American Horror Story Season 3 Review

Stephanie Kupiec ’15
Contributing Writer

In honor of celebrating all things spooky and unnerving for Halloween, FX has debuted the third season of its ongoing gruesomely disturbing television series, American Horror Story. With each new season featuring new actors, new plots, and new scares, season three, American Horror Story: Coven, is more than just eerie film shots. Coven’s central plot will be based around a discreet school for witchcraft located in New Orleans, and viewers will watch as a supernatural blood feud unfolds between witches and voodoo priestesses. As usual, the series will piece together stories from the past with the present, with scenes recreating stories loosely based around Salem witch trials and “present day witches” in Louisiana.

However, perhaps the most appealing aspect of American Horror Story: Coven is the prevalent theme of female dominance and power apparent within just the first few episodes. Every lead role thus far is played by a prominent actress. Jessica Lange plays Fiona Goode, Kathy Bates is Madame LaLaurie and Angela Bassett is Marie Laveau – three powerful female characters who are ready to battle for magic supremacy. Although no one is sure yet what will come of the battle between witchcraft and voodoo, Lange, Basset and Bates promise to deliver. In fact, in an interview with producer Ryan Murphy, Entertainment Weekly journalist Tim Stack confirmed that among his crew and cast, Murphy plans to specifically focus on female power struggles between the “Three Queen Bees” of the show. Of course, if this isn’t alluring enough, viewers can focus on other feminine struggles between Lange’s ante rouge of New Orleans witch-students, or they can look forward to Patti LuPone’s debut as another major force among the cast.

Overall, it would seem that American Horror Story is taking a deeper dive into exhibiting female power. Dedicated fans will remember that Jessica Lange has been featured as an imminent force in both of the previous seasons, Murder House and Asylum, but for Coven it seems that leading roles played by men are scarce; so far, women dominate the stage. But what about Coven’s plot as compared with those of past seasons? Although American Horror Story continues to deliver a certain amount of gory discomfort, season three seems to steer in the direction more of suspenseful drama than suspenseful terror. The transformation of American Horror Story reveals a shift in focus from physical and visual terror in season one to a more psychological terror, if it can even be called true terror, in season three. Although there are plenty of terrifying historical references and allusions littered about in Coven, it will be interesting to see if American Horror Story can top its past pinnacle horror characters like The Infantata (season one) and Bloody Face (season two).

Whatever the case, Smithie viewers are expressing serious excitement for this season. Aly Seimion ’17 was counting down the days until the season premiere on Oct. 9. “I am particularly attracted to dark entertainment, and American Horror Story is unique among TV series because it gives horror fans a show to watch,” said Seimion when questioned about her predictions for this season’s success. “Every Wednesday night, you will find me sitting with my friends and tuning in to see what happens next. We are very early in the season, of course, but the plot seems to be intricate, dramatic and complex enough to uphold the same standards featured in previous seasons. One thing is for sure, the actresses recruited for this season would not have participated if the show wasn’t going to leave us terrified and entertained.”

Although this show is not for the faint of heart, if you are interested in creepy television drama, be sure to tune into FX every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. for a fix of sinister magic.

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