October 10, 2012

Filthy Review - 'American Horror Story: The Complete First Season'

American Horror Story: The Complete First Season (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

The last couple of years have been good to genre fans on TV; even outside of the premium channels. The Walking Dead hit AMC in 2010, and has proved to be a great show (if you can get AMC that is), and then last year FX debuted American Horror Story. Having followed the show during its initial run I can honestly say that of the two shows I enjoy American Horror Story more. Now, you can catch up on the entire first season of twelve episodes on this 3 disc release.

American Horror Story lulls you in, with its initial focus on the Harmon family, Ben, Vivien and their daughter Violet, who have moved from Boston to LA. Ben aims to continue his psychiatric practice from their new house; a house that many strange and violent events have occurred in. They are welcomed to the neighborhood, so to speak, by the eccentric Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange). She is quite blatantly operating in a different realm of existence than the rest of us, as she raises her daughter.

Within the confines of the Harmon’s new house all manner of strange events happen; a strange character in a latex body suit, a burned and suited man, a teenage boy hunted by the dead and a housemaid that has more to her than meets the eye.

Where American Horror Story really succeeds is in making you think that the show is about the new family in its residence, whereas in actual fact the show is very much about the house. Yes, the Harmon’s are used as a focal point, and their history is explored, especially when it comes back to haunt them, but the house is the main character. The story jumps back and forth in time, slowly revealing events that have transpired within it walls, as the full story slowly becomes clear.

This show is quite riveting; it keeps you guessing throughout and doesn’t hold back with its heavy mix of sex and violence. It’s a riff on the haunted house theme, but with a whole new story that is a deviant as it is engrossing. With this Blu-ray release you also get the added bonus of being able to follow the story without the distraction of endless commercials, which is always nice.

Add into this mix the fact that American Horror Story looks terrific in HD and you have yourself a real winner. If you haven’t caught the first season yet I would heartily recommend you do so as soon as you can, as you’ll then be ready to dive into Season 2, which starts in the middle of October 2012.

There are a few special features contained on this release as well. There’s an audio commentary for the pilot episode, The Murder House presented by Eternal Darkness Tours of Hollywood, which is a fun take on the Hollywood celebrity tours. Also on this set is a feature on the creating of the cool title sequence, Out of the Shadows (where we get to meet the ghosts) and ‘Making of’ feature, which although it isn’t too long, it is quite informative with many of the cast and crew involved. It makes for a decent viewing and adds a little more flesh to this twisted beast.

American Horror Story Season One is terrific, and creepy, introduction to a world that I hope we get to visit a lot more in the future. The cast are all wonderful, especially the unhinged performance by Jessica Lange, and feature a wide array of interesting characters. The production values are great and the score accompanies the visuals perfectly.

There is a lot of good TV shows floating around at the moment, and American Horror Story is definitely right up there with the best of them. So, even if you caught the show on its initial run, it’s well worth your time picking up the Season One set.

American Horror Story: The Complete First Season is available now on Blu-ray and DVD from 20th Century Fox.

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