‘American Horror Stories’ Offers Nostalgia to Returning Audiences


Sierra McCormick in the trailer for “American Horror Stories.” (Courtesy FX Networks YouTube)

By Lee Kedem, Arts Writer


Famous writer and producer Ryan Murphy’s show “American Horror Story” has been dominating streaming and television platforms for a decade. In between season nine, released Sept. 2019, and the anticipated season ten, premiering Aug. 25, a new refreshing spin-off emerges. “American Horror Stories” offers a nostalgic yet imaginative take on the series, breaking away from the structure of its predecessor.

Murphy’s idea to create a spin-off while his long series is still running was a wise choice. Viewers can tune in whenever they wish for this new spin-off since the episodes are their own horror story plotlines — committing to one episode with a singular theme is much different from committing to watching a whole season.

Although the structure is smart from a marketing standpoint, the first two episodes do not offer new or creative plot lines. The plot is similar to season one of the spin-off’s predecessor and doesn’t offer many twists for fans of “American Horror Story: Murder House.”

A New “Rubber (Wo)man”

The first two episodes of “American Horror Stories” begin similarly to season one of “Murder House” — a naive family of three move into the sought-after Murder House and quickly learn that their home life is about to fall apart due to the spirits that haunt the property.

Murphy breaks away from his regular casting of actors by offering new, yet slightly familiar faces like Gavin Creel and Sierra McCormick. Murphy did bring back “American Horror Story” veteran Matt Bomer, a perfect choice to complete the cast.

In this spinoff, Scarlett (McCormick) spearheads the gruesome acts, as opposed to the “Murder House” lead Violet (Taissa Farmiga). The episodes follow Scarlett as she moves into the house with her dads who want to renovate and sell the property. Scarlett has a dark obsession with violent sexual acts, which is revealed to the whole school through a live-streamed prank by mean girl Maya (Paris Jackson) and her friends.

The infamous rubber man suit, worn by Tate Langdon (Evan Peters) in “Murder House,” now takes over Scarlett’s life. The main difference in the plot of  “American Horror Stories” and “Murder House” is that the new resident of the house is the one driving the murderous acts with her ghost girlfriend, Ruby (Kaia Gerber). Ruby and Scarlett find love that is deep, yet toxic, and Ruby is driven to murder Scarlett’s dad’s to keep her in the Murder House forever.

Ghost Stories with Fresh Nostalgia

The plot of “American Horror Stories” felt familiar, providing a sense of nostalgia for returning viewers with a return to the location of the first season. However, the episodes ultimately contained the same through-line as “Murder House.” The first two episodes continue to explore the Murder House’s secret from season one — those who die on the property cannot leave. However, they add a new twist to the story — on All Hallows’s Eve, the dead are now allowed to roam the Earth.

Murphy’s new show is creating traction for the spin-off’s predecessor, hopefully drawing more people in to watch when season ten comes out at the end of the month. The stand-alone horror stories premieres every Thursday on FX networks and Hulu, offering viewers an opportunity to get engulfed into new, creative, scary, myths and stories every week.


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