Ain't It Cool News (

Boo!! Hercules Says FX’s AMERICAN HORROR STORY, From The Creators Of The Fox Megahit GLEE, Is Scary Boring!!

I am – Hercules!!

FX’s “American Horror Story” is the latest from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, who created “Glee” together before Murphy went off to write and direct the equally horrible “Eat Pray Love.” I did not expect much from this series, and my expectations were met.

“Horror” follows a couple and their teen daughter after they move into a really cheap, really haunted house in Los Angeles.

Its cast includes Connie Britton (“Friday Night Lights”), Dylan McDermott (“The Practice”), Francis Conroy (“Six Feet Under”), Denis O’Hare (“True Blood”), Taissa Farmiga (kid sister of Vera) and Jessica Lange (“Tootsie”).

While the first episode, directed by Murphy, may be scary stupid, it is not scary. Recently I coincidentally caught the first two “Paranormal Activity” movies on Epix, and they are spine-chilling. My spine literally tingled as it seemed to grow cold, and more than once. “Paranormal” and its sequel gave me the willies. “Horror’s” stabs at fright elicited only the rolling of mine eyes.

The bigger sin is  it’s hard to care about any of "Horror's" very bland, clichéd human characters, to the point where viewers may likely find themselves better liking the unpleasant ghosts. (I have the same complaint about Fox’s “Terra Nova,” if one substitutes ‘saurs for shades.)

I sense the creators quite enjoyed Stanley Kubrick’s (infinitely superior) big-screen version of the Stephen King thriller “The Shining.” The central couple suffers from marital discord. The ghosts of murdered twin children lurk about. There’s one ghost whose appearance switches between young and sexy to old and wrinkly. (Like the old lady in the Overlook Hotel bathtub, she goes into hottie mode to seduce the new man of the house.)

In the plus column, “Horror” could appeal to certain gay elements even more than “Glee” does. The house’s dead (but maybe still hanging about) prior owners were a saucy homosexual couple with a penchant for rubber suits and basement bondage. McDermott parades around naked a lot and even gets a steamy stand-up masturbation scene that could have been designed to show off his Playgirl-friendly physique. But the broad sexual imagery rarely compensates for the frequently terrible dialogue, or the frequently ridiculous behavior.

O’Hare’s character, a burn victim and convicted triple-murderer, is weirdly reminiscent of Chris Elliott’s deformed character from “Scary Movie 2.” (It turns out this convicted triple murderer, who when we meet him seems way too emotionally unstable for anyone’s comfort, was somehow set free upon the world because he came down with brain cancer.) It’s as if the creators, emboldened from the shocking popularity of “Glee,” submitted the “Horror” script to FX on a dare.

I’ve little doubt “Horror” will -- like Murphy’s prior FX series “Nip/Tuck” – enjoy a long run on FX, but make no mistake: the only thing likely to haunt most viewers is the memory of how ineptly this enterprise was slapped together.

AOL says:

... Even more than usual, the characters are place-holders, caricatures or grab-bags of wacky traits. … There is no real thematic progression or character development. Generally speaking, things just randomly happen. …

HitFix says:

… has pretensions of depth and ambition, but really all it's about is whatever cool thing Murphy and Falchuk wanted to do next, hurled at the screen with such reckless abandon that none of it works. … 

USA Today says:

... when a show is this far off the rails in its opening episode, it's pretty much telling you what kind of ride you're in for. ... a duller, denser, more unpleasant clan has never stumbled its way through a haunted house. …

The New York Times says:

... the Gleeks should feel perfectly at home with “Horror Story.” The similarities are greater than the differences, and they start with the love of excess that stretches through “Glee” and back to the first Murphy-Falchuk collaboration, “Nip/Tuck.” Other, less palatable hallmarks of their method are here as well: a certain hollow theatricality, a willingness to accept one-dimensional characters and pat story lines ...

The Los Angeles Times says:

... It's structured, in fact, a bit like "Glee" — exposition created to showcase the big numbers, in this case, the revelation of some new manifestation of evil and/or depravity. Not surprisingly, the two shows share a similar problem — too many ideas and not enough storytelling. But horror is the most delicate and difficult genre, requiring an exquisite balance of anticipation and action. Stomp down those basement stairs too loudly or too often and horror collapses into camp, which "American Horror Story" unfortunately does upon more than one occasion. ...

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

.... a nonsensical roller coaster ride … It's unclear if this lack of clarity is an intentional effort to confuse or just sloppy filmmaking. …

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

... The loopiness of the script, combined with unsettlingly jerky camerawork, especially in Wednesday's premiere episode (the camera calms down a bit in Episodes 2 and 3), make the actual horror aspects of the show passably effective. But what's lacking in the premiere episode is the kind of "don't open that door!" and "someone's behind you!" suspense that Hitchcock, most notably, built into his best films. ...

The Washington Post says:

... So much creepy stuff happens in the first episode that viewers will be left asking: Can I possibly watch an entire series of this? Followed, of course, by a more obvious question: Why do they stay in that house? Overdoing things is one of Murphy’s trademark flaws, but this show has a captivating style and giddy gross-outs. ...

The Boston Herald says:

... I loved the pilot, mostly because I could never predict where the story was going, a rarity in prime-time TV. Leave it to Murphy: In an industry that churns out cookie-cutter product, he’s an original. ...

The Boston Globe says:

… After a while, the story seems to have no more depth and logic than an artsy music video. …

Variety says:

... The creative team's fondness for the material appears unquestionable; whether they can exorcise what ails their show remains the real mystery. … The main problem with a haunted-house series is making things scary without becoming so alarming the family flees screaming into the night in episode one. A second hour, however, rather than offering clarity or reassurance, only reinforces these doubts. …

The Hollywood Reporter says:

... You don’t need to be a genius to know the threat level is pretty high in that house. And that’s really the primary problem with American Horror Story, which has numerous other problems that make little to no sense. …

Keen to learn more? Head over to

10 p.m. Wednesday. FX.

Follow Herc on Twitter!!

Follow Evil Herc on Twitter!!


Blu PULP Now!!


$10.49 Blu BROWN!!

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus