Now that season one of American Horror Stories has ended its run, I wanted to review the series as a whole.
American Horror Stories is a spin-off of sorts of the long-running American Horror Story horror series.
But where American Horror Story so far has focused on one story for an entire season, American Horror Stories has a different story each episode.
Strangely, three of the seven episodes that make up season one were all set in the “Murder House” universe from season one of American Horror Story, and all three share characters and overlapping story lines, with a few cameos from characters that exist in other seasons of American Horror Story.
I wanted to like the trilogy, especially since towards the end of the third episode – which was also the season finale – it felt like the “Murder House” story would get some kind of closure…and it kind of did. But it just didn’t stop, and left the story on a cliffhanger that it didn’t need.
The four unique stories we got for the most part were pretty entertaining.
My favorites were “Feral” about semi-human creatures that terrorize national parks and a government cover-up surrounding it, and “Drive-In” in which a rare film has the ability to drive people into mindless killers (bonus points for having the great Adrienne Barbeau cameo).
“BA’AL” was also good, featuring a woman (Billie Lourd) who ends up getting pregnant after years of trying IVF with her husband, but it turns out there may be supernatural forces at work. There was a really good twist near the end, but it wasn’t enough to save it from the disappointing last moments.
My least favorite was “The Naughty List,” about a quartet of post-college “Bros” who try to get social media famous, eventually resorting to posting extremely heinous things. Danny Trejo as Santa and the carnage at the end were awesome, but they didn’t nearly make up for the first 3/4 of the episode I had to sit through.
The casting for the episodes was pretty solid with a mixture of AHS favorites and new-to-the-AHS-family actors. I do have to say I wasn’t fond of the casting of Kaia Gerber (Cindy Crawford’s model daughter), Paris Jackson (Michael Jackson’s daughter), and singer Noah Cyrus (Miley Cyrus’ sister). It just felt like stunt casting to get press, and they didn’t really add anything to their roles. Not the first time Murphy has done this, but still underwhelming in what they brought to the stories.
I also have to note that one of the best things about this season of the anthology is that all of the opening credits were created especially for each individual episode. I found it creative and at the same time reinforced each episode was a separate story (more or less).
I’m giving American Horror Stories (Season 1) 3.5 out of 5 stars. It was an uneven season of stories, but there were enough good episodes that I think it has potential for another season at least.
AMERICAN HORROR STORIES (Season 1)
Director: Loni Peristere, Eduardo Sánchez, Max Winkler, Sanaa Hamri, Manny Coto, Liz Friedlander
Cast: Matt Bomer, Gavin Creel, Sierra McCormick, Rhenzy Feliz, Madison Bailey, Adrienne Barbeau, John Carroll Lynch, Kevin McHale, Nico Greetham, Dyllón Burnside, Charles Melton, Danny Trejo, Billie Lourd, Ronen Rubinstein, Cody Fern, Aaron Tveit, Tiffany Dupont, Dylan McDermott, Mercedes Mason, Tom Lenk
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Tagged: American Horror Stories, anthology horror, FX on Hulu, horror series, Ryan Murphy, series reviews