October 6, 2011

American Horror Story



"American Horror Story" premiered last night on FX, and so I'm interrupting my scheduled blogging to give you my thoughts on the first episode.

Basically, I thought it was good. It's going to take a while to really pick up, but it's already got a "Twin Peaks" feel to it for me. I can see it lasting for at least one season and possibly even two. The haters are already saying that it won't last for five episodes before it gets axed. but we shall see.

The pace was very fast. The biggest flaw to this "pilot" episode was that it tried to pack too much and too many characters in at once, but I'm sure that it will even out over time. Obviously, the intention was to appeal to the largest audience as quickly as possible so there were definitely a lot of clich├ęd ghost story formulas including a recognisably Amityville-style curse and some noticeable borrowing from "The Shining".

Of course, it was derivative as hell, the special effects were very much TV quality, and the dialogue reeked of "Nip/Tuck" due to who the creators are, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. The sets and make-up were outstanding so it certainly looked the part.

The story itself was a bit messy, not all that scary or horrific either, but I can see all that changing as the characters start getting more fleshed out and it becomes possible to care about them. I'm not sure if I will care much about all the relationship problems which are going to keep cropping up (especially with the teenage daughter who seemed to be little more than a female version of Matt McNamara), but the acting and characterisation is likely to carry this along just like "Nip/Tuck". We all know how that series had some of the most preposterous storylines ever.


Although I wish that I could now unsee Dylan McDermott cranking (and I think I've seen enough of his bare buttocks for a lifetime too), I'm certainly going to keep tuning in each week for Moira the sexy housekeeper. It goes without saying that I prefer the younger model played by Alexandra Breckenridge (above). It's a neat twist that everyone else apart from Ben (Dylan McDermott) sees her as the scarier-looking Frances Conroy.

One thing I picked up on, but many people wouldn't have noticed, was that the psycho teenager played by Evan Peters (from the much lamented "Invasion") was introduced with "Georgie's Theme" from "Twisted Nerve" (1968). Some people might recognise the whistling from "Kill Bill" as it was used there too, but the intended "pop-culture reference" wasn't wasted on me.

It was also nice to see Jessica Lange in something again. I last saw her in "Hush" (1998) which wasn't a good film and, unfortunately, she seemed to be playing much the same pushy, Southern role here. I just hope that her kleptomaniac character becomes far more deliciously evil as there were huge hints that she will.

The biggest name in this appears to be Connie Britton, but I've never seen her in anything other than the very disappointing "Nightmare on Elm Street" remake so I'm not sure what all the fuss is about with her yet. She's acting a good part (albeit channelling Joely Richardson's delivery without the bulging-eyed, gasping face), but I'm not liking her "eco-friendly" character too much especially as it has already been revealed that she's got a very kinky sex-life going on with her gimped-up husband which is far more interesting.

Anyway, if you missed both showings of "American Horror Story" last night, don't worry because I'm sure FX will repeat this episode again next week before the new one.


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