Tuesday, October 13, 2015

You Know What “Horror” Means, Don’t You?

Well, I watched the first season of American Horror Story. Not my idea, I assure you. I honestly would not have finished it except I don’t like to criticize something I haven’t completely watched. But now I have and I never, ever have to watch it again.

Okay, recap: the first season is about a family moving across country after the wife’s miscarriage and husband’s affair. They move into a house that’s way underpriced because the previous owners died in a murder suicide. Obviously the place is filled with violent ghosts and…I guess that’s supposed to be scary? I don’t know. I never found it to be. Granted, these ghosts can actually hurt people and then disappear so they’re actually a threat. But honestly, I thought the show spent too much time confusing gore and shock value (and rape; lets not forget rape) with horror. Probably the only thing they did right was the accurate portrayal of an abusive parental relationship. I guess that was certainly horrifying.

The characters are, for the most part, as dull as dirt, with no characteristics besides “Wife and mother” or “rebellious teenage daughter”, to the point where after watching thirteen episodes I can’t even remember their names. It doesn’t help matters that the overall story is completely incoherent. Things are thrown at you with no explanation and you’re expected to remember them if they’re finally brought up again—which is definitely an if as there are several things that are just there to be weird (or gratuitously sexy) and then…that’s it. There’s no reason for it. Take the sleepwalking that seems to afflict the men of the house. It’s mentioned two or three times, but there’s no explanation as to why it happens, why it only affects some men, and why it happens once or twice and then never again. And even if something is explained, it might seem really half-assed, like the writers couldn’t think of something good so they just went with the first idea that popped into someone’s head. Case in point, the reason they cobbled together as to why the house is haunted. Really, sometimes there’s nothing wrong with there not being an explanation. In fact, the not-knowing can be part of the horror. But they came up with this nonsense and it’s not scary or satisfying and that’s basically the entire series in a nutshell.

If you enjoy it…well, go ahead. I didn’t. Except for Jessica Lange, who is both the best actor of the bunch and the only well defined character. Seriously, I would watch an entire show of just her and I can see why they’ve brought her back for every subsequent season.

Bonus Review: Fear the Walking Dead

Yeah, I watched this one, too. The Walking Dead is a show I could generally take or leave. I enjoy it when I watch it and the good points outweigh the bad ones (unlike the above). This sequel series however...not so much. It fails at literally everything the primary show succeeds at.

It is so, so boring. Like, ridiculously so. Six episodes in and I was still waiting for something to happen, and when it finally did, I found it underwhelming to say the least. I didn’t care about any of the characters except for Daniel, the Latino barber who was trying to keep his wife and daughter safe. They really should have made them the focus of the show. It might have been watchable.


  1. I made it to the second season, but it just got too sexually creepy. And too many aspects of the show I just wasn't enjoying.
    As for Fear the Walking Dead, yeah, it's slow. I've only watched a couple episodes.

  2. The first episode of Walking Dead was too dumb for me to want to go on.

    I haven't seen AMS but, maybe, the generic-ness of the characters is purposeful. Like a "this could be anyone this is happening to" kind of thing.
    Maybe I'm being too generous.

  3. Apparently the American Horror Story seasons are all tied together somehow. That's about all I know about the show. I avoid shows that purport to be scary. Unless there's another compelling reason to watch them.

  4. I haven't watched either of the two franchises, admittedly.

  5. I've watched all the seasons of American Horror Story. The first season is one of my least favorites, and COVEN is the one I've liked the best. The new one -- HOTEL -- is not grabbing me at all. It's repeating themes from the first season.

    I do watch -- and love -- The Walking Dead. (Except when a favorite character dies.) But the companion series, Fear the Walking Dead ... what a snore. I gave up after just a few episodes.

  6. I haven't seen either of these, so thanks for making me know I'm not missing anything!

  7. I'm not a fan or horror shows to begin with. I watched The Walking Dead for a few seasons but then I lost interest. Didn't try the spinoff. I tried watching American Horror-Hotel must because I like Matt Bomer but it was really confusing. I might give it one more try.


Please validate me.