American Horror Story: Revisiting the Murder House

The very first season of the creepy FX show American Horror Story came to us on October 5th, 2011. After a widely successful season, a second season, entitled American Horror Story: Asylum would come to be.

Now that its third season, American Horror Story: Coven is about to be unleashed on us on October 9th, we take a look back at where it all began, and revisit the Murder House.

American Horror Story: Murder House surrounded the lives of the Harmon family; Dr. Benjamin Harmon, played by Dylan McDermott, his wife Vivien Harmon, played by Nashville’s Connie Britton, and their daughter Violet, played by Taissa Farmiga, the younger sister of Academy Award nominee Vera Farmiga.

The story really begins as the Harmon family relocated to Boston from Los Angeles after Vivien tragically gave birth to a stillborn baby, and Dr. Harmon has an affair with Hayden McClaine, one of his students.

Upon arrival in Boston, the Harmon’s find out from their real estate agent Marcy, played by Christine Estabrook, that the house they are about to move into was previous owned by a gay couple, Chad and Patrick, who are played by Zachary Quinto and Teddy Sears respectively, that died in an apparent murder/suicide.

Once the Harmons have moved into the house, strange things begin to happen almost straight away. Enter Constance and Addie.

The Harmon family’s new neighbor Constance Langdon, portrayed by Jessica Lange and her daughter Addie, played by Jamie Brewer, became rather frequent, yet mostly uninvited guests in the family’s home. Constance’s daughter Addie has down syndrome, and seems to have some sort of supernatural connection to the Harmons’ home.

Frances Conroy and Alexandra Brackenridge as Moira O’Hara in American Horror Story: Murder House

The Harmons soon come to find out that the house comes equipped with its own housekeeper. Moira O’Hara, played by Frances Conroy, comes to Vivien and tells her that she has been with the house of years, and that it is her job to make sure it is taken care of.

Moira is quite the interesting character. We soon find out that to women, she looks like an old matronly woman; however, to men like Dr. Harmon, she appears as a young and seductive woman, played by Alexandra Breckenridge.

Dr. Harmon soon meets Larry Harvey, a former resident of his house who has burns over 70% of his body. Larry, played by True Blood’s Denis O’Hare, begins to tell Dr. Harmon about some of the mysterious history of his home. Throughout the season, Larry inserts himself further and further into the Harmons’ lives.

After getting settled in, Dr. Harmon begins seeing patients at his home so that he has more time to spend with his family. One of those patients is Tate Langdon, played by Evan Peters. In the beginning, Dr. Harmon has no idea that Tate is one of the ghosts in the house, or that he is indeed the son of his neighbor Constance.

Strange things begin to happen in the Harmon household.

As things progress the events become more violent, and much more frequent. Eventually, the Harmons come to find out that the upside of 20 people have met their deaths in their home. Their home has become known as the “Murder House” on the sightseeing tours that travel through their neighborhood.

Evil twists have never been hard to come by when it comes to American Horror Story the first of the major plot twists come when Vivien explores the attic and finds a black latex body suit. She tells Dr. Harmon to throw it out, which he does. However, this would not be the last time we would see that creepy black bodysuit.

Later, a man who Vivien thinks is her husband Ben, comes walking into her room wearing that very same black bodysuit. Vivien, who thinks her husband is trying to be kinky, willingly has sex with the man in the suit, who we later find out is actually Tate. Soon after, Vivien finds out that she is pregnant. Later down the road, it is revealed that Vivien is having twins; however, the twins do not have the same father. One of the babies is Dr. Harmon’s and the other is Tate’s.

Further down the road, it is revealed that Tate’s motive for the essential “rape” of Mrs. Harmon was to sire a child for Nora, one of the ghosts trapped in the house, and the original owner of the home.

Matt Ross as Doctor Charles Montgomery on American Horror Story: Murder House

You see, the Murder House originally belonged to Dr. Charles Montgomery and his wife Nora.

With the assistance of his wife, Dr. Montgomery performed illegal abortions for women desperate to end their pregnancies.

One day, the enraged boyfriend of one of Dr. Montgomery’s “patients” kidnapped their son Thaddeus. The police later brought the Montgomery’s evidence of what happened to their son; glass jars filled with their son’s dismembered body parts.

