With the Blu-ray/DVD release of Asylum and the season premiere of Coven just around the corner (October 8th and 9th, respectively), this seems like as good a time as any to list some of the many reasons why American Horror Story is such an incredible show. So, here goes…
The Crew: It cannot be denied that there is an enormous amount of talent on the show itself, but there is an equal amount behind the scenes as well. Ryan Murphy, the creator of AHS, is one of the most talented and versatile minds of our time. In addition to bringing us AHS (for which I am eternally grateful!), he is also responsible for Nip/Tuck (which hubby and I recently became hooked on) and Glee (I know I will incur the wrath of many for this, but yes, I am a huge Glee fan). Murphy’s range is simply incredible. It is so hard to believe that these extremely different works all came from the same person. Many thanks also to Brad Falchuk (co-creator of AHS and Glee) and the rest of the crew(s) for bringing us such awesome shows!
The Ambiance: Major kudos to the director(s) of photography for managing to create uniquely creepy atmospheres in each season of AHS. Murder House is truly unforgettable and is as iconic as the Amityville house. Briarcliffe also has a personality (or whatever the equivalent to one is for an inanimate object) all its own. Although Coven has not yet made its debut, the trailers and promotional pictures already suggest that the next chapter will be just as eerie and amazing as the first two.
The Plotlines: Although haunted houses, insane asylums and witches are not new to the world of horror, AHS adds unique twists and turns to beloved horror traditions to create singularly incredible storylines. Each season is independent of the others, which ensures that the plots will never become old or tiresome.
The Cast: AHS features extremely gifted actors and actresses. The fact that many of the same actors/actresses play different roles in multiple seasons creates the perfect combination of new plotlines and familiar faces. In addition to being stunningly beautiful, Jessica Lange has incredible range as an actress. I think I speak for all when I say that Constance and Sister Jude are two extremely complex and unforgettable characters and I am sure that Coven’s Fiona will be no different. Dylan McDermott (who I was briefly in love with around the age of twelve, after watching Steel Magnolias) is perfect as Ben (the flawed, yet still lovable unfaithful husband in season one), but also does an amazing job portraying Bloody Face, Jr. in season two. Frances Conroy, Zachary Quinto, Denis O’Hare (who many of you will recognize as Russell Edgington from True Blood…I very much enjoyed watching him meet the True Death!), and James Cromwell are also compelling in their role(s). Coven will feature some familiar faces, such as Taissa Farmiga (the younger sister of Vera Farmiga), Lily Rabe (Nora/Sister Mary Eunice), Evan Peters (Tate/Kit) and Sarah Paulson (Billie Dean/Lana “Banana” Winters). The latest installment also promises some new blood (no pun intended) in the form of Kathy Bates (who will be playing one of history’s most fascinating serial killers, Madame LaLaurie) and Angela Bassett.
These are just some of the many reasons why AHS is so addictive. I left out a major category (homages to history and the horror genre) because I plan to dedicate a separate blog to the lengthy topic.