Graphic Violence, Abuse and Sex: 'Horror' is Right

October 6th, 2011 12:07 PM

Billed by Entertainment Weekly as an "over-the-top thrill ride about a haunted house," FX's new drama 'American Horror Story' is painted as the latest fun and scary show to appear on free cable. "Covering our eyes and screaming has never been this much fun!" But with the show's numerous depictions of graphic violence, explicit and inappropriate sexual encounters, along with the verbal abuse of a special needs child, you have to wonder at some people's idea of fun. [Ad for the show can be seen here.]

Much in the vein of "Amityville Horror" and "The Shining," the premise for 'American Horror Story' is that of a family moving into a haunted Victorian house plagued with a twisted history of gruesome crimes committed within its walls. But "American Horror Story" isn't just scary. A violent face-cutting scene, a 30 second masturbation scene, more than a dozen cusswords, and the verbal abuse of a mentally handicapped person, proves "American Horror Story" is downright disgusting.

But this content isn't all that surprising when one considers who is behind this show.

When "Glee" co-creator Ryan Murphy famously stated that it is his goal to "remove every barrier to the depiction of explicit sex on TV," it's safe to say his future audiences have been warned. But Murphy's goal is more specific; he told the Tampa Television Examiner, "Hopefully I have made it possible for somebody on broadcast television to do a rear-entry scene."

"American Horror Story," just might be Murphy's perfect vehicle to accomplish this repulsive goal.

Even the show's cast was shocked at the content Murphy was pushing. "I can't believe they can air that on television, actually," actress Alexandra Breckenridge said during production.

And it's hard to believe Breckenridge would want it to air on television, given the raunchiness of two of her big scenes in the first episode. The first featured voyeurism and dual masturbation with Dylan McDermott playing the main character, psychiatrist Ben Harmon. In the second, she tried to seduce Harmon, including by explicitly referencing the first scene.

In another scene, Harmon's wife Vivien was preparing for bed when a man (presumably Ben) in a black, kinky masochist sex suit appeared in her doorway. She agreed to "go for round two" and engage him in a minute and a half long sexual encounter.

Murphy's co-writer, raunchy "Nip/Tuck" creator Brad Falchuk, is also well-known for pushing explicit content. "Nip/Tuck," another boundary-pushing show on FX, featured slutty surgeons obsessed with plastic surgery and graphic sex in which series premiere viewers were treated to a bloody scene involving implants placed into a naked rear end. In another episode, "an incestuous mother-daughter threesome" occurred.

With Murphy and Falchuk on board, it's no wonder the opening credits of "American Horror Story" are sure to make the average viewer shudder in horror. To set the stage, viewers see a dingy basement in which human body parts, including the heads of infants, are preserved in jars of liquid in what appears to be a sadistic experiment.

The violence in "American Horror Story" isn't limited to flashbacks of heinous crimes or dead animals (as viewers see a blood-soaked dog in the dingy basement) but the show's younger characters are some of the most vicious.

Taking supernatural vengeance on a school bully, Harmon's daughter Violet and one of Harmon's psychiatric patients pinned her to the floor, repeatedly slashing her face for a graphic and gruesome 43 seconds.

The premiere of "American Horror Story" wasn't just sexually and physically repulsive. Flashback scenes also featured a large dose of verbal and mental cruelty toward a Down syndrome girl - including her mother, played by Jessica Lange, wishing she'd aborted her.

To add to the violence, sex and abuse, there were 13 versions of the word "s**t," and such delightful terms as "p***y" and "c**ksucker."

With all this objectionable content, Entertainment Weekly still named "American Horror Story" one of its "Top Ten Things We Love this Week" putting it on their famous "Must List" in the October 7 issue. "This show has a potential to literally be shattering to all of the things that we consider to be normal," one of the actors said during production.

Oh goodie.