Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Everything that Pisses me off About American Horror Story

Yes, I'm fully aware that Halloween is over, but with American Horror Story: Freak Show only four episodes into it's new season, I thought it would be the perfect time to whine about everything that the show is doing wrong. I'm not typically a fan of horror shows/movies in general, but after watching the first episode of the show's first season (Murder House) I was hooked. It was some weird combination of intrigue, disgust, and - admittedly - fear, that kept me going. It was enjoyable, and I'll be damned if it wasn't a little scary to boot.

Then the second season came and lost me a little bit with it's convoluted story lines, but I was willing to ignore these and hang on for the ride. The third season almost lost me completely: while the title sequence was (and always has been) terrifying, the overall campiness and basic lack of anything scary drove me to almost ditch the show. But then they announced what the theme of the fourth season would be - Freak Show - and pulled me right back in.

RIP buddy
"Alright," I thought. "Clowns scare the shit out of me. This should be perfect." And it was! At least, some of it was. In the few episodes since the season began, there's been one storyline in particular - that of the deranged, murdering, ultimately misunderstood clown Twisty and his whiny, mother's-boy protege - that has been some of the best material that Horror Story has done since it's first season. The clown was, obviously, disgustingly scary, and was easily the most interesting part of the show.

I say was because - BIG OL' SPOILERS AHEAD - they already killed off Twisty. And with that, they may have killed off my viewership.

Let's go through everything that's wrong with the show right now. I've got time to kill, I guess. For starters, the dialogue is laughably bad. As in, I actually spend most of the episode laughing at some of the shit that these characters say. I honestly don't know if it's intentional at this point, but it's just so campy and awful. Also, Kathy Bate's accent is way overdone and outrageously weird.

Aesthetically, Ryan Murphey spends too much time - as always - attempting to make weirdly stylized and dynamic shots. This season is set in the 50s, and as Meghan Malone has so adeptly pointed out, if they had filmed the season as if it was something filmed from that era, it would be way less distracting and make the acting/dialogue slightly more believable. Instead, we're stuck with 30 different shots to cover a 1 minute scene. Not to mention that half of the strange shots are done just so Murphey can cover his own ass when it comes to saving on special effects (every time Sarah Paulson's two-headed character is framed with just one head in shot, you know they got a little lazy)
ooh yah, eh

Finally, this season has featured some of the weakest characters of any Horror Story season thus far. You'd think that the Freaks - each of the main characters is easily distinguishable by some physical deformity or another - would be relatable or unique or even significant in their own way. This is what made Twisty - and, if we're lucky, Dandy - so special: they were interesting. Three dimensional. Complex. The last episode briefly dipped into the past of a few other key characters, but apart from this, all of the plot lines that don't feature a killer psycho clown have just been boring. Find a way to make me actually care about some of the other freaks, Ryan Murphey, and I'll stick with the show for at least the rest of this season.

Eh. Who am I kidding. As long as there's at least one more psycho clown out there, I guess I'm committed.

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