The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
|You are gonna die in there...
I've waited a few weeks to review the new FX series American Horror Story to give it time to fester in the cellar of my soul. Because that's where this oddball horror series belongs. In the cellar of my soul. Festering.
That's a good thing.
In case you haven't been watching, it's about a family who have moved from Boston to LA after an affair by the husband with one of his students, and the still-born birth of their baby. The two bring along their surprisingly frank and non-stereotypical teenage daughter with them. She's the most "normal" one in the family, even though she suffers from depression. The father is a psychiatrist, practicing out of his home.
They movie into an old restored mansion with a history. The house has seen so many deaths, mostly murders, that it has become a regular and popular stop on the Murder Tour. A bus tour celebrating locations of famous murders in the LA area. Yeah...you don't want to live there. Neither does this family after just a few short weeks. But their savings are wrapped up in the house, so they are going to have to sell it before they can move on. Hopefully while they are still alive.
Not a given.
The house some additional "residents" to speak of as well. And not just the ghosts of the murdered former owners and their visitors. Constance and her daughter with Down Syndrome, Addie live next door, but they seem to be tied to the house just as much as the specters. Always walking in un-invited. Especially Addie. One terrifying scene had Addie crawl from under the teenage daughter's bed after grabbing her ankle and singing "Trick or treat! Smell my feet! Give me something good to eat!" on Halloween night.
Well, it was terrifying to me.
Then there is Tate. A young disturbed man who is receiving therapy from the father in the family. He's just as much of a fixture in the house as the overhead lights. And he has a healthy/un-healthy romantic interest in the teenage daughter. Something her father is not so keen on at all. Tate's backstory hasn't been fully told yet, but somehow he is tied to the house as inextricably as Constance and Addie.
Then there is Larry Harvey, my favorite character on the show. He's the horribly burned and disfigured former owner of the house. He has been released from prison after murdering his entire family because of an advanced case of brain cancer. Not sure that would happen in real life, because he is one crazy mother-fucker. His "dream" is to become a character actor in Hollywood, but he is really around to warn the father about how the house "told him" to murder his family...and for comedic effect. Larry is a hoot.
And don't get me started on the...thing living in basement. Or the dude in the rubber S&M suit who seems to be behind every door. Imagine an even more evil version of the Gimp from Pulp Fiction. Around every dark corner of your house. Yeah.
This show is creepy as all hell.