American Horror Story – Season 1 review and giveaway

Saturday, October 27, 2012 Permalink

I’m a self-confessed TV addict and the only thing I love more than my regular fix of all of my favourite shows, is TV on DVD. No waiting for the next instalment. Instant gratification. What’s not to love?!

And even better than binge-watching an entire TV series in one weekend is that joy of unearthing a new favourite. I’m often a latecomer, discovering Buffy four years into its run, Deadwood years after it finished airing and The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones just recently.

Many of these shows generate a lot of hype and have a cult-like following with good reason. They are bloody good. And riveting.

I’d heard of American Horror Story. Of course. Even here in Australia AHS has generated a buzz, however, because it was on at some obscure time with minimal fanfare I didn’t even know it was on free-to-air TV until I came across an episode a few months ago. And quite frankly… It. Freaked. Me. Out.

Of course, knowing nothing about the backstory or series itself didn’t help. But… I knew it had been nominated for a Golden Globe Award in addition to an astounding 17 Emmy Award nominations, so I knew it had to be impressive.

AHS Season 1 was released around Australia on DVD and Blu Ray this week. (Just in time for Halloween for anyone thinking of a quiet night-in!)

As I’m in the midst of moving house I took the opportunity to have a break from my to-do list and picked up a rental copy of the TV Series yesterday. I started watching late morning and by early evening I’d finished all seven episodes on the first half of the DVD. (God knows why but the store rents it as a overnighter in two halves!)

If I hadn’t been celebrating the sale of my former apartment with some champagne I might have jumped in my car then and set off to get the remaining five episodes, but sadly, I’ll have to wait until the store opens today to get my next fix.

AHS is not for the faint-hearted. I am a huge woos. I can’t watch horror movies. I get freaked out by anything scary and indeed, I’ve watched some of AHS through gaps in my fingers as my hands are cupped over my eyes. But, this stylistic drama is addictive.

The first season centres around the Harmon family, recovering from trauma and infidelity, who discover the much-reduced price on their dream house is because it just played host to a murder-suicide. Little do they know that the most recent tragedy was one of many to visit the house.

The Murder House (as it’s known) is a key character in the series. Built in the 1920s, it’s been reinvented many times over the ensuing 90 years, but its spirit remains.

The House itself is supported by an excellent cast. I’ve long been a Connie Britton fan (well, since Friday Night Lights, though it does disturb me a little that her hair doesn’t seem to move. At all). Britton and screen husband Dylan McDermott offer raw and moving performances as Vivien and Ben Harmon, a couple trying to rebuild their marriage and family life with their daughter Violet (played by Taissa Farmiga).

The cast is rounded out by Frances Conroy (memorable to me from Six Feet Under) as the House’s housekeeper and Jessica Lange (as Constance Langdon, the very eccentric neighbour and former owner of the Murder House). Obviously we meet some other regulars, former residents who continue to haunt the house, along with an array of clients of psychiatrist Ben, including Tate (Evan Peters) who befriends Violet.

Each episode begins with an incident from the House’s past. And in each episode we learn more and more about the House, its history and its inhabitants. Part of the show’s allure is that sense of slowly uncovering the House’s story. It’s like trying to piece together a puzzle without knowing if we have enough information, or even if we’re supposed to be able to solve the riddle as yet.

And that’s what will keep me coming back for more!

AHS Season 2 has just started airing in the US. I’ve done some research (aka Googling) so know that some of the major characters do not return for the second season. Like its contemporaries (Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead etc), it’s one of those shows where you just can’t ‘assume’ your fave peeps will survive the day!

The show’s creators, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, are also the brains behind TV show, Glee. Both shows have some dark and off-beat humour in common along with some eccentric characters, but little else.

I’m already nervous about what fate might await some of the characters I’ve grown to know and love. But… I. Have. To. Know. What. Happens!

