American Horror Story receives two heads up

Watching television is something that I, as a rule, try to avoid. There was always something about sitting with my eyes glued to a colorful screen that I found too entertaining. For whatever troubling reason, my favorite shows always revolved around murder, ghosts and an assortment of other various frightful and concerning things.
When I realized that I was skipping homework and exercise to feed my unhealthy obsession of dark matters, I essentially cut such TV consumption from my life. But then, like any good “Horror Story,” disaster struck.
As the Halloween decorations went up annually, I found it increasingly difficult to stay away from such classic delicacies as “The Exorcist” or “It” but I managed. On an early October day some three years ago, I happened to be walking through the living room where my mother was seated as she crafted several oddities for Halloween, one of which is a baby doll she refers to as “Sister;” when a commercial came on the screen. That is where it began.
The commercial promised a show edgy and terrifying unlike any other and it in turn provided. In fact, the commercial did not do the multi-season series enough justice. “American Horror Story,” it was and is still called. The commercial was all too enticing and I could not hold out, I had to break down and watch it. So that chilly Wednesday night, I sat down with my mother and began to watch the first season.
From the opening credits, you know you are about to watch something terrifying. The worst part? The music. Throughout the opening credits they play some bloodcurdling synthesizer sound while bombarding your eyes with tiny and disturbing vignette scenes. I was hooked from then on.
The first season begins like any other good ghost story, in a haunted house. The first season is not much a “bump-in-the-night” kind of story, it is more something that makes you sit and think for a good while after watching.
Rightfully so, the house has a rather bad reputation. The inhabitants of said house seem to die horribly and then haunt the house, then murder the next family and rinse, wash and repeat. This is the plot and this is the first season.
Of course, there are main characters that you become emotionally attached to (some of whom you feel you should hate, but really like them) who eventually die. And of course there is a monster or two as well and a ghost character and other classic horror archetypes. But that is not the magic in this first season.
The magic is in the mosaic of side storylines that seem rather pointless at first but as the series progresses, you realize the importance and conglomeration of the “unimportant” details and characters. But even more impressive than that is the unexpected. Throughout the entire season you never really know what to believe until the climactic ending where it all, in some sickening way, makes sense while also being almost poetic. Well, until a young child murders his caretaker and the last episode truly ends.
I noticed that the first season of “American Horror Story” is scary but mostly in the way that it is mentally upsetting. There is not too much jumping after you but it’s after you finish watching that you realize the near-traumatic TV show you just watched. And I love every moment of it.
After the first season concluded I liked the series Facebook page, where I happed across a golden post. American Horror Story was to be continued, this time coming out of the Murder House and moving into a somewhat run-down and horrifying Asylum, because what is more creepy than that? This is the thing I enjoy most about the series.
Season one and season two do not follow the same storyline at all. You could watch and enjoy season two without even knowing about the previous season. But even better is that while they do not reuse characters each year, they do reuse actors. So every year it is exciting to find out what actors or actresses are returning and what they will be playing.
While season one was more psychologically fear-provoking, season two is jump-out-of-your-socks-and-cry scary. This is the season where you hide behind a pillow and hope you do not dream about the monsters or amazingly terrifying events within the “Asylum.” This was probably my favorite season so far because of its ability to strike such fear, while also being enthralling with its many storylines.
And then there is season three, which is probably my least favorite. American “Horror Story: Coven” takes you inside the interworking and politics of a group of witches in New Orleans. This season is filled with a lot more humor, drama and suspense than the last seasons. Of course still having many moving and intriguing plots to try and follow along.
The group, or coven, of witches battle enemies from the rival group of “voodoos,” another form of magic in the series, as well a group of witch hunters and even descent from within the coven. Most fun of all is seeing your favorite actors from Murder House and the Asylum return. While still providing a few scares, this season will be much easier to watch for the faint of heart.
This October marked another start to the horror story. This year, it is a Freak Show. Simply put, it is fun. Seeing your favorite characters return is enjoyable but seeing them return as bearded ladies and Siamese twins and other strange character profiles makes it even more exciting. After watching the first few episodes, I think that this season will bring back some of the fright and sadness of the Asylum while still remaining dramatic and bearable. Except one thing, Twisty the unimaginably horrifying and murderous clown who gives even horror enthusiasts like me bad dreams.
While the fear is exciting and fun and the drama of it all is glamorous, underneath the show is something more. Each season of the show has undertone speaking towards society. For example “American Horror Story: Freak Show.” Yes it is scary but the “Come one, come all” attitude is really examined. The idea that while we may all be different or in this case freaks, we are still family is strongly spoken to. They embrace this with the hashtag and saying, “Wir sind alle freaks,” meaning, “we are all freaks” in German. “Freak Show” leaves the underlying impression that we can acknowledge strengths and differences in others and work together for a common goal, while Coven has strong feminist tones.
Whether you want to watch American for a fright, the multitude of interesting and intertwining plots or the underlying social concepts, I must warn you. This show is truly, not for the faint of hearts. There are many gruesome death scenes, explicit nudity and upsetting happenings. They do not miss the opportunity to conjure up every sadistic death and explicit scene legal on TV.
This is not a show to watch alone, nor is it something to watch with your grandmother.
But, if you are like me and enjoy the Halloween spirit, a good fright and emotional scarring, I would strongly recommend “American Horror Story.” Even if it means climbing out of your TV-isolated cave.
More so than all of that, I would urge you to look past the explicit death and sex and see into the dark poetry within the horror story.