AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM 1x02

"Tricks and Treats"

I enjoy the crazy-ass, batshit, random elements of American Horror Story, but I wish they were used with a little more purpose and planning. Even if the entire mission statement is to be scary, the show forgets that fear is a product of anticipation and dread: if you just fling things at our screens willy-nilly, none of them are going to register as they should.

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AMERICAN HORROR STORY 1x11

"Birth"

"Birth" follows in the example of last week's "Smoldering Children" by being...well, not bad, really. "Birth" has an actual structure (rare for this show), it ties its threads together logically and with purpose (ditto), and—by American Horror Story standards, at least—is downright tasteful and restrained. (Granted, a gigantic antichrist baby kills its mother on the way out of the womb—but, you know, tastefully.)

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AMERICAN HORROR STORY 1x04

"Halloween, Part 1"

Two gay ghosts; two ginger ghosts; two appearances by a homicidal Rubberman; one ex-mistress returned from the grave; one dead woman euthanizing her elderly mama; one woman with Down's syndrome getting struck by a car while wearing a "pretty-girl" costume; one burned man pounding on the door; one doctor sewing his dismembered baby back together with animal parts; and a sonogram so frightening it makes medical professionals faint. What can I say? It was a slow week at the old Murder House.

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AMERICAN HORROR STORY 1x03

"Murder House"

If you put a group of horny 12-year old boys in a room, kept them awake for three straight weeks on pixie sticks, Mountain Dew, and methamphetamines, showed them every horror movie ever made, and then asked them to free-associate a TV show, they still wouldn't come up with the turgid, tortured mess that is American Horror Story.

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