The DVD itself includes a heap of extras and its release is accompanied by some AMAZING resources…. for example, this Murder House Interactive app allows you to explore the House and check out other ‘Murder Houses’ in your own area. I put the details in for my mother’s house and got a list of deaths in the street. Eek! Not sure how accurate it was, but it also references locations like Boggo Road Jail in Brisbane and the murder of a prison guard. Freaky!!!

If you’re a fan of the show, or think you may become a convert (like me!) then you now have your chance to win your very own copy of American Horror Story Season 1 on DVD. I have one copy to give away and for your chance to win, simply leave a comment below telling me why you would like to win a copy of the DVD.

I apologise (in advance) for this blatant attempt at self-promotion to grow my Facebook likers but IF you also ‘like’ my Debbish Facebook page and let me know you’ve done so in your comment, you’ll get a second bonus entry in the draw!

Unfortunately this competition is only open to Australian residents, though international readers are more than welcome to leave a comment.

The winner will be drawn randomly on midday Saturday 3 November (Queensland time!). NOTE: THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED!!!

Disclaimer:
I rented this DVD series myself, however Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and Way to Blue have provided me with a free copy of the DVD series as a competition prize. There has been no compensation or other incentive offered to write a favorable review. All opinions expressed in this space are mine, written with the objective of giving readers my personal opinion on the TV series.

 

 

66 Comments
  • Mel
    October 27, 2012

    “Liked” on facebook! Pick me pick me! I LOVE scary movies and shows, although I am similar to you in that I end up watching most of the scary bits on mute! AHS sounds awesome!

    • Debbish
      October 27, 2012

      It is Mel… it’s great! Good luck!

  • Anita
    October 27, 2012

    I used to love scary movies but have not watched a good one for years. Actually, I haven’t watch any scary shows for years. This one sounds good, even if I don’t win your DVD I’ll still look to hiring it. Hope the move is going well. Liked your Facebook too!!!

    • Debbish
      October 27, 2012

      Thanks Anita – it’s a bit scary and creepy but incredibly addictive.

      Good luck!

  • Effie Bakkalis
    October 27, 2012

    My children are driving me batty,
    I’m totally stressed to the max,
    A movie night is just what I need,
    To sit, watch, drink and relax!

    • Debbish
      October 27, 2012

      Hi Effie! A movie night sounds just perfect… and love the rhyming response!!!

      Deb

  • Kathy
    October 27, 2012

    Liked on Facebook 🙂 With a shoulder reconstruction next week, what better excuse to curl up on the couch with a great DVD and some chocolate!

    • Debbish
      October 27, 2012

      Oh yes, most definitely Kathy… what a great way to recover! (And chocolate is most definitely a prerequisite!

      Good luck (with the operation AND the competition!).

      Deb

  • Effie Bakkalis
    October 27, 2012

    I am also a new liker on facebook 🙂

  • Marilyn Hyde
    October 27, 2012

    Hi, I just wanted to say how much I love American Horror Story, and was so dissapointed when it finished, I used to tape it every week and watch it while i ate breakfast the next morning, Is it returning and if so, I wonder what the story line will be. I would love to win.

    • Debbish
      October 27, 2012

      Hello Marilyn – well I most definitely love it as well and I know that S2 just started in the US – set in a different timeframe. (Don’t think I’m offering up any spoilers there, cos that’s all online and on the Program’s Facebook page!)

      Not sure when it will reach screens here in Oz!

      Deb

  • James
    October 27, 2012

    I love these movies and my wife gets cuddly when she gets scared, which I love but all the affection is frightening lol!

    • Debbish
      October 27, 2012

      James, I like your style! You may both be needing to comfort the other!!!

      Good luck!

      Deb

  • helen boucher
    October 28, 2012

    think i can be converted,you make me want to watch it even though i’m not a fan of scary shows
    thanks and have liked your facebook page

    • Debbish
      October 28, 2012

      Thanks Helen. I think it’s one of those shows when… once you get used to what’s coming, it’s not as scary.

      Good luck!

