I finally caught up with “American Horror Story” season one via Netflix. I heard a lot of good things about it, and the ads made it look like it was a new kind of horror story, something innovative and original. As a horror buff, I keep hoping that movies and TV will break out of the old and hackneyed ideas that are endlessly repeated.
Unfortunately, AHS starts with the oldest and most hackneyed idea of all. A family buys an old mansion for a lot less than market value because a murder occurred there. Do they do any research about what actually happened? No, they blindly get themselves into a mortgage without even looking the house up on the internet or going to the library and looking at old newspaper stories. They buy a house that is so notorious that it is a stop on a bus tour of murder sites in L.A. and everyone calls it the “Murder House.” The place probably has a Wickipedia entry. How hard would it be to find out that the murder the realtor told them about is just one of many?
Then there is a whole lot of drama going on about the father, a psychiatrist and college professor, having an affair with a student back in Boston. There are almost as many professor-having-an-affair-with-a-student stories in the world as there are buying-a-haunted-house-cheap stories. So that’s two clichés at the heart of this series.
I have seen four episodes and I find I just don’t care about anyone. There are some good performances, but the characters seem pretty stupid. The good Dr’s major patient is a young man who never leaves the house. Where did he come from? Who is paying his fees?
There are some strange things going on in the house, but I haven’t had a single goosebumps moment. That’s when something happens that gives me a chill, that is unexplainable. Horror addicts like me live for that stuff. A strange figure in a black vinyl suit is a little intriguing, but not enough to keep me watching.
This show is popular, and a second season is now running with a different story. Maybe I will try the second season someday to see if it’s any better than the first.