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Favorite New Fall Show Poll – American Horror Story

If you like things dark, twisted, disturbing and sometimes scary, then you have to check out FX's new series, 'American Horror Story,' my favorite new show of the season.

Favorite New Show Poll - "American Horror Story"

This week, we at CliqueClack are asking you to vote for your favorite new fall shows to watch and for those that you would recommend to others. The winter hiatus is the perfect time to catch up on new shows you didn’t initially watch. Check out our previous write-ups for Up All Night and Revenge, now check out why Chuck picked American Horror Story!

When I first heard about American Horror Story, I wasn’t sure what to think. Then I saw that iconic artwork with the red room, the scantily clad woman on the floor and the guy in the rubber suit coming out of the ceiling. What the heck was this? It sure didn’t seem like any ghost story I’d ever seen before.

But I took the plunge with a little trepidation (especially after reading Keith’s preview post), and I was transfixed and mesmerized by the edgy, unnerving opening titles and music, the cast, the story and the house itself. Just like the Harmon family, I too was drawn into what is now known as Murder House. Yes, the show has been more weird than scary, but there have been many unnerving moments that have made me regret watching an episode before going to bed.

If you haven’t watched the show yet, the story so far is this: the Harmon family have fled Boston, mainly to get away from husband and father Ben’s indiscretion, and what better place to get away from it all than on the opposite side of the country? They find a grand, old 1920s mansion dirt cheap, then learn that the previous owners were found dead in the house, an apparent murder/suicide, with a little kinkiness thrown into the mix (and we’ve since learned the true nature of the deaths in a recent episode). The Harmons discover their house is part of a tour of famous crime scenes, and learn that there have been more tragedies inside the house than they were led to believe. Daughter Violet, however, is learning that all of the former residents of the house are still there, thanks to a developing relatonship with a patient of her father’s (he’s a therapist), young Tate Langdon (why they’re all still there is another question). The house also came with a housekeeper, a busy-body neighbor that used to live in the house, and a deranged, terminally ill, burned and scarred man who also used to live in the house. Only two of those three are living, breathing people.

And that’s what I’m really digging about the show. The Harmon adults, played by Dylan McDermott (Ben) and Connie Britton (Vivien), are capable actors, but for the moment they are probably the least interesting people on the show. Taissa Farmiga (Vera’s sister) has much more to do as she learns about the house and what lurks in the basement and attic, while the various flashbacks showing us the former residents, including a Frankenstein-like abortion doctor who built the house and the gay couple who were the last residents, give us more background information about the house, and it’s all the more thrilling when these spirits show up in the present to “mingle” with the unsuspecting Harmons.

What I really love about the show is the interplay between Jessica Lange‘s Constance (the neighbor) and Frances Conroy‘s Moira (the housekeeper). These two have a long, sordid history, and whenever they have a juicy scene together, it takes me back to the old Southern gothic movies like Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte. These two actresses are simply amazing, and I believe they should both get Supporting Actress Emmy nominations. And speaking of old movies, the film geek in me really gets a thrill as I pick out homages to various horror/thriller films from the past in just about every episode. What truly sold me on the show was the use of musical cues in the first two episodes from Hitchcock’s Vertigo and Psycho. Music from Bram Stoker’s Dracula has been used on a few occasions as we flash back to the doctor and his wife, and Tate’s theme song is from Kill Bill. With Vivien’s mysterious pregnancy, we practically got an entire scene (or two) from Rosemary’s Baby. The spirit that inhabits the attic bears a striking resemblance to the “geek” from the 80s horror film The Funhouse. I love that the producers and writers are having so much fun by acknowledging these classic films in clever ways that I’m not sure many have picked up on.

I’ve chosen American Horror Story as my favorite new series of the season because it’s so well done, the story has so many layers that are being revealed week-by-week, and it’s one of the few shows that I absolutely have to watch every week instead of letting it sit on the DVR. The subject matter, the shocking violence, the nudity, the disturbing imagery, and the twisted sexual game play may not be to everyone’s tastes, but I think if you enter with an open mind, just like the spirits in Murder House, you won’t be able to leave.

You can vote up to ONCE a day for 3 shows. The poll closes on Sunday, 12/4 at Midnight ET.

Photo Credit: FX

5 Responses to “Favorite New Fall Show Poll – American Horror Story”

November 30, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Tate’s theme song is not from Kill Bill, in actuality, it’s from the film “Twisted Nerve”, another clever and awesome horror homage since Tate shares similarities with the main character of that movie! It’s about a young man who pretends to be something he’s not in order to win the love of a girl. Interesting, eh? :D

November 30, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Thanks for the info! Being a Tarantino flick, I figured the music wasn’t originally from Kill Bill, but that’s where most people know it from. It’s actually another Bernard Herrmann composition, which fits right in with the use of the Vertigo and Psycho musical cues. Those clever, clever guys! :-)

November 30, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Chuck, I’m so glad I’m not the only one who picked up on the Bernard Herrmann score additions to the show. I loved that as well. Great write up on the show. I agree with everything you said.

One thing I wish you had touched on a bit more is how overtly sexual the show has been. Especially with Young Moira (Alexandra Breckenridge’s character) and how flirty she is with the male characters on the show, especially Ben.

Can’t wait for tonights episode!

November 30, 2011 at 5:09 PM

Thanks! Yeah, the moment I heard the Vertigo dream sequence musical ue, I was sold. I did list the sexual game play as one of the things that may (or may not) turn people off, and I had a lot of other things I thought of including, but I think this is a show that is best discovered without knowing a whole lot going in because the surprises have made the journey all the more worthwhile (but I do love Moira and her ability to appear different to the men … I’m just wondering why Ben has never made more mention to Vivien of how young and beautiful Moira looks except for the one time he questioned her about keeping someone like that around the house. Should be interesting when they finally compare notes!).

November 30, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Yea, I’m waiting for Ben (or even any male) to mention that to one of the women in the show that see her as the older Moira, I think that will be very interesting.

And on a side note, Young Moira is fuckin smokin hot!

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