American Horror Story Bringing Fear to Primetime

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The third season of American Horror Story returned this week with a new plotline, familiar faces and a few good freak outs in the season premiere, “Bitchcraft”. In the preternatural setting of a New Orleans home for wayward witches, Sarah Paulson, Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett take on this horror project with style and add a bit of star power to an already exciting cast. Still, what I’ve loved about this show since it began is the fact that the story changes, the horror shifts focus but the cast remains the same.

Remember Season 1?

Dylan McDermott (Ben) and Connie Britton (Vivien), with their failing marriage and depressed teenaged daughter (Taissa Farmiga/”Violet”), move across the country to start a new life away from Ben’s infidelity and teacher/student affair with a Boston university student. What they find in Los Angeles is death and insanity in an old house with a bloody past. It seems every horrific thing that happened in Los Angeles in the early 20th century happened at or because of this house. The Black Dahlia murder originated at the house. A sadistic doctor gave illegal abortions to young women in the basement, small children were killed and tortured, a man burns the house and his family with it, a gay couple commit a frightening murder/suicide and we haven’t even mentioned the creepy neighbors! Jessica Lange brings an intensity and strength to this show, without a doubt, and she wastes no time creeping audiences out with her sexy, psychopathic character, “Constance”. Along with Evan Peters performance as her son, the ever-so-creepy Tate, and his equally creepy sister, “Addie”, the first season of AHS brought with it a new kind of scary to network cable. Many an evening, I sat perched knees to chest on my couch, my kitty cat Daenerys snuggled on my lap, precariously watching the show through the slits of the fingers I held over my eyes. I, who have been reading Stephen King since middle school, who will watch Rosemary’s Baby to cheer up, who is not afraid of much real or made-up, had my share of freak out moments thanks to AHS. From then on, I was hooked. I wanted more, but by the end of S1, there seemed no way to continue the story while retaining the integrity of this amazing show. Would they exhaust the trope and have a new family move into the house? Would someone make it out alive? Instead, the writers, producers and actors took the show to a level I had no idea existed in TV land.

So then came season 2…

With an entirely new setting, a few new faces sprinkled in with a few members of the previous cast, American Horror Story: Asylum suddenly became a completely different program and set the bar bloody high for cable television. The storyline, instead of revolving around a haunted house in Los Angeles, was set in Briarcliff, an old tuberculosis hospital gutted and turned into an asylum for crazies. With the familiar faces of Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Jessica Lange (and a glimpse of Dylan McD!) and new ones such as Chloe Sevigny, Zachary Quinto, Joseph Fiennes and James Cromwell, the show had an entirely different plot but the same great writing and terrifying themes of creepy, murder-tastic scariness. This time, instead of a haunted house, we are confronted with pure evil in human form via the sadistic doctors, nuns, and patients with nothing but time and a twisted sense of morality. A season full of demon possession, rape babies and horny nuns and priests is enough to make any one squeamish, but still, audiences wanted more.

Now, we have season 3.

I don’t know what to expect, except that I know it will be frightening and intense. While I completely freaked out at the Kathy Bates’ first scenes, the entire episode wasn’t as intense as those few minutes, and I was glad for it. I have a feeling that Jessica Lange, who has received an Emmy and Golden Globe for her performance on the show, will again wow audiences with her range of character and ability. I am also excited (read: uber uber excited!) to see Kathy Bates in the role of a total psychopath. Remember Misery? Yup. She’s got it in her, and I cannot wait to watch it unfold on the small screen. Be sure to tune into FX Network, Wednesday nights at 10pm, but only if you are ready to be really, really scared.

sleep tight,

The Collectiva Diva

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