Sunday, May 11, 2014

American Horror Story- Murder House- Final Thoughts

**This post contains spoilers**

American Horror Story: Murder House is a bold show, that’s not afraid to take any chances. Gore, blood, sexual situations, a few “crossing the line” curse words (“sh**”) every now and then, and American Horror Story’s toes touch the line to provide an unforgettable experience for fans of the show.

Murder House features characters with real depth. Constance is a tortured soul with a troubled past, Ben is a habitual liar, and he’s running out of second chances, and Violet is a depressed and isolated teenage girl, who’s desperate for companionship and understanding.

On top of that, the cast is top notch, with Jessica Lange delivering numerous show-stealing performances. Lange is phenomenal, and Lange takes a more villainous turn in Asylum (season 2) as Sister Jude and in Coven (season 3) as Fiona to cement her status as the top mainstay on the show. Dylan McDermott is an ideal choice for the Ben character. McDermott is a natural, when it comes to portraying an anti-hero, or someone, who’s stuck in the middle of the good VS evil zone. Yes. Ben is a caring father, who loves his family, but he willingly engaged in an affair with Hayden, and the affair destroyed his family.

Taissa Farmiga emerges as a star in the making in American Horror Story’s first season, and Farmiga nails another high profiled character (Zoe) in Coven. You won’t see too much of Sarah Paulson as Billie Dean Howard here, but Paulson receives bigger roles in Asylum as Lana Winters and in Coven as Cordelia Foxx (Fiona’s daughter). Evan Peters? When you consider his performances as Kit Walker (Asylum) and Kyle Spencer (Coven),  Tate is still number one for overall quality. Tate is a disturbed kid with a broken life and a nasty mean streak, and Peters brings his A game as Tate.

Consistency is not a problem for Murder House. After each episode, I had to know the answer to this one reoccurring question: What’s next? The cliffhangers, the shocking character deaths, the reveals, the suspense, and the twists and turns. Murder House pulls you into a dark world of betrayal, violence, carnage, and gloomy dilemmas, and you’re hooked in until the very end. I never fell into a down period, where I wanted the show to end, and I can’t remember one tedious slump. Halloween Part I is a prime example, because I’ve seen all three seasons of American Horror Story, and I believe it’s the best episode from all three seasons. The look of panic and shock on Ben’s face, when he opens the door to see Hayden at the end is a great memorable moment.

Murder House sets the stage for a ghostly series with spooky atmospheric tension at the house, and for residents from the past or unfortunate victims of the house’s wrath, the Murder House is a source of pain and fear for a variety of reasons. Larry lost his family in a fire, Moira was shot to death by Constance, and we all know about the tragic end to The Harmon Family’s story. The Murder House is a living, breathing haunted house with a strong heartbeat, any unsuspecting victims are walking into a death trap, and underestimating the house’s power (i.e. Ben in the finale) is a deadly mistake.

Three yeas later, and horror themed shows have a stronger presence on TV. The Walking Dead is an unstoppable juggernaut, Salem popped up on WGN America, From Dusk Till Dawn debuted on El Rey Network, FOX has Sleepy Hollow, NBC has Hannibal, CBS stumbled across a surefire hit with Under The Dome, and Penny Dreadful premiers tonight.

Of course, American Horror Story is still around to establish a recognizable name for a horror TV series, and after three seasons, American Horror Story steps up to the plate for number four with Freak Show. I have mixed feelings for Asylum and Coven, but my hopes are still high for quality with season four. Key players from the past including, Lange, Paulson, Peters, and Denis O’Hare are returning, and the addition of reliable veterans (Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett) from Coven is a positive sign.

Also, the return of Emma Roberts should add a spark to the show, because Roberts was an amazing villainess as Madison Montgomery in Coven. Although, according to reports, it’s Jessica Lange’s last season on American Horror Story, and it‘ll be sad to see her go. Hopefully, she’ll receive a send-off worthy of remembrance, because Jessica Lange  is one of the founders for American Horror Story, and she’s in the small circle for stacking the first set of bricks for the foundation to build American Horror Story’s legacy.

Follow the links below (in chronological order) to read comprehensive reviews for all twelve episodes of American Horror Story: Murder House! (Episode 1- Pilot) (Episode 2- Home Invasion) (Episode 3- Murder House) (Episode 4- Halloween Part I) (Episode 5- Halloween Part II) (Episode 6- Piggy Piggy) (Episode 7- Open House) (Episode 8- Rubber Man) (Episode 9- Spooky Little Girl) (Episode 10- Smoldering Children) (Episode 11- Birth) (Episode 12- Afterbirth)

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