31 Days of Channel Guide: ‘American Horror Story’ Pushes the Bloody Boundaries of Television

We continue our journey through a month of frightening, bloody and violent films. For more, check out our 31 Days of Horror homepage.

You gotta give Ryan Murphy credit for one thing, he sure as hell doesn’t believe in doing anything “normal,” and his triumphant return to adult television in the new FX series American Horror Story fits right in with the rest of his filmography, and the creepy child would agree.

What can honestly be said about American Horror Story? Well first off, there’s no way to properly market this show. It’s honestly one of the most twisted things this reviewer has ever seen attempted by a mainstream television network. Here are a few adjectives and phrases I would use to describe the series: bloody, creepy, hyper-sexual, campy, crazy, ummm…okay…, WTF?!, where the?, huh?, holy shit, behind you!

If any of that sounds appealing, then you are going to fucking love American Horror Story.

The show is almost un-reviewable because the terms which are needed to truly describe it, I don’t think have been invented yet. The plot is actually the simplest part of the series (to its benefit). The Harmon family, in an attempt to start anew, move into a new house in California. But it turns out that the house is haunted by the ghosts of its terrifying past.

One thing I can say for sure is that every actor on screen, from Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, Jessica Lange, all the way down to the family dog, brings their most fucked-up A-game to sell the viewer on the craziness of the series. And that’s all I’m willing to say, because pretty much every moment in the series is one that should be experienced without any pre-existing knowledge. Trust me, it makes it ten times more crazy.

Everything about the series is just…off, but intentionally. The editing is strange, yet seems to give the show its own style. The cinematography supplies the illusion of being hand-held while using smooth crane shots. The lighting completely fills out every scene which, in a way, makes it creepier because just when you think you’ve seen everything there is to be seen, something new and even more fucked up pops out at you.

Killer Scene

During a major plot point in episode two, there is an extremely violent sequence involving some intruders, an axe, a bathroom, and a whole lot of blood. Don’t that just sound like fun, kids?

Kill Sheet


4.5 Skulls Out of 5

From the opening scene, American Horror Story lets you know that you’re gonna need a mop during the commercial breaks. And trust me, things get even more twisted in episode two.


4 Skulls Out of 5

As I said, one of the best phrases to describe this show is hyper-sexual. Bare ass, S&M leather, naughty maids, it’s all presented for the taking in this extreme version of Ryan Murphy’s deeply twisted brain. The only thing missing is full frontal and you can thank FX standards and practices for that.


3.5 Skulls Out of 5

In the pilot, there’s some. In episode two there’s many. The scares that take place in American Horror Story are a mix of real shock and the psychological so you never know what you’re going to get.

Final Thoughts

Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have crafted something original, that’s for damn sure. This isn’t Glee, hell it isn’t even on Nip/Tuck‘s level. American Horror Story is in a league all its own and, you know what? I’m realizing, in real time as I write this review, it’s probably one of the most uniquely crafted shows I’ve ever seen. The show is more than a television series, it’s an experience and one that needs to be seen on a television screen, preferably with friends.

The only proper way to end this review is to congratulate the show’s creators for doing something I didn’t think was possible – get me interested in an extremely fucked up series that is 100% outside the realm of anything I’m used to enjoying.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go pick up my S&M suit from the dry cleaners.

*A fun side note, one of the writers on the series is non other than James Wong of Final Destination fame. Go wrap your brain around that one, folks.

Don’t miss the premiere of American Horror Story tonight at 10PM on FX.

And you can read more Channel Guide for your TV fix

From a young age, TV guru Merrill Barr has been obsessed with the small screen. And one day he decided to put that obsession to good use.

Read More from Merrill Barr
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