Tele-Tuesday: Creeping Through the Murder House

Yesterday was Halloween, so in keeping with the previous week’s Tele-Tuesday theme and the spooktacular holiday, we are taking a walk through FX’s new thriller – American Horror Story.

FX does it again with fantastic original programming.  Joining the likes of Nip/Tuck, Damages, and Justified, American Horror Story keeps with the creepy and dark story lines and doesn’t disappoint!

Following a miscarriage and an affair, Vivien and Ben Harmon leave Boston with their daughter looking for a fresh start.  The family buys a gorgeous house, despite learning that the previous owners both died in the basement in an apparent murder-suicide. 

The house is perfect for the Harmons; large enough for Ben (Dylan McDermott, The Practice) to open his private psychiatry practice, and outdated just enough to keep Vivien (Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights) busy redecorating.  At first daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga) doesn’t understand why the family has to move across the country, but she soon adjusts after she meets her father’s new patient and fellow “cutter” Tate (Evan Peters).    

The family’s new neighbors stop by to introduce themselves: Constance (Academy Award winner, Jessica Lange) and her daughter Adelaide. Constance warns Vivien that Addy has always been attracted to their new home and tends to walk in as she pleases, but fails to disclose that she too has a long history with the house.   

Next, Vivien meets Moira, the house’s former housekeeper.  After briefly visiting with Moira, Vivien decides to hire her to help tend to the house.  But here’s the creepy part – Vivien sees Moira as an older woman (played by Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under), but her adulterous husband sees Moira as a young and sexy maid (played by Alexandra Breckenridge, Dirt).   

Regardless of which version of Moira is on screen, Constance can’t stand her.  Years earlier, young Moira was sleeping with another former owner of the house (played by Eric Close from Without a Trace), a man who Constance loves.  After walking in on Moira and her lover having sex, Constance shoots and kills them both.  Constance doesn’t bother to notice that her boyfriend was forcing himself onto the beautiful housekeeper; instead, she just shoots point-blank into Moira’s eye before taking dead aim at his chest.    

Following a home invasion of crazy people reenacting a previous murder that allegedly took place in her house in the 1960s, Vivien decides to hop on board a tour bus that stops outside her new home to learn a bit of history about the house — The Murder House.

The house was built in the early 1900s by a Dr. Charles Montgomery for his wife, Nora.  Suffering from a down economy, the doctor performs abortions inside the house for extra money.  It’s not long before an angry family member of one of Charles’ patients kidnaps and murders his son.   The events destroy the family, particularly Nora, but when the doctor begins to sew his son back together like a Frankenstein monster, his wife loses it. 

In the 1960s, a group of sorority girls live in the house.  Maria, a devout Christian, answers the door to find a bleeding man on the front porch.  She brings him inside and calls upstairs for the house nurse to help — but it’s a set up.  The man and his friends drown the nurse, and hog tie and brutally murder Maria. 

Vivien has heard enough.  Noticing blood, she jumps off the tour bus and rushes to the doctor afraid she’s suffering another miscarriage.  Her baby is fine, but despite her doctor’s warning to not attempt a move during pregnancy, Vivien insists they sell the house.   

In addition to the legends that Vivien has already heard, the house has an even longer history of death making it difficult for the realtor (Christine Estabrook, Desperate Housewives) to show the house.    

In the 1970s, the house was vacant and set of red-headed twin tweens enjoy vandalizing the property.  Young Adelaide warns the two to not go inside, but they ignore her and continue to break lights and wreak havoc on the house.  After entering the basement, the two boys are murdered. 

Another previous owner, Larry Harvey (Denis O’Hare, True Blood), set the house on fire while his wife and daughters slept.  He too burned, but was spared before perishing himself.  After serving years of his life sentence in prison, he was diagnosed with an advanced stage of brain cancer and was released to live out the remainder of his days a free man. 

Larry begins to stalk Ben and warns him that he must get his family out of that house…

On Halloween 2010, gay lovers Chad (Zachary Quinto, Heroes) and Patrick (Teddy Sears, Raising the Bar) die while preparing to celebrate the festive holiday.  Following a fight, Patrick storms off and a mysterious man dressed in rubber drowns Chad in his apple-bobbing station. 

Attempting to mend fences with his lover, Patrick rushes home wearing his Halloween costume and discovers his partner’s body before suffering his own untimely death at the hands of The Gimp.  As we can see, the previous owners did not die in a murder-suicide, as the realtor tells it, but rather a double homicide.     

