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American Horror Story (FX) - Series Premiere: Synopsis and Review

Updated on April 21, 2013

A family moves into their new home to build up their lives again after a traumatic event. Little do they know their home will not give them the rest they’re searching for.

American Horror Story is a new FX show created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. It aired on Wednesday the 5th of October at 10/9c. The main characters are played by Dylan McDermott (The Practice), Connie Britton (Spin City, Friday Night Lights and A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Taissa Farmiga. The promotion for this series was quite strange, with short little movies showing a seemingly random item. However, after having watched the first episode, it makes sense they chose this type of promotion. It fits the atmosphere of the show completely.

The episode starts with two little boys going into an abandoned house. A little girl with Down syndrome tells them they will die in there, but they ignore her. She was right, though; they will never make it out. When they go exploring in the basement, after trashing the rest of the house, something kills them.

More than thirty years later the Harmon family moves into this house. The family consists of mother Vivien (Connie Britton), father Ben (Dylan McDermott), who is a psychiatrist, and daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga). Following a miscarriage, Ben cheated on his wife with one of his students. To overcome the drama in their life, Ben and Vivien decide to move to a new house. Even though the previous owners died in this house (according to the realtor they died of a murder-suicide), they take it. The house is big enough for Ben to have his psychiatrists office at home, and he has his patients come over. Violet starts some sort of friendship with one of them, Tate, an adolescent boy who has fantasies about killing everyone in his school.

Ryan Murphy, co-creator of American Horror Story.
Ryan Murphy, co-creator of American Horror Story. | Source

At first, the family doesn’t notice the strange things that happen in the house. They don’t realize that Ben sees the old maid as an attractive young woman, nor do they realize that there is something living in the basement. However, they do notice the neighbor’s daughter with Down syndrome, Adelaide (Jamie Brewer), who just can’t stay out of the house, and they blame her for things that seem to happen because of the ghosts of the little boys that died in the basement, like kitchen cabinets opening on their own.

All of the weirdness inside the house seems to be originating from the basement. It was the basement where the little boys died, and supposedly the basement was also the location where the previous owners died. So when Violet tells Tate she is being bullied by a girl at school and he comes up with a way to stop her that involves luring the girl down to the basement, you know something is going to go wrong. Tate is waiting for the girls in the basement when Violet and her bully come down. Violet flips the light switch so the lights flash on and off, and Tate starts to laugh maniacally while rocking back and forth in this chair to scare the girl. However, there is something else in the room, something that looks like an old person with huge claws and sharp teeth. This something jumps at the girl and claws her face open. The girl runs away in terror, and Violet is hysterical. Tate however seems not to have noticed. This is just one of the many weird things that happen in this first episode.

American Horror Story Preview

The storyline is similar to that of a horror movie, but chopped into bits and altered slightly to form episodes for a series. At first I was skeptical about this, after all; the strength of most horror movies lies in the continuous horror and in a series this isn’t possible. But somehow they managed to create a series out of it, probably by giving it the Lost effect: a lot of mysteries and questions that go unsolved. You cannot help but want to see more, just so you’ll know the answer to these questions.

This series seems to be off to a promising start. There are a lot of mysteries in this first episode, but somehow they’ve managed to keep it interesting. I’m very curious as to what is going on in this house, so I will definitely be watching the rest of the series.

What did you think about 'American Horror Story'?

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    • Dannielle Walter profile image

      Dannielle Walter 3 years ago

      I'm in LOVE with this show!! I can't wait to watch season 5! Thank you for the excellent hub!! :)

    • Robin Oatley profile image

      Robin Oatley 6 years ago

      Jeannie, I can see where you are coming from. The show doesn't focus on 'traditional horror' (screaming girls being followed by some monster/creep), but rather on more.. sophisticated horror. If that is a thing ;)

      Iefox 5, I love it too. Nothing official yet, but I think the show will return next Fall. What IS official is that Adam Levine (Maroon 5, The Voice) will be playing a role in the second season. I'm not sure yet what to think of that!

    • iefox5 profile image

      iefox5 6 years ago

      Love the show very much, hope will see the next season soon.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      This is an interesting hub about a strange show. I tried to watch it, but I just didn't get it. I wanted more horror, less perversion. I don't know... I guess that is just how I like my TV shows. I think at times this series just goes for shock value. Interesting review and voted up!

    • Robin Oatley profile image

      Robin Oatley 6 years ago

      Hi MelChi, I'm also looking forward to the second season, I can't wait for it to start!

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      I love this show - it's so different, and the actors and writing are brilliant. Really looking forward to the 2nd season!

    • BundleUp profile image

      Marianne 6 years ago from Ambler, Pa

      Great review of the show!

      My brother got me into the show a couple of weeks ago. He told me to catch up on the previous episodes first, which I did by watching them ON DEMAND.

      It has very disturbing characters and images, that are pretty scary.

      But, as creepy as the show is, I am addicted to it!

      Love, love, love Jessica Lange. Always have.

    • Robin Oatley profile image

      Robin Oatley 6 years ago

      It does seem so indeed. I'm curious as to how many more ghosts will show up, and if Hayden, Ben's former student and lover, will be trapped in the house as well. Technically she died on the premises, although she wasn't actually inside the house when she died.

    • profile image

      ruffridyer 6 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      It seems like everyone who dies in the house becomes stranded there as a ghost.

    • Robin Oatley profile image

      Robin Oatley 6 years ago

      Thank you for your compliment and for reading my hub! The show is quite scary indeed. The storyline isn't even that creepy, but the images definitely are!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

      Your review was excellent, and very useful. But now I'm convinced that I couldn't watch a show this creepy week after week! Thanks for a good write-up!

    • Robin Oatley profile image

      Robin Oatley 6 years ago

      I understand where you're coming from, it does give off that vibe. But somehow, it just doesn't bother me that much, I guess ;)

      Thanks for reading!

    • YadiraE profile image

      YadiraE 6 years ago from Puerto Rico

      I wanted to like this show, but I just didn't. I think it was sort of forced. But that's just my opinion. :D