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“Remember…you let us in.” There are eleven teaser videos and one thirty-second trailer for FX’s AMERICAN HORROR STORY, and aside from a creepy whispered-over-toy-piano version of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love,” that line is all we get for details. People the world-over are asking: what IS this show going to be? Let’s dissect what we have and try to make sense out of what has become one of this fall’s most buzzed about, and surely most bizarre, shows…
GLEE + NIP/TUCK = TWIN PEAKS AND OLD LACE? Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, the brains behind the singing teens and hit plastic surgery drama, are taking television into the dark unknown with AMERICAN HORROR STORY, debuting October 5th on FX. The network has kept details close to the chest, but what we do “officially” know is that the story revolves around the Harmons, “a family of three who move from Boston to Los Angeles as a means to reconcile past anguish.” Aside from that meaty scoop they have trickled only a handful of quarter-minute teasers in between commercials, each one begging more questions than the last.
Let’s look at the pieces and see how they fit together: we have a woman disappearing into a cardboard box, a doll in an empty bathtub, a semi-nude man and woman, a man on fire walking to a fireplace, someone in head-to-toe latex (looking very much like a shiny Frankenstein from 1975’s DEATH RACE 2000) staring into the camera, someone playing the abdomens of a man and pregnant woman with a bow like a cello, a flaming furnace, aforementioned latex-clad person – now pregnant – standing over a woman writing on the floor, ghostly children running down a hallway, that latex-clad person reaching down from the ceiling and pulling a girl’s hair, a maid on her knees scrubbing the floor, a baby’s arm sticking out from under a rug, and what appears to be a stripper from the 30’s writing all over a couch. Crystal clear!
The cast is superb, made up of Emmy® nominee Dylan McDermott (The Practice) as “Ben Harmon,” a psychiatrist; Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) as “Vivien Harmon,” Ben’s wife; Taissa Farmiga as “Violet,” the Harmon’s teenage daughter; Jessica Lange (Tootsie, Blue Sky, Grey Gardens) in her first-ever regular series TV role as “Constance,” the Harmon’s neighbor; Evan Peters (One Tree Hill) plays “Tate Langdon,” one of Ben’s patients; and Denis O’Hare (The Good Wife) as “Larry Harvey.”
Ok, so answers aren’t to be had at this point, but there is much for genre fans to celebrate in based on what evidence is out there. This clearly will be a dark show, and judging by the hybrid images of s&m, pregnancy, sex and mystery, it appears as though boundaries will be pushed. And let’s be honest, the ambiguity of it all is the siren song for those of us who delight in the arcane.
Will AMERICAN HORROR STORY succeed where recent dramatic genre efforts like HAVEN, HARPER’S ISLAND, HAPPY TOWN and EASTWICK have stumbled? Horror fans are loyal to product that delivers, and if the buzz surrounding AMERICAN HORROR STORY’s eerie teasers is any indication, this might well be the kind of television genre fans have been craving.
For more details head to the official site or join the legions of the morbidly curious by heading to the AMERCIAN HORROR STORY Facebook page where you can peruse all the teasers, and join in the debate about just what this monstrosity will be…
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