Past events continue to unfold, but remember one of the reasons why the family moved away from Boston?  Ben had an affair with his student (Hayden played by Kate Mara from We Are Marshall). 

Hayden announces she is pregnant and shows up at the Harmon house hoping to convince Ben to take care of her or warns she will ruin his marriage.  Crazy Larry takes a shovel to Hayden’s head and Ben covers up the murder by burying her in a grave in the backyard.  As Larry sees it, Ben now owes him; and the house has a new ghost lingering around.

Speaking of the grave, there were other bodies down there: Moira for one.  Constance explains this is why the slain housekeeper is forever tied to the house, especially after Ben builds a gazebo to cover up Hayden’s body.  But are there other bodies down there too? 

All this after just four episodes…    

What do you think?  Have you watched American Horror Story?  Who is The Gimp?  What happened to Tate?  What happened to Constance’s other children, and is she a ghost?  Speaking of Constance, isn’t Jessica Lange magnificent?   What happened to Mrs. Montgomery?  Will Addy be tied to the house along with the other ghosts?  Will the Harmons escape The Murder House?  Who is the father of Vivien’s baby, her husband or the man in the rubber suit?  There are so many questions…I’d love to hear what you think!

23 Replies to “Tele-Tuesday: Creeping Through the Murder House”

  1. This show is so messed up! But I can’t stop watching it. I missed all my shows while on vacation, so it better be on the DVR!

    I can’t answer any of those questions. I can’t figure out who are the ghosts and who are the live people. I can’t wait to find out, though. 🙂

    1. “This show is so messed up!” I couldn’t have said it any better, Lauralynn. 🙂 Some of Jessica Lange’s lines wouldn’t even be allowed on regular network TV, yet I find myself laughing hysterically at her character. That is one reason why I enjoy FX’s programming so much. They push the envelope….

      If you missed the Halloween part 1 episode while you were out of town, and it’s not on the DVR, we have FX on u-Verse OnDemand and we’ve rewatched some episodes there. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. This show has really grown on me, as you know. Every week answers questions and raises more. I still think the crazy burned guy is following Ben and Ben is having a psychotic break. I’m anxious for tomorrow’s episode and SO glad FX/Direct TV worked out their issues.

    I think this show will have a great first season, but I just wonder how they can make a yearly series around a ghost story. Eventually stuff has to get resolved. Looking forward to finding out.

    BTW, are you dedicating next Tuesday to the premiere of Bones? Two days!

    1. Stacy, I have to start out by saying how excited I am about the return of Bones. I have missed my favorite duo. The commercials and ads look hilarious!

      I’m also happy to hear that FX and Direct TV worked out their issues. I was seeing those commercials thinking, “wow, I’m glad we don’t have Direct TV.” That would infuriate me!

      The biggest question that I want answered by AHS – who in the world is in the leather suit??!!?? I’m not sure how the show can last season after season, but every single time I thought Nip/Tuck was going to end, they pulled me back in for another year. I can’t wait for tonight’s episode!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Oh my goodness! I’m not a horror fan typically. This looks like horror meets soap opera – so much to it! FX may indeed have a hit here if they can keep pulling on all of these threads. Great coverage as always, Tiffany.

  4. I think I’m the only guy who doesn’t like this show. Part of it has to do with how unlikeable I find the main cast. I really wouldn’t care if the house swallowed them whole.

    And the story is weird, but not in a way I can get in to. It doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. I’m sure it is because Ryan Murphy is a talented writer, but I’m not willing to wait any longer. Maybe if I liked the family more. I’ll stick with The Walking Dead.

    1. Andrew, I don’t like the characters, either. But I don’t think you’re supposed to like them. As I said on my blog…it’s like a train wreck…you don’t want to look but you just can’t help yourself. LOL.

      My husband and son like The Walking Dead, but I went through the living room one day while hubby was watching it and there was something gross on the screen. So I don’t know about that show…. 🙂

      1. I guess having no reason to root for them is what’s turning me off. But, you know, different strokes. I’m happy that there’s two horror shows doing well on TV because it will lead to more.

      2. To be honest, I don’t really like the Harmon family all that much either! I will admit though, Dylan McD plays a great tortured character. This role is very different from dramas in his past.

        I watch because I love the creepy. I love Jessica Lang’s character. I love the constant mystery surrounding the house and the previous owners, and trying to figure out who is a ghost and who is real.

        Technically, I think we may have all just answered how the show can go on season after season. The Harmon family must die, and new owners move in. Wouldn’t that be something daring for television? To kill off the stars…I guess, technically in this situation, the stars wouldn’t lose their jobs – they’d be ghosts!