      Deb

  • sharron smith
    October 29, 2012

    I enjoy the scary mind movies where they play with your mind and thoughts better that pretend bloody so called scary movies

    • Debbish
      October 29, 2012

      Hi Sharron… this is definitely not pretend-scary…. it’s the real deal. I even got a bit freaked out during the title sequence!

      Deb

  • Caro Shanks
    October 29, 2012

    OMG I am a HUGE fan of AHS. Almost hard to believe it’s from the same mind’s that bring us Glee. Watched all of season one and loved it to smitherines and am already onto Asylum <3 I would love a copy of the DVD for my horror collection in our house of dead. I think for next year's Brisbane Zombie Walkn I should try and incorporate AHS!!!!
    also have liked you on FB 🙂

    • Debbish
      October 31, 2012

      Hi Caro… Are you also a fan of ‘The Walking Dead’? I only discovered it recently as well. I’ve enjoyed it (once I get past the gruesome make up etc!)

      Deb

  • Tania maree
    October 29, 2012

    Any excuse to curl up on the couch and watch Dylan McDermott is a good enough excuse for me! Greg tv series which would look great in my collection!

    • Debbish
      October 31, 2012

      Yes, Dylan McDermott is particularly alluring in this I have to say! (Bizarrely he kept reminding me of the actor Danny Pinto – currently in Law & Order SVU!) Given my age I most remember Dylan from The Practice!

      Deb

  • Tracy Harris
    October 30, 2012

    Sounds just what I need. A break from reality and a way to exorcise my demons while watching someone else’s demons/ghosts/ghouls.
    Liked on Facebook.

  • April Gay
    October 31, 2012

    I’d love to win because this series is unlike any show I’ve ever seen. There are a lot of shows around now that try to take advantage of the booming popularity of ‘supernatural’ storylines, but AHS does it in a way that isn’t forced and you can really get caught up in it, trying to put the pieces together. It’s intriging and sensual and weird and if loving it is wrong I don’t wanna be right! There are not many tv shows that I could watch over and over but this is definately one of them. I’m itching to get started on ‘Asylum’. I have liked your Facebook page.

    • Debbish
      November 1, 2012

      Thanks April… and yes… it is a very different show which is part of its allure. I hope it doesn’t ever change cos I’m sure in the past there have been shows which have hit our screens to much delight, but waned over time!

      Deb

  • Linda C
    October 31, 2012

    I love scary movies. This looks like a must see.

  • Linda C
    October 31, 2012

    I like your facebook page. 🙂

  • Natalie (extralargeaslife)
    October 31, 2012

    Already a ‘liker’ of your FB page.
    I’d LOVE to win this DVD, I’ve seen the series already, but i’d love to own it for myself, it’s such a great and griping show. I love the characters, and it’s nice to have a fresh horror tv show to watch.

    • Debbish
      November 1, 2012

      As I said in the post Natalie, I don’t like horror (gore) and even ‘suspense’ freaks me out, but… I was so intrigued with the mystery behind the storyline of each episode I NEEDED to know what HAD happened and what was gonna happen.

      Deb

  • Laura C
    October 31, 2012

    I would love to see this show! I am a sucker for horror stories, and there is no better evening than those spent lazing on the couch with hubby, watching a great TV series.

    I am a liker of Debbish on Facebook too.

    Thanks for the competition and great site.

    • Debbish
      November 1, 2012

      Thanks for your lovely comment Laura. Good luck… and if you don’t win I hope you buy or rent it anyway cos it’s a great show!

      Deb

  • nicole larsen
    November 1, 2012

    I love scary movies please pick me

  • Nicki
    November 1, 2012

    Liked on FB! I have heard so much about AHS, but I do not have pay TV and have been hanging for the DVD to come out! I love horror with an actual mystery behind it, not slasher horror. I am also a big Jessica Lange fan. She’s one of the only actresses who has made the switch from young Hollywood starlet to one of the classy older generation!

