Saturday, October 8, 2011

American Horror Story

Like I've said before, I try not to watch too much television, but what I watch, I watch mostly for the writing/storytelling. The acting helps too, but if the story isn't there, the acting ain't gonna make it any better. I've actually been ruminating on trying to write some kind of ghost story, a haunting of sorts, but without all the easy/cliched crap that tends to come with a story of its nature. I'm attempting to come at it from a different angle, so I'm checking out a few different things. Mostly documentaries, but I just watched the pilot of this new show on FX called "American Horror Story."

It's serialized, which is what caught my attention first and foremost since most horror stories are one-offs in the form of movies. And really, if you've seen one horror movie, you've seen about 98% of them. Creepy houses, lingering ghosts with ulterior motives, strange people who appear at random, odd neighbors, and the somehow unsuspecting family that moves into the big, creepy house thinking that it's "perfect." I think once someone figures out how to get rid of every one of these horror movie cliches, we'll all be the better for it.

Unfortunately, "American Horror Story" has each and every one of those cliches. There's nothing unique about the program yet, but it's entirely watchable and completely engrossing. There are your typical flashback scenes of people dying in the house due to strange circumstances, but what really solidified my interest in the program were the questions I was left with, found below. And if my personal questions don't get you interested, this show probably isn't for you.

1.) Does the neighbor actually exist?
2.) Was the wife impregnated by her husband or someone/something else? (my guess is something else)
3.) How do all of the current moving parts/characters relate to the overall story?
4.) Why are all the victims so naive walking into the situation?

Again, while the show is using a lot of the old standbys in telling a ghost story, it's doing a pretty good job. This isn't "Paranormal Activity" stretched out over the course of a viewing season; it's certainly more interesting than that, but the first episode doesn't seem to be showing a willingness to break new ground yet. Though the post-production editing team is doing some really fun stuff with scene-splicing.


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