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American Horror Stories - Episodes 1.01-1.03 - Review

30 Jul 2021

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The first two episodes of American Horror Stories were touted as being different from the series, while still having some similar elements, but what we’ve seen so far feels like the entirety of season one of American Horror Story (AHS), AKA “Murder House” shoved into two 42-minute episodes. 

While of course, a spinoff should pay homage to the original, this one barely even strays from the story, as evidenced by the theme song between the two shows not differing at all. 

The scary element comes in the form of jump scares only, which I have to admit got me, but it was slightly disappointing knowing American Horror Story can do better. 

Seeing old characters from the original series made it a bit fun, but some, like The Pig Man or The Twins were only there for mere seconds. Logically, bringing old characters back for the series premiere makes sense, you want to get people’s attention with people they know, love, and fear. 

But this was… a bit much. American Horror Stories’ synopsis is as follows: “An anthology series of standalone episodes delving into horror myths, legends, and lore.” 

The show was pitched as a spinoff where every episode is different, in an almost hyper-anthology, but they didn’t even deliver that to start, seeing as episodes one and two were set as a two-parter. 

Let’s start fully with episodes one and two: Rubber (Wo)man (Parts One and Two). 

Michael’s (Matt Bomer — White Collar) and Troy’s (Gavin Creel — She Loves Me) idea is a great one — turning the house into a Lizzie Borden-style AirBNB and attraction, but unfortunately, that didn’t work out. 

I would’ve much preferred a story where Scarlett and her dads perhaps befriended the ghosts that live there and used them to their advantage during events and such. But watching an entire family be killed, including their therapist (!) was too reminiscent of AHS: Murder House. 

Once again, I wonder how ghosts work in the American Horror Story universe — the AHSU if you will. 

We’ve already established that those who are killed inside Murder House are bound there for eternity, except on Halloween. Cool. Totally understandable. 

But if you’re killed elsewhere, you can just… roam? Scarlett was able to interact with several other people even though she was dead. How? 

The ending with her finding the man who bought and raised Ruby was enjoyable to watch, but it’s very odd to think that she presents as a seemingly alive, whole, person when she’s dead. 

Also, the loophole with cell phones? Sure, I guess that’s plausible, but who’s paying electricity at that house to allow them to charge their phones? 

Onto episode two: “Drive-In.” 

I loved this episode quite a bit. Of course, there are a few things that irked me, but overall, it’s almost exactly what I wanted out of American Horror Stories

Main characters Chad (Rhenzy Feliz - Runaways) and Kelley (Madison Bailey - Outer Banks) are a couple looking to have sex for the first time, and for some reason, they think the place to do that is at a drive-in movie theater. 

While, sure, this could be fun and adventurous, you’re teenagers! If you get caught you could be charged with several misdemeanors. But, that’s too much reality for this episode of American Horror Stories

The movie they decide to go see is one that reportedly was only shown once and then all copies were destroyed because something in the movie’s sound and directing turned people into killers, turning on each other and anyone else around them. 

The concept is cool as hell, and I can’t say I wouldn’t try to see the movie were it real. The end of the episode, however, paints a much more fun picture that I would’ve liked to see: the second copy of the movie, the one that Chad and Kelley thought they burned with the director, was sent to a streaming service akin to Netflix. 

Feliz and Bailey were incredible in their roles — honestly better than I expected them to be — but I think it could’ve been more fun had we gotten to see that aftermath as well. 

Of course, that’s what the whole episode is meant to do, set up a world essentially doomed to murderous chaos, but it would’ve been fun to see Chad and Kelley involved in that. 

I also absolutely loved the directing in this episode, and the shot near the end when the teenagers are walking out of the burning trailer? So good. So, so good. 

Maybe if we get a season two, they can revisit Chad and Kelley’s world. 

What did you think of episodes 1-3? Which was your favorite? Would you stay in the Murder House AirBNB? Would you see “Rabbit Rabbit”? Let me know in the comments below!