American Horror Story Review: Murder House

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You might think this week's American Horror Story was merely a continuation of the journey we've been on with the Harmons all season, as they live in, and fall prey to, their new life in a Los Angeles haunted home.

But "Open House" shattered what remained of our ignorance of the resident via glorious illumination of the birth of the mansion and some of its inhabitants. The more we learn about the Harmons, and particularly of Ben's nefarious nature, the more we come to realize this is exactly where they are meant to be.

Thadeus Montgomery Crib

I never imagined Dylan McDermott's "O" face would be so unattractive. As it was happening, I chalked it up to Vivien's dream that Ben was so seen in such a poor light. The sex fantasy portion of the series hasn't been my cup of tea, and we got a glimpse of her impregnator again, the rubber man. Ben's visit to Larry not only revealed more of his true nature, but we learned Constance is at the root of Larry's horrific burns.

Far more explicit than Vivien's dream was the young Moira, as she showed around a prospective buyer. Alexandra Breckenridge, who plays youthful Moira, emulated Frances Conroy as the older Moira so incredibly well that I wasn't in the least bit shocked to see the latter leaving the bedroom, wiping her mouth. The actresses have their mannerisms down so well that the scene was seamless in its transition from one actress to the other. Outside of the topic, it was visually stunning material to view.

Inside all of this perversion, we have a teenager clinging to life despite the Hell of her everyday existence. It's so sad that Violet's best chance at survival is to remain in a severely haunted house. A shame that her father is a psychiatrist, but the only person who can truly understand her is a troubled ghost who murdered over a dozen of his high school classmates. Tate protects her, licks her wounds and steers her toward understanding of herself and her family. He also lead her to a veritable treasure trove of photos and anecdotal evidence about her home.

Dr. Charles and Nora Montgomery built the house... until their son Thadeus, was kidnapped and dismembered. The music played during that portion of the episode was provided a wicked ambiance resembling some of the most classic of horror films. The Shining instantly sprung to mind. So the house started as an office for an abortion doctor. One who was quite... talented.

Learning the Montgomery's story had me on the edge of my seat. Having recently watched Pet Semetery, I was reminded of others who have tried to resurrect their children, and this tale is also woven with bits of Frankenstein and Re-Animator. Constructing the history of Murder House with some of the best horror of all time is just brilliant. There was also a shout out to The Changeling, a classic haunted house story starring George C Scott. I'd highly recommend checking any of these movies out.

The Harmons still talk about their experiences in the house as if they imagine it happening to someone other than themselves. They can admit their desire to sell and imagine the reactions prospective buyers at hearing of the haunting, but the house seems to have a spell over them, allowing them to continue on living there with only momentary lapses of sanity. Perhaps the last shot, when Violet handed to her mother a photo of Nora Montgomery, will drive home to Vivien the urgency of their situation in the house.

On the other hand, what fun would that be?


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (74 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Sure this episode wasn't a in your face, revelation type episode, but I think that's okay. If too much is revealed all at once it would be hard to keep up with all the different stories of the house. This was a light episode, which after three heavy episodes, was much appreciated. I know I'm supposed to hate him, but when Ben's dark nature shines at Larry's apartment I can't help but think how sexy he is! BUT, perhaps that's just the girl in me! The transition between young and old Moira is just so seamless. The actresses work really well together and it really feels like they are one person - which it should! I'm just waiting till I watch the next episode...Rubber Man. I hope the title of the episode doesn't lead to disappointment!


"The house was in ruins in 1978. Little Addy was in front of the house. Where was constance living at that time? She was in the house in 1983 and moved next door in 1994." That's what I've been wondering myself!


The house was in ruins in 1978. Little Addy was in front of the house. Where was constance living at that time? She was in the house in 1983 and moved next door in 1994. How long after Larry moved in the same year did he discover Beau, fall in love with Constance and murder her son? His wife and daughters were not aware of a chained human in their attic?


I didn't like this episode so much. It didn't give me anything I wanted. I want more on Ben's childhood. I'm thinking he was troubled,went through some shit and he is really psychotic. Maybe all that is going on is in his imagination. Also Constance said she had 4 children right? So who is the fourth? We've only seen Tate Addie and Beau. I can't wait to find out what the hell is going on with the Rubber Man and whats his back story.


I can't think of a better way for our Armenian friend to have met his demise. He told us all we needed to know about him when he said that his only interest in women was for sex, money or to make him sandwhiches. I wonder how they plan to get him off the property before he dies.
Jessica Lang is a joy to watch. She's able to convey a sense of loathing and love, apathy and concern, pride and shame all at the same time and all directed at the same person whenever her character talks about her children, all the while affecting the false propriety of a Southern Belle.


This weeks episode was ok. It didn't stand out like Larry killing that poor kid just because Constance asked him to. Nora killing her husband and herself and trying and failing to kill her baby. The best part was Moira biting off that guys penis lol.


I look forward to this show every week. However, this week was very disappointing. Too much sex and not enough story. I hope next week the writers return to intriguing horror, not just sex to fill up time.


One thing it's Beau. It's short for Beauregard. She's a Virginia Lady, of 1940s or 30s vintage. Her accent is very old aristocratic Virginia, so it's fitting she'd name a son or two after a Confederate General or two. Her other sons are probably named Lee and Stuart or Jackson, lol!


I liked the subtlety and feeling of suspense. It was a nice change from the in your face episodes. I need range. At the very least, it sparks discussion!


Im surprised you didn't mention Constances son Bo. That was pretty interesting. Also, my boyfriend usually dozes throughout the show, but this was one time he stayed awake the whole time thanks to Moira :)

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American Horror Story Season 1 Episode 7 Quotes

There's not going to be a swimming pool, you stupid slut.


Ever since you got here, this is the better place.