American Horror Story – Pilot
A therapist, his wife and teenage daughter move from the east coast to L.A. to make a fresh start after a series of traumatic events.
A few months following a miscarriage while 7 months pregnant, Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton) and her husband Ben (Dylan McDermott) head west to L.A. to start anew after the miscarriage and after Vivien finds Ben having sex with one of his students in their bed – he was apparently a teacher of some sort but I only recall this being mentioned during the couple’s all out fight that brings them back together. Along with them is their daughter Violet (Taissa Framiga). She is messed up from what her family has been through (I assume) and being a kid, she is unable to really distance herself from her parents troubles and mistakes. She is a cutter, slicing open her arms with a razor blade which she is able to hide from her parents who are obviously not involved in her life. Violet is lonely and is being constantly bullied and not making friends with anyone except for Tate, a teen patient of her father’s who has fantasies about going on a shooting spree in his school. Daddy does not approve of the friendship and drives the boy raging out of the house. Joining the cast of messed up characters is the nosy and intrusive neighbor Constance (Jessica Lange) and her downs syndrome daughter Adelaide (Jamie Brewer) who wanders about the Harmon house whenever she wants and proclaims “you’re going to die in there”. Denis O’Hare appears as Larry the Burn Guy, one of the former owners who went into a trance and set the house on fire killing his daughters and wife and setting himself ablaze. He has just been released from prison and is trying to warn Ben about the evil of the house. And then there is the Housekeeper (Frances Conroy) who comes with the house and makes certain she is still in charge of running it for the new owners. She is one of the housekeepers. The other makes her presence known to Ben in particular. Finally the creepy and silent Rubber Man gives the mistress of the house a gift that I guess will be more of a nightmare. When Vivien first explores the attic she comes across a rubber bondage suit hanging from the rafters and tells Ben to dispose of it which he does…or does he? Popping up in the shadows, this silent slithering figure is another part of the house that the Harmon’s are not prepared for or even realize is there.
The house itself is beautiful, old and terrifying. Hidden behind the wood paneling are morbid biblical representations that Vivien uncovers. Every corner of the house seems to be hiding something, especially the basement. Not only have people been killed there but in one scene Violet wants to teach a bully a lesson and with the help of Tate, they lure her to the basement where she is attacked and clawed up by something with razor nails and a mouth full of fangs. Then there is the Rubber Man in the attic, hiding in the shadows and welcoming Mrs. Harmon to the house. All of these people or beings seem to come with the house and it will be interesting to watch the interactions between them and the Harmon’s.
Is it worth watching? Yes. The pilot introduced the characters and set the stage for mystery and horror ahead. It was also kind of messed up which is a portent to what the series will have to offer. It was not great but it was good. I will give it another chance and I am hoping that it will get better as the stories of the players are explored more and the characters develop beyond the first phases of being damaged, betrayed and broken to terrorized and empowered by what they will discover about the house. At least that is what I am hoping. Episode 2 Home Invasion airs Wednesday October 12.