American Horror Story: Review: Season 1 Ep 2

FX, 12 October

As the site of several notorious killings, the Harmons’ new home attracts the crazies, including a trio of Manson-style murder groupies who find themselves out of their depth…

From the lengthy pre-titles 1968 flashback to the pleasantly predictable final line (“We’re selling this house”), the second episode of American Horror Story fires on all cylinders, fulfilling the promise of the first instalment and deepening the potential of the series. Oh, and it’s still as screamingly funny as the first episode, in a weird, off-kilter kind of way.

The home invasion part of Home Invasion is straight-forward enough, until the spirits of the house turns on the invaders. Also dully standard is Ben’s (Dylan McDermott) supporting his student girlfriend through her abortion. So far, so soap opera.

It’s the characters and their weird behaviour (which hopefully will have something approaching an explanation at some point) that makes this great viewing. Jessica Lange—in her first TV show—is simply excellent as the Machiavellian and manipulative Constance, from abusing her daughter to enjoying her toyboy lover and offering her neighbour tainted cup cakes. Six Feet Under’s Frances Conroy’s maid Moira has had little to do so far, but she does it so well it has to be hoped that her character is undergoing something of a slow build rather than being a spare part. Denis O’Hare is off-the-scale nutso as the burned former resident who murdered his whole family and pops up on the streets to harass Ben.

There’s something nasty in the basement, and Tate, Constance and Moira (pictured above) all seem to know about it or are somehow connected as shown towards the end of the episode. Are the killings in the past the result of something haunting the house, or is the present house haunted by the past victims (the twins from last episode, the nurses from this—or are they all avatars of an older evil)? Whichever way this goes, American Horror Story is great entertainment so far especially in the month of Hallowe’en.

Verdict: The weirdness and mystique is slowly growing…

Episode 2 ‘Home Invasion’: 7/10

Brian J. Robb

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