Review – American Horror Story – Pilot

For no particular reason, I just shook all the dandruff I could out of my hair. I could do several lines off my keyboard right now. I should probably clean it and take a shower, or at least change my shirt. But I’ve rewritten the first sentence of this article four times in the last fifteen minutes, and refuse to admit defeat. There must be a way I can articulate what came so easily to my mind after midnight last night, when I tried to make #murderhouse a trending hashtag.

The pre-premiere press on American Horror Story was pretty skeptical. Another show from the men who created Nip/Tuck and Glee, it was accused of being stylish but trying to do too much at once. Was it a comedy or a drama? A psychological horror story or a supernatural one? Were any of the characters even in the same series?

Judging from the pilot, the answers are yes, yes, and no.  I think that’s why I enjoyed it. Much like Locke & Key (which was also made into a pilot, but not picked up), the central conceit was to use a haunted location to tell several stories. But whereas Locke & Key limits itself to one central mythology, the initial episode of American Horror Story has the scattershot feel of an anthology. It’s a different type of horror movie depending on what room the characters are in, and there’s a ridiculous jump-cut scare about every three minutes just because. It’s entirely conceivable that the series could end with each one of the characters in the Harmon family realizing that everyone else in their family is a ghost, and they were all the last one alive.

Like a lot of writers, I have a dream TV series in my head, the one I’d make if I had drive, an unwavering belief in myself, lost the password to my Steam account, and was permanently banned from the Internet. And like them, I’ll take that series to my grave and never do anything with it. But I will say this, in some ways, it would be a lot like this episode. A show where everything that would usually happen in sweeps month happens every week, plus ghosts.


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