        Thanks for stopping by, Andrew. As always – you’re the greatest. Burn Notice tomorrow night.

  5. I am really enjoying American Horror Story, which surprised me, since it’s not a genre I’m typically drawn to. As with the above commenters, I can’t truly care about the main characters–yet, the plot twists and writing keep me watching. I’m starting to like Dylan McDermott’s character more now that he’s getting in deeper and deeper. There’s something compelling about watching a character squirm! I really liked the twist with the housekeeper–where Vivien sees her as old, but Ben has to fight off this lush woman’s advances.

    I missed one episode (the 2010 murder/suicide) but I’m having fun piecing everything together. And yeah, who is the gimp and is he the father of the baby?? I need to know! (But seriously, would you, after being sexually estranged from your hubby for a year and having weirdos pop in and out of your house at will, make love to a man in a rubber suit?? Not me!!)

    1. Hi, Jill! I’m with you – who sleeps with a man wearing a rubber suit? A rubber suit that you asked your husband to throw out? A rubber suit that covers the man’s face? Vivien went from not having sex with her husband in months, to twice in a matter of hours? Nooooooo. But, it does make for interesting plot twists.

      I think the maid storyline is my second favorite behind Constance and Addy. I can’t get enough of those two. I do hope that Constance’s dragging Addy to the Murder House lawn ties her to the property forever.

      Thanks for stopping by!!

  6. I saw the first episode. Nothing about the show or the characters appealed to me. I thought it might have a decent ghost story but it seemed more about how much shocking stuff they could throw out there rather than character and story development. I was a little disappointed then remembered it was FX.


    That was the end of that.

    1. I’m sorry you didn’t like it, Angela. FX’s programming isn’t for everyone. I do think that the show has developed more of a ghost story since episode one. One of my favorite things to do is try and figure out who’s a ghost and who isn’t. Thanks for stopping by!

      1. It’s ok Tiffany. To be honest I was looking for a reason not to like it. I like to keep my tv viewing down to a minimum. Right now I feel I have plenty to keep me busy with movies, The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries and a couple of news shows.

      2. We just watched every single episode of The Walking Dead last weekend. We liked it. Do I like it as much as The Vampire Diaries? No……but it’s kinda refreshing to see zombies on television. Well, that seems like an odd thing to say – doesn’t it? LOL

  7. This is my new favorite show. Seriously. They’ve taken my heart away from Damon. I am so curious to find out more about the house. I also wonder how the series can keep going. It is getting so intense that I can’t imagine it continuing for long.

    Here’s what I wonder. What happened to Tate? How is he connected to the house. We think he’s a ghost, but he might not be. We thought Constance and Adelaide were ghosts, too. Also, I am worried about Vivien’s dog. Remember: she bit Adelaide and Adelaide told her, “You’ll regret that.”

    Anyway, this show grosses me out and actually scares me at times. Even better, it keeps my curiosity piqued. I love it when that happens. 😉

    1. Okay, Catie – I do love AHS, but no one could take my heart away from Damon. Are you serious? 🙂

      What did happen to Tate? I’m pretty sure he’s a ghost; how else could he transform into ugly, scary, skeleton face like he does?

      I thought Constance and Addy were ghosts too. I guess not. Well, not Constance anyway. Addy may be now.

      Speaking of Vivien’s dog, where is it? Have we seen it since the pilot episode?

      After reading everyone’s comments, I think we’ve figured out how the show can go on. Kill the Harmons and bring in a new family. Dylon Mc D and Connie don’t have to lose their jobs, they’ll just be ghosts….

      Thanks for stopping by!

  8. The cast of characters is fascinating. I wish they’d let the story develop a little more slowly. I wanted time to get to know the family a little before throwing them into the house. I keep thinking, did I miss the Save the Cat scene? LOL. The creepy factor is definitely there. All the ghosts and goings on.

    But, yeah, I agree with Andrew, I find the family very difficult to like. I don’t think it works very well to have characters that we can’t root for in some fashion. I feel a little more empathy for the ghosts…though maybe that’s the point.

    Still, I’m totally sticking it out.

    1. The more I discuss AHS with other watchers, the more I feel that the only way the show can truly move on is by having the Harmons fall victim to the Murder House and a new family move in….this cycle could keep going for quite some time if the current house owners die and haunt the new families. It would also help with the fast-paced storyline and it wouldn’t matter if we like the main characters or not. Of course the budget for hiring new actors might be a bit much for what the network had in mind…

      Thanks for stopping by, Sonia!

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