American Horror Story 1×01 – Pilot

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Wow. That must have been the weirdest series premier ever produced. I’d been hearing a lot about American Horror Story over the course of the last year so I just had to give the pilot a chance. I’m glad I did because this was an undeniably bizarre yet strangely enthralling production.

It’s quite hard to pull off a horror series and maintain some semblance of creativity with all the cliches at your disposal. Thankfully, while American Horror Story did throw a couple of obvious haunted house moments, it managed to spice things up with some truly creepy additions to the genre. I was most impressed by the housekeeper who Ben saw as a hot young thing while everyone else simply saw as a withered old lady. That was such a simple yet effective development that infused the hour with a lot of interesting layers. But course the episode’s most shocking scene belongs to the latex man which I’ll get to in a bit.

While Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton both did a pretty good job and managed to ground the pilot’s central relationship quite effectively, the highlight of the hour for me was undoubtedly Jessica Lange’s phenomenal turn as their next door neighbor. She seriously deserves all the buzz and accolades she got over the past year. Although she only had a handful of scenes, she literally popped off the screen in every one of them with her lethal combo of one-liners and sinister machinations. I’m looking forward to learning more about her as well as her dynamic with her daughter Adelade and the housekeeper (who feels like her mortal nemesis).

And finally, no pilot can ever truly succeed if it doesn’t end with one heck of a twist and this one was no different. During the episode’s final moments, Vivian reveals that she’s pregnant and it’s utterly insane in light of the fact that she had just slept with the latex man in what was perhaps the freakiest scene of all time. I have to say, I adored that twist (and the fact that I surprisingly didn’t expect it at all).

Conclusion
While American Horror Story is definitely not for everyone, I was highly impressed by the show’s ambition and tone. Although it might be an impossible task, let’s see if it manages to maintain its odd yet strangely absorbing quality. Compelling stuff indeed.

Nad Rating
B+

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