Vivien learns of this information when she finally decides to take the “Murder House Tour” that continually passes by her house.

Nora never really got over the death of their son. Nora brings Charles a lace gown to bury their son in, and to her horror, she finds him stitching a hoof to their son’s leg in some sort of a Frankenstein-like experiment; thus spawning the “infantata”. After seeing what a monster her “child” had become after Dr. Montgomery’s gruesome experiment, she shoots Dr. Montgomery and then turns the gun on herself.

In the two-part Halloween episode, we find out not only how Larry ended up suffering the burns that consume his body, but what really happened to Tate while he was still alive. In 1994, after finally breaking under the strain of his dysfunctional home life, Tate snapped and set Larry, his mother’s boyfriend at the time, on fire as a means to punish his mother for what they had done to his brother, before heading to school and brutally murdering  15 students as well as a teach in the school library. Tate returned home, where he was eventually gunned down by the SWAT team that was sent to his house to apprehend him.

Completely enveloped by the turmoil going on in her own life, coupled with the realization of the monster that Tate really was, Violet attempts suicide. It is weeks later before she realizes that her attempt was successful, and that she has been dead the entire time.

Vivien’s sanity is called into question when several of the ghosts in the house, including Hayden and Nora, begin harassing her in an attempt to have her committed so that they could raise her children as their own. Tate convinces Violet to lie and help her father have Vivien committed to an insane asylum.

At the same time, Constance enlists the help of medium Billie Dean Howard, played by Sarah Paulson, to help contact her daughter Addie, who had died after being hit by a car. When asked what would happen if a ghost sired a child with one of the living, the medium informs Constance that her grandchild will become the Antichrist.

When Violet and Moira finally tell Ben the truth about her being a ghost, Tate being the “rubber man”, and all of the evil trapped inside the house, he has Vivien freed from the asylum. When Chad, one of the members of the gay couple, tells Violet that it was Tate who raped her mother, and that Tate it was indeed Tate who murdered Chad and his partner because of their inability to produce a child for Nora, Violet decides to break up with Tate.

In the two-part season finale of the show, Vivien gives birth to the twins in the house. The more benevolent of the spirits residing in the house help Vivien in the delivery.

Both Vivien and one of the twins die during childbirth.

Ben tries to contact his deceased wife and daughter, but they both ignore his efforts. Overcome by everything that has happened to his family since moving into the infamous Murder House, Ben contemplates suicide. It is then that Vivien shows herself to Ben in an effort to convince him to go on living for the sake of their baby. She convinces Ben to leave the house with the child immediately for the protection of their son.

Before Ben can make it out of the house, he is confronted by the ghost of Hayden, who hangs him, making it look like an apparent suicide. Hayden tries to take the baby, but is confronted by Constance and the ghost of Travis, her former lover whom Hayden murdered out of revenge against Constance. Constance takes the baby instead.

She hides the child away and tells police that Dr. Harmon killed himself out of the insurmountable grief he felt due to the death of his wife and child, and that Violet, whose body was never recovered, had run away with the remaining twin.

The Harmons, now trapped for eternity in the house they tried so desperately to escape, join forces with Moira in order to keep other families from suffering the horrors that they had suffered while within its walls. Tate and Hayden have both been cast out of the house by a trick that Tate taught Violet when she first realized she was dead. Tate promised Violet that he would wait for her forever.

As we know, unlike the living, forever is a very long time when you are a ghost. While the Harmon’s may have got their happily forever after, the story was far from over.

As the series comes to a close, you find Constance three years after the lives of the Harmons were taken by the Murder House. Constance had left town to create a new life for herself with her grandchild that she is now raising as her own. She finally returns to Los Angeles. When she comes home from the beauty salon, she finds that her grandson has murdered his nanny. She calmly walks over to the boy and leans over, smiles and says “Now what am I going to do with you”

What a fitting, and yet incredibly creepy way to end a season of a thoroughly dark and creepy series. I don’t know about you, but I have been hooked on this series since day one.

I anxiously await the horrors that producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have in store for us when American Horror Story: Coven begins on October 9th.

Tags: American Horror Story FX TV Show TV Shows

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