American Horror Story: Murder House Season 1 Review

channel: FX

creators: Brad Falchuk & Ryan Murphy

starring: Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, Taissa Farmiga, Evan Peters, Jessica Lange, Lily Rabe, Zachary Quinto and Dennis O'Hare 

genre: Horror

number of episodes: 12

first aired: October 5, 2011

Ever since TV came to the scene the potential of it hasn't always been reached. Lately were getting to the point of constant levels of total quality in TV show production and entertainment. Even with that TV wasn't ready to deliver a Horror oriented show of mayhem, perversity, depression and controversial imagery. Thankfully the growth of private networks and the great fortitude and tenacity of the show's creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. Proved that Horror can have a place in the living room. It can be glorious, malicious, disgusting and audiences will eat it up.


In California one house has the worst name of all the infamous "Murder House". A house that it's name can only lead natural assumptions of what has happened in its history. Still with that history the house has been sold often to unlucky and uninformed buyers. The latest being the Harmon family of Dr. Ben Harmon a psychologist, Ms. Vivien Harmon and their daughter Violet.

Together they are moving from the East Coast to start anew their lives in the "Murder House". However as time goes on, peculiar things occur with neighbors, Dr. Harmon's patients and house keepers starting to acting suspicious near them. Making the Harmon's soon realize that their new beginning could lead to their end.


Attempting to make a horror TV show that ultimately revolutionizes the industry is a triumph worth admiration. Not only for succeeding, but also being very much intelligent in almost all its choices. From the channel that picked it up, the setting chosen and most importantly leaving the show to be a season long anthology show. Where each season would be a new story & characters. Leaving the show free from restraints of killing off characters, uncertain of possibilities of end date and exploring much more the crazy, perverse and incredibly fascinating ideas that can be utilized and explored in one season. 

Some of the best things that can be said about this show is that its sadistic and doesn't hold back. It really is a balls to the wall horror show. It may not go to the silly lengths of blood and gore an "Evil Dead" film would go, but it isn't ever light on violence or disturbing imagery. Additionally its tactic of scares, blood and more are perfectly timed and spaced out. Even with the fact that every episode feels like a jam packed emotional horror roller-coaster. 

This sense of never feeling bored or without something new to learn in the mystery of the plot and fate of the characters. Is a testament to the creators vision of employing many characters to support the main cast. Making them all vital to the story, either through guest star positions or just with little sub-plots that give more back-story to the "Murder House" theme and also complementing the already great main plot. 

To those who go even further into the men who are behind the creation of this show. Will be surprised that the two men who were also apart of the creation of shows such as "Glee" and "Nip/Tuck" and the terrible "Eat Pray and Love" are also are behind this TV masterpiece. Its the incredible talent and fortitude of these men that made this show a possibility and so enormously addicting.

Furthermore the show also is on a technical level to be put in high regard. With great direction and employment of various directing techniques of zooms, slanted angles and the bringing out of perfectly emotionally deep and frightening performances at times from the cast. Who as well couldn't have been better picked for this show.

Another tid bit of note. Is how this show has some of the best editing I've seen on TV. It hits the right balance of paying attention to the action and cutting fast enough to create tension and momentum. This can be also said about the violence that is very well mixed throughout the season. Showing a lot at times, then otherwise leaving it to the imagination of the viewer and having some of the most sudden and surprising strikes, blows and deaths on characters. That should really make some of the movie horror directors out there rethink of their methods, plot directions and choices of aesthetics.


From the start the series is a great mystery with many twists, turns and violent acts. It ends in a way (which I wont spoil) that made complete sense to me in the overall inner workings of the supernatural world that was in play and also was very refreshing compared to most horror endings. Moreover horror isn't only about the scares and the blood. Its also about the characters, the emotional connection you project for them and the anticipation you have for the next episode. Which this show has it all and more. Not seeing this show would be a travesty. As this is the only real horror show out there with craftsmanship and balls. "American Horror Story" is a true work of art.

Personal Rating: 

review by P K

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