American Horror Story: Review: Season 1 Eps 4 & 5

FX, 26 October & 2 November

It’s Halloween with the Harmons: the night when ghosts can walk abroad—so, business as usual, then?

The bonkers, brilliant American Horror Story makes the most of this two-parter, ideally broadcast either side of Halloween. Given the ease with which various spooks seem able to hang around the Harmons’ haunted house, the only benefit Halloween’s licence to roam brings them is the chance to wander slightly further afield (the beach for Tate, the gay bars for Patrick).

The first instalment of this demonic double bill introduces us to the previous owners of the house, gay couple Chad (Star Trek’s Zachary Quinto) and Patrick (Teddy Sears), who are innocently hired by the Harmons as ‘fluffers’ (that’s interior decorators in this context: clean out your filthy minds). Their relationship mirrors that of the Harmons—both Vivien and Chad have been betrayed by their partners. Meanwhile, mad Larry attempts to blackmail Ben after he killed Hayden for him.

The real meat of this episode, however, is the tragic fate of Addie. It’s shame that a role that offered a prominent depiction of Down’s Syndrome in mainstream entertainment has been removed so early in the show’s run. The scenes between Jessica Lange and Jamie Brewer are electrifying. Addie’s death outside the influence of the house does go someway to clarifying the evolving ‘rules’ about what’s going on in the ‘death house’. The house also seems very interested in Vivien’s baby…

The second episode reveals more about Tate: not only is he Constance’s son, but he also seems to have been responsible for a high school massacre (but he’s forgotten all about it—what can that mean?). He and Violet are haunted by his victims (including Battlestar Galactica’s wild child Alessandra Torresani), while Vivien is tormented by Hayden, keen to spill the beans on her affair with Vivien’s husband, Ben. Compared to part one, this episode treads water slightly, but American Horror Story’s nutso characters and insane storytelling make up for any longueurs.

Verdict: Excellent Halloween entertainment, American Horror Story continues to deliver.

Episode 4 ‘Halloween, Part One’: 8/10

Episode 5: ‘Halloween, Part Two’: 7/10

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