I’m a huge horror fan and always have been. I love a good scare, I love monsters. Give me Godzilla, give me Frankenstein’s monster, give me Pinhead. I love it. And when it comes to the small screen (not so small in today’s homes at 55-plus inches), The Walking Dead rules.
So, you’d think I’d be crazy about American Horror Story: Coven as well.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. AHS is a welcome change of pace from the standard detective/crime of the week fare on tv, to be sure. It’s stylish and Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates are incredible actors. The starting sequence for Coven is downright spooky and one of the highlights of the show, even after having seen it each week. And the show itself is filled with wild, over-the-top bloodshed.
But, admit it, the show is a chore to watch — and not just because of the bloodshed.
It’s a chore because I just don’t care one bit for any of the characters. The whole coven of witches seems to exist for one reason only, to knock each other off in the most gruesome, violent way possible, only to have the character be reborn in the following episode. Hey, just about everyone has “died” on AHS once, and been brought back good as new in the eleven episodes shown so far. One of them supposedly is going to be the coven’s new supreme, but who cares. The show has proven so far that you can’t take any of the deaths seriously, nor any of the characters for that matter. Its violence is gruesome for the sake of being gruesome, nothing more.
Horror, if it is to be effective, needs to sneak up on you. It needs to be subtle, not so in your face. In AHS:C, there is less in the way of horror than there is in the horrific.
If you look back at episode one, there was a promising premise there. A young woman (Taissa Farmiga as Zoe Benson) discovers she has unusual powers and is enrolled in the coven to help her control her powers. The series should have followed through on that. The show should have stuck with Zoe and her journey, her discovery of her powers and how to use them in a world run by dollars and technology. The show should have let us experience her growth as a character as she decides how to best use her powers, whether they are for her own selfish reasons or for the good of the coven, or better yet, the good of mankind.
Instead, we get tangents. Stories about a voodoo queen, a tongue-less butler who collects dolls, and a witch with a fetish for Stevie Nicks. Oh, and then there’s Kathy Bates torturing people in the attic, losing her own head, then getting it back and being led around on a leash, and so on. Throw in an axe-wielding psychopath who is apparently a ghost of his former self and a bunch of witch-hunters that he dispatches with ease…
But, I digress…which is my point about this whole series. It chases every rabbit trail and doesn’t stay true to any of them. Lost in all of this is the story about Zoe. Remember her?
There are two episodes to go in the series at this writing. I’m doubtful at this point that the writers will be able to pull it all together into a cohesive whole. I’ll keep watching, but I’m past the point of caring. Maybe season four will get it right.
The riotously funny finale aired last week:
- Zoe died while playing a game of transmutation tag. Of course, she came back in the end.
- Fiona came back from her “death.”
- Myrtle was burned at the stake again.
- Kyle chokes Madison to death.
- And new Supreme witch Delia announces the school will be open to new witches.
After 12 previous episodes of equally silly plotting, I couldn’t take any of the finale seriously and was actually laughing. Um, this was supposed to be a horror show, wasn’t it?