“American Horror Story” tangles with the macabre

Human beings have always had an undeniable fascination with the macabre. Bram Stoker's Dracula sold endless copies and kept readers awake in fright. Classic horror films such as Frankenstein and The Wolf Man transport viewers into a world where terrifying creatures could end up on their doorstep, and our modern slasher films immerse audiences in gory unspeakable acts. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's new show "American Horror Story" provides viewers with all of these elements they seek. 

The show focuses on the Harmon family. In the pilot episode, they move to California after Ben (Dylan McDermott), the family's masochistic patriarch, cheats on his wife Vivien (Connie Britton). Although they are trying to start a new life, their new home has other plans for them. Unbeknownst to the Harmons, the property is known as the infamous "murder house," and each episode reveals a bit of the house's history. Some of the house's past inhabitants include an opium-addicted doctor in the ‘20s running an underground abortion clinic and a gay couple found dead after an apparent murder-suicide. 

Throughout the season a broad spectrum of characters, both dead and alive, has been introduced – by far some of the most interesting to debut this year. Evan Peters (Tate Langdon) provides complexity in the battle between his psychopathic urges and his love for Violet (Taissa Farmiga), Ben and Vivien's daughter. 

Violet also adds an interesting spin to the typical teenage daughter archetype. Her disdain for the warped society in which she lives is well expressed in up-and-coming actress Taissa Farminga's performance. 

The best performance, however, is given by Jessica Lange as next-door neighbor Constance Langdon. With her southern drawl and hidden motives shrouded in a mask of suspicion, she makes audiences wonder what kind of sick people are really out there in the world. 

The compilation of many horror classics adds an interesting element to the show. Many viewers will recall Rosemary's Baby as Vivien deals with a complicated pregnancy. It has been said that the writers purposefully sprinkled in horror plots with which audiences are familiar to create a unique final product. 

The wonderful thing about "American Horror Story" is its sheer mystery. Each episode surprises viewers with new twists that leave them wondering what will happen next, making it incredibly addictive. Whether you enjoy gore or psychological thrillers, tales of ghosts or demons, this show is a breath of fresh air in television that will leave you wanting more each week. 

"American Horror Story" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.