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The most unique genre series in years arrives on Blu-ray - but does it hold up to repeat viewings (and freakouts)...?
Fox / 532 Minutes / 2011 / Unrated / Street Date: September 25, 2012
There's quicksand around every creaking corner of American Horror Story: The Complete First Season, and it's difficult to escape - or resist - it. Filling a niche on television that hasn't been represented this well in years, this freakout melodrama doesn't just provide screeches and scares: it truly has the narrative power to flip your lid, making your living room couch a not-so-safe place to be.
With sumptuous production design, stellar high-def quality, and a rock-solid cast - yes, Jessica Lange deserves all the awards she continues to win - American Horror Story is a strange, exciting lark of a show, one that is a blast to marathon through in Blu-ray form. But things aren't all rosy and sensational - unfortunately, AHS suffers deeply and almost cripplingly with a one-and-done fatigue. Upon first viewing, even under the heavy weight of its admitted genre cliche, American Horror Story seems alive and fun, dripping with H.P. Lovecraft-esque gothic terror. But a second viewing unfortunately drains the life out of it.
I suppose that isn't a significant concern for the show's first season on Blu-ray - I'm sure there are many viewers who prefer to watch programming like this in rapid-fire mode over the course of a day or two - but after falling so completely for American Horror Story upon first exposure, it was a let-down to revisit it in high-def. So, take it under consideration that the show might be significantly better to discover than to enjoy repeatedly.
But first-timers will find much to enjoy on American Horror Story: The Complete First Season. I hesitate to offer anything in terms of synopsis, just because the tricks and turns of the narrative here provide often stupefying excitement - about 3/4 of the way through, prepare to veer in strange directions - but rest assured that this haunted house saga delivers exceptional genre thrills. It's not a gem to adore again and again, but as a scary-ass rental, this set is dark, moody fun.
And seriously: beware Jessica Lange...