Murder House to Freak Show

Vrinda Chauhan, Asst. A&E Editor

For the past three years, it has become a sacred ritual for me to tune in to FX at 10 every Wednesday to watch the latest episode of “American Horror Story,” and then spend the next three nights with my face hidden under the covers. Watching the show began as a risky adventure for a 13 year old with a fascination (and deep fear) of anything horror related, but it soon turned into an obsession as I giddily looked forward to “American Horror Story” every year.

The show features the same actors acting out different horror stories each season, and if you haven’t had the chance to indulge yourself in the series yet, here’s a recap, from “Murder House” (Season 1) to “Freak Show” (Season 4) to convince you to start.

The show premiered in 2011, with the thrilling season, “Murder House.” The season’s plot revolves around the Harmon family, who moved from Boston to LA in a house that has a history of violent and sudden deaths. After Vivien Harmon’s miscarriage and her husband Ben’s affair, the Harmon family hopes to begin a new chapter in their lives in LA. Their lives do indeed change, although for the worse. The season embodies the typical horror movie layout as the Harmons find themselves in a world of cryptic ghouls.

The second season, “Asylum,” takes place within the confines of the eerie Briarcliff Mental Institution. Set in 1964 (with jumps to present day), the season explores the sinister pasts of the hospital’s patients, doctors and administrators. Throughout the series, Briarcliff’s patients are subject to supernatural influences, including demonic possession and extraterrestrial abduction. The plot centers on lesbian journalist Lana Winters, accused serial killer Kit Walker, and alleged murderer Grace Bertrand, patients who claim to be wrongly institutionalized, as they struggle to escape the asylum.

The third season, “Coven,” illustrates the secret history of witchcraft in America. In the story, over 300 years have passed since chaotic days of the Salem witch trials and those who managed to escape are now facing extinction. However, bigger concerns arise as mysterious attacks begin escalating against these witches. In order to preserve their kind, young girls are sent away to a boarding school, Miss Robichaux’s Academy, in New Orleans where they learn how to protect themselves. Caught within the chaos is Zoe Benson, who carries a terrifying secret of her own. Concerned by the recent violence, the witches’ long-absent leader, Fiona, returns to the scene determined to protect the Coven.

This fourth season returned this Oct. 8, more terrifying than ever, as one of the last remaining freak shows in America struggle to survive amidst the dying world of the American carnival experience. The first two episodes depict the struggle of the deformities of the circus, isolated and misunderstood, as they go to extreme lengths to keep the business alive. Featuring petrifying clowns, and hair-raising characters based off of 1930’s movie “Freaks,” this season already appears to be potentially the scariest season of them all.

“American Horror Story,” though not for the faint-hearted, is sure to fill your Wednesdays with excitement and heart-stopping anticipation. If you haven’t already started watching the show, it’s not too late, as the latest season is only on its fourth episode. Join the circus and enter the dark, twisted world of “American Horror Story.”