelaide for getting in the way of her love life.
Episode 3: Murder House
Moira’s connection to the house and to Constance is revealed in another flashback, as well as why Ben sees her in a different light. Vivien tells the estate agent that she wants to sell the house after what happened to her and Violet. Ben blacks out while with a patient and wakes up with blood on his hands, when Moira teases him and makes advances towards him Ben argues with a confused Vivien. Hayden shows up at the house and things quickly get worse. Vivien learns more about her home and its first owners, as she takes a bus tour where her home is one of the star attractions.
Episode 4: Halloween, Part 1
We see the actual events surrounding the supposed murder/suicide that took place in the house. Constance and Adelaide argue over men and a Halloween costume as Adelaide wants to be a pretty girl. Violet helps Adelaide but tragedy occurs when Adelaide goes trick or treating. The dead trapped within the house wander on Halloween, while some lend a hand with decorating the house for the holiday. Tate reveals more about the house’s history to Violet. The man with the scars attempts to blackmail Ben, who opens up to Tate. When Vivien is later rushed to hospital in pain, he appears at the house and threatens Violet.
Episode 5: Halloween, Part 2
Ben and Vivien rush home to Violet, who has now disappeared with Tate. The two get closer at the beach but are interrupted by a group of teenagers who seem to have it in for Tate. Ben deals with the man with the scars while Vivien makes friends with the local security. Hayden returns and threatens Vivien and her unborn child but her new friend comes to the rescue. Violet makes a shocking discovery about Tate and the teenagers who hate him. The house’s previous occupants return as Halloween ends.
Episode 6: Piggy, Piggy
We see the events surrounding Violet’s discovery about Tate. Constance and Violet have a frank discussion about Tate and Violet meets a psychic. Vivien eats raw meat to help her baby, encouraged by Moira and Constance. Violet tries to find out more about what Tate did. Disturbed by what she has found out Violet returns home and when she sees ghosts in the basement she is pushed to the edge leaving her fate in Tate’s hands.
Episode 7: Open House
A connection between the man with the scars, Larry, and Constance is revealed with more of the house’s history. Vivien and Ben are shocked when it is revealed they are having twins! A prospective buyer offers Moira a way of escaping the house and she does all she can to convince him to put in an offer. Violet continues to argue with her parents over selling the house and their decision to separate. Vivien goes on the bus tour again to find out more about the house and the events that took place there. Ben turns to Tate for help with Violet. Tate helps Violet discover more about the house’s previous owners. Constance discovers the prospective buyers real plans with the house and delights in telling Moira. Violet realises she is in love with Tate.
Episode 8: Rubber Man
We find out who the man in the rubber suit is. Vivien realises that she showed a ghost around the house. We find out why the rubber suit was in the house. Hayden continues to cause problems for Vivien and her babies, while Moira scolds Hayden for her actions. Vivien becomes increasingly frightened and emotional. Ben attempts to get through to Violet after he discovers she has been skipping school. Moira reveals her dislike for men to Vivien as she tries to convince her that she is not going crazy. When Vivien tries to leave with Violet however, the ghosts terrorise her and when Violet denies seeing anything, in order to stay with Tate, Ben is left wondering if his wife is losing it.
Episode 9: Spooky Little Girl
A world famous murder is revealed to have taken place at the house. The women in the house taunt Ben while Vivien is in hospital. Something unusual is revealed about Vivien’s pregnancy, which Hayden uses to get closer to Ben. Hayden convinces Constance’s lover to help her but things don’t go to plan. Constance pays Vivien a visit in hospital, where Vivien reveals she was raped. Constance’s psychic reveals some long hidden secrets.
Episode 10: Smoldering Children
We find out how Larry really got his scars. The police quiz Constance after the discovery of her lovers’ body, while she believes Larry is to blame. Ben realises that Vivien is telling the truth about the rape and reveals to Vivien the truth about the twins. While Constance looks guiltier by the second in the eyes of the police, a reunion with his family moves Larry to come to her aide. Tate attacks Ben in a desperate attempt to protect Violet from making a horrifying discovery.
Episode 11: Birth
Tate and Violet attempt to rid the house of the ghosts who plan to kidnap Vivien’s babies, while Constance has plans of her own for the twins. Vivien goes in to labour in the drive way as the family are about to leave the house for good. Ben, in a state of shock, allows Constance to take control as Vivien gives birth. Tate makes a shocking confession to Violet, and this time it may be too much for her to take.
Episode 12: Afterbreak
The final episode reveals the final pieces of the house’s history and the Harmon’s story as Constance attempts to take one of the babies as her own. Another family show interest in the house and make an offer.