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2012

      Nicki… I don’t have pay TV either (I think I watch enough without the added temptation!!!) and worry I miss a lot (wish I was able to see Newsroom which is – from all accounts – great!). And as for Jessica… sadly I’m old enough to remember her from the early 80s and you’re right… she’s resilient and has made that transition well.

      Deb

      • Nicki
        November 2, 2012

        I’m a huge movie buff and I loved Jessica in “Frances”, the biopic about Frances Farmer. She was amazing!

  • Leanne Conroy
    November 1, 2012

    Hi – liked on FB – have never seen an episode so really excited to see what it’s about!!

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2012

      Oh Leanne, it’s excellent. You need to watch from the beginning though – which was the rookie error I made when I stumbled across it mid season!

      Deb

  • Melissa Krohn
    November 2, 2012

    I am a Horror movie fanatic. Fantastic comp

  • Melissa Krohn
    November 2, 2012

    Have also liked your facebook page 🙂

  • Kara
    November 2, 2012

    I am ashamed to say I have never seen it. I have heard such great things about it and this article leaves me chomping at the bit to check it out! I love horror movies almost as much as thrillers and I think this would definitely be right up my alley

    • Debbish
      November 3, 2012

      Hello Kara and yes…. it’s certainly a great series. Good luck in the comp!

  • Kara
    November 2, 2012

    I am also a fan on Facebook 🙂

  • roberto colombi
    November 2, 2012

    It’s not your ‘Scare’otypical horror series, but i’d feel at Home watching it!

  • roberto colombi
    November 2, 2012

    also a fan on facebook 🙂

  • Marie Pohnetalova
    November 2, 2012

    i’d give an ‘Harmon’ a leg to win a copy of this series, it sounds surreal!

    • Debbish
      November 3, 2012

      Haha Marie… I should have made it a ‘best response’ competition – you would have won!

      Deb

  • Marie Pohnetalova
    November 2, 2012

    facebook friend too

  • Abby Lee
    November 2, 2012

    Love horror stories! Also like on facebook 🙂

  • Ash M.
    November 3, 2012

    I have heard about this but never saw it. My husband and I love a good scary show and he loves to scare me afterwards hiding in the closets sometimes haha. One day he may give me a heart attack! I have liked you on facebook. Thanks for the chance.

    • Debbish
      November 3, 2012

      Hi Ash and thanks for your entry. Good luck!

      Deb

  • shaz
    November 3, 2012

    This would be awesome.. I get great pleasure at watching Hubby squirm when the real scary parts come on.. Catching him sliding the pillow over his eyes LOL

    • Debbish
      November 3, 2012

      Hee hee Shaz… I can imagine cos I’m a bit like your hubby!

      Deb

  • shaz
    November 3, 2012

    Liked on Facebook

  • karen
    November 3, 2012

    Would love to win this – I need a good scare.

    Liked on Facebook also.

    • Debbish
      November 3, 2012

      Hi Karen, thanks for entering and good luck!

  • Debbish
    November 3, 2012

    THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED!!!!!

    THANKS ALL FOR ENTERING. THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED SHORTLY!

    (When I number all of the entries and enter them into the random drawing application!!!)

  • Alane
    November 3, 2012

    I would love to win the DVD as my partner and me are great lovers of horror movies and TV shows so I could see us loving this! It would be great to win something also.

    • Debbish
      November 4, 2012

      Hi Alane, I’m really sorry, but the competition closed at midday yesterday! Thanks for dropping by though!

  • Jayne
    November 3, 2012

    Me and the hubbo love us some creepy! But our peculiar working hours mean it’s really hard for us to follow series – we’re collecting DVDs to curl up in front of and this would be a great addition to our horror collection. We’ve seen the movies too often to be scared any more!

    • Debbish
      November 4, 2012

      Jayne, lately when I’ve bought DVDs I tend to buy TV on DVD – hours and hours of viewing pleasure and I only buy stuff I can watch again (and again).

      Unfortunately the competition closed midday yesterday so your entry was too late.

      I’m really sorry about that.

      Deb

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