‘American Horror Story’ pays homage to classic scary movies of the past


Four episodes in, FX’s “American Horror Story” has performed well above the expectations of many. Garnering positive reviews from sources like Entertainment Weekly and The Washington Post, the show has proved to be nothing short of a guilty pleasure. The unexpected success of “AHS” adds to FX’s repertoire of popular shows that include “Sons of Anarchy” and “It’s Always Sunny.”

The series revolves around a family who has recently moved into a Los Angeles Victorian mansion that is infamous for murders and ghostly happenings. Needless to say, the family learns of the houses haunting nature the hard way. Sound Familiar yet?

With a twisting plot and a handful of colorful characters, “American Horror Story” is a Frankenstein of horror cliches and other tried-and-tested tools of the trade, and that’s exactly what makes it good. Unlike a film, where my expectations are much higher, the success of “AHS” lies in its cheap ploys and relatively high production value (for TV at least). Unlike a film that can potentially take up multiple hours of my life, “AHS” only steals 40 minutes (considering you DVR it and skip the commercials).

“American Horror Story” is well aware of its strength as a cocktail of references, and it has done it masterfully and shamelessly. Constructing suspense and horror is an artform. Like any wise student would do, “AHS” has sought guidance from those that have come before and succeeded, in this case classic horror films of the past. If you’re going to copy, why not copy from the best, right? Here is a list of some of the homage’s from the last three episodes.


Beetlejuice (1988)

Violet (below) is very similar to Lydia Deetz from “Beetlejuice” (above), right down to the wide brim hat.

Geffen Company/Courtesy


A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

The character Larry (below), played by Denis O’Hare has a striking resemblance to another disfigured and burnt character named Freddy (above).

New Line Cinema/Courtesy


Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Jessica Lange’s character Constance (below), is just as intriguing and creepy as Minnie in “Rosemary’s Baby” (below). Both are neighbors with a knack to stick their noses in everyone’s business, often resulting in demonic happenings.

William Castle Productions/Courtesy


Another nod to “Rosemary’s Baby” is the character Vivien, who gets raped by a demonic being (in a leather suit). Need I say more?

William Castle Productions/Courtesy


The Shining (1980)

In “The Shining” Jack Nicholson makes out with a naked young women who becomes increasingly old to the point of becoming a rotting corpse. In “AHS” Ben, played by Dylan McDermott, is constantly tempted by a young attractive housekeeper. Unfortunately he’s the only one who see’s a young attractive housekeeper, everyone else see’s an elderly women with a really bad right eye.

Warner Bros. Pictures/Courtesy


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  • Nypddet2112

    How bout the beast within with the monster baby

  • Litlover

    The show makes more sense than your writing. Why on earth would you add an apostrophe to a verb? See’s? Is the verb possessive? No. Is it a contraction? No. The only time “sees” should have an apostrophe is if it’s the candy- and in that case it’s a noun. I’m more and more ashamed of America’s education system when I see idiotic grammatical errors like this. Seriously. Stop writing and GO BACK TO SCHOOL!