The ingeniously twisted minds behind American Horror Story have released four short and scary teasers for the upcoming season, American Horror Story: Coven. Words can’t express how thrilled I am for the third installment of this truly unique anthology, as well as the return of many of my favorite actors from seasons one and two. The first season captured my heart with its dark and deadly narrative, and the producers really pushed the boundaries of traditional horror in television by completing a serial in twelve episodes while killing off a good number of the show’s starring actors. The plot was clever, the writing a good mix of seduction, satire, and humor, and the creeps and scares were numerous. The only fault I found with Murder House was the rather ambiguous ending.
When the second season was announced as a completely new story, I felt a bit cheated. I wanted to know where American Horror Story was headed with the Murder House line, but the prospect of a program that presented a new serial every season was too good to ignore. I’m a sucker for anthologies. I wondered how Ryan Murphy (writer of AHS) would pull off this crazy feat. He revealed to interviews that hints on season two’s theme were hidden in the last episodes of pilot season.
As members from the initial season signed on for the second, my giddy inner horror lover grew more excited. American Horror Story: Asylum was shaping up to be just as grotesque and glorious as its sister. Asylum was the first series to create short clips for the upcoming season, including women spider-walking upside-down on staircases and eerie inmates running through the woods for split seconds. Their promos quickly became some of my favorite hype pieces.
Asylum was worthy of following Murder House, and half the storyline was straight out of the gate breathtaking. I loved the asylum aspect and the Bloodyface saga, how everything was tied in and wrapped up, how the finale provided closure for the Asylum story, which season one lacked. Zachary Quinto and Lily Rabe completely stole the show. However, like Murder House, there was one thing that didn’t thrill me: aliens.
For me, the alien thing was a bit of a throw away. I don’t think it enhanced anything, especially when the stronger plotlines involved medical experimentation, dehumanization, a murderer both past and present, and demonic possession. It just didn’t fit.
The promise of American Horror Story: Coven feels full of potential. If the three short teasers are any hint, we’re in for more of the same disturbing, pulse-pounding writing we’ve come to love, set against the backdrop of beautiful New Orleans. Minus the aliens, I hope.
The best part of Coven is the inclusion of Marie LaLaurie (played by Kathy Bates), socialite and serial killer. LaLaurie is best known for her confinement, torture, mutilation and murder of slaves on her plantation. The secondary storyline deals with a witch coven relocating to New Orleans after the Witch Trials in Salem, and the narrative will bounce from the present day to the 1830s. Veteran actor Jessica Lange will be returning, along with Taissa Farmiga, Francis Conroy, Lily Rabe, Evan Peters, and Sarah Paulson. Dennis O’Hare also announced his return, though his role has not yet been revealed.
I’m remaining optimistic about American Horror Story: Coven. I think witches and serial killers in New Orleans has potential to carry on the horrifying legacy of the show, as long as random extra plotlines don’t make their way into the narrative (did I mention the aliens last season?) and detract from the real horror. Actually, I think serial killers go well with just about everything.
The writers of American Horror Story are notorious for killing everyone (see what I mean?), darlings and background alike, so I can’t say who I’m hoping gets axed. Maybe Patti LuPone. I look forward to seeing where the teasers lead us as we wait for October and the familiar and nightmare-inducing theme to ring out in the dark as we watch.
American Horror Story: Coven premiers October 9th on FX. Catch the teasers on American Horror Story’s official Facebook page.
Meghan Harker grew up in a small, awkwardly-named town in Georgia. She attended Brenau University, where she earned her BA in English and a minor in Graphic Design; she also attended the University of Cambridge, England, where she didn't quite master the perfect Oxbridge accent. She's an avid reader, writer, and fire spinner. She's currently working her first novel, a paranormal thriller. Visit her blog at ExquisitelyOdd.com.
Read all posts by Meghan Harker for Criminal Element.