It is amazing that “American Horror Story” is able to do what it does every week on a major cable television network like FX. Each episode has some element of sex, violence, or intrigue that tops the craziness of the last episode.  No show, other than what is done on HBO, is able to get away with as much controversial imagery and material as “American Horror Story.”

 

Conceptually, what makes “American Horror Story” novel is the program’s unique tackling of the anthology series format. Each season tells a different and new horror story but with much of the same cast intact. There is no connection between the seasons, and the actors play different roles with each outing.

 

The first season tells a relatively familiar haunted house story with the wild execution that has become the show’s trademark. Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, and Taissa Farmiga star as the Harmon family who have to deal with spirits, nosy neighbors, a terminally ill serial killer, and crazy exes upon moving into their new Los Angeles home.

 

In the second season, we are taken into America’s scariest asylum. Jessica Lange is the lead as the hospital’s top nun. She runs the place with an iron fist and indiscriminate cruelty. This season made the first look tame in comparison, with an alien subplot, Nazis popping up, and even Anne Frank making an appearance in one episode.

 

For the third season, we travel down to New Orleans for a tale of witchcraft and voodoo. With ties to the Salem Witch Trials and something to say about the oppression of minorities in the American south, the third season is the craziest and most provocative of them all.

 

The performances given by the entire cast of “American Horror Story” are some of the best on television today. In that regard, the show has received massive acclaim, especially for Lange who earned a SAG Award, Emmy, and Golden Globe for her work on the show. That top notch acting is necessary for the show’s success, as it gives us something human to latch onto amidst all the supernatural chaos.

 

Cinematically, “American Horror Story” is daring and distinct in its style. Flowing camera movements dominate the show with fish eye lenses often being employed to give it a disorienting, psychedelic look. The filmmakers often go overboard with their unrestrained technique, but there is never a boring image presented on screen.

 

There are times when the story moves in places that are not at all credible or earned. In the second and third season in particular, “American Horror Story” becomes too insane for its own good, and without the impeccably talented cast, the show would almost definitely fall apart. Still, this is a train wreck that you won’t be able to look away from

 

“American Horror Story” makes for some of the more interesting television being produced today.  A fourth season is on the way, but little is known about what it will be. New viewers should be able to jump right in, but they may want to catch up with the first few seasons on Netflix.

 

Have you seen “American Horror Story?” Are you interested? Let me know in the comments below.