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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?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
  • 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (71 Votes)

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

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Yeah honestly I have to agree with the already commented. This was the weakest episode of the season so far. And it didn't really tell us anything we didn't already know, only about 5 minutes of the episode was releveant(Crispy Larry-being in love with Constance and his family committing suicide-of course perhaps, Constance killed them, but then where have their ghosts been?). The Infantata's orgins have been heavily hinted at since atleast episode 3, confirmed last week, this week's tangent back into the story was a bit like Tate's dispatch of the Breakfast club last week(unnecessary as we already know and have seen their fates). Still I'd say kudos for the amount of suspense they can drum up already knowing we know.
And Mon Dieu, Sacre le bleu! Zut Alors! How amazing is Moira's 'talent?' I think every male viewer is going to be haunted by that thought.
But I did pick up the Frances Conroy mannerisms of young Moira, and she did it great, immitation without impersonation(very hard line to walk).
I had been wondering how Nora got that hole in her dome, I thought the good Dr was going to blast her over the crib.
There have been some discrepencies with gunshot wounds in this series, most apparent to me was the quarterback who had the wound appearance of a 9mm to the forehead but was clearly shot in the face with a shotgun(he should be ichabad craneing it). So I think Nora's head is great overall shape for a gunshot to the throat.
The Tate and Violet thing needs to have a break(ie she must snap out of it and find an emo hipster who is looking for salvation in college from high school not morbid facsinations. she must begin to change herself and complain about failings of society and governments and the greatness of the cure, talking heads, and vampire weekend. and she must say, 'tate you're dead you're a mass murderer. im alive, im smart, im going to college and im ready to loose my virginity'). Or this will become Twilight. And if this becomes Twilight and the Harmons are all dead all along(something I still think is impossible given that ONCE AGAIN, the mythology of the show confirmed only those who die in the house are ghosts in it, and those ghosts cannot leave the premises)then this series will have gone through all this good writing to hang everything on a very lazy conclusion. Which I'm hoping not is the case because I've been missing a new season of I (Almost) Got Away With It, to watch this.
And No I don't have a damn DVR!

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Sorry to the show's fans, but this series is really bad - despite an excellent cast. It's bad to the point that it's funny. It looks like the director just throws in every glossy trick he can think of - without any care of how it ties to a real story. It's lacking in substance and story-telling.

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Actually the music portion that plays when Ms. Montgomery goes to see her "newborn" is from the soundtrack of Bram Stoker´s Dracula (1992) by Francis Ford Coppola. I liked this episode but not so much like the other ones. The sex scenes and Moira´s seduction I liked but I think they where unnecessary. This is an horror TV show not Basic Instinct, c´mon. Besides that I want to see next week with the title episode "Rubber man", who´s behind that devil suit......