American Horror Showdown


Tom Davies pits the first three seasons of American Horror Story against each other – which will win out in this Scene Halloween Special showdown?


Murder House – Oh the house is haunted? Haunted by ghosts of people that died in the house? Yeah real original guys. 3rd
Asylum – Rampantly mad and full of twists and turns, a kind of battle royale of horror concepts and tropes. It’s not strictly got what you might call a coherent, well-structured plot, but I love it, and I’m the one writing the damn article. 1st
Coven -The kind of dark Harry Potter-esque witches school carry on and wider mythos makes it probably the richer and best thought out of, but it just can’t compete with Asylum’s Satan nuns and deranged Nazi scientists I’m afraid. 2nd



Murder House – To be fair to Dylan McDermott he is what I imagine to be a rather sexy man. I mean, I wouldn’t strictly know, but I wouldn’t be averse to him cradling me in his big strong arms. 2nd
Asylum – Deranged Nazi Scientists, serial killers, James Cromwell, Zachary Quinto, how are we still having this conversation? 1st
Coven – As far as I’m aware, there are only two recurring male characters in the whole series, and both of them are functionally mute, or near enough. So yeah, Coven fails whatever the opposite of the Bechdel test is by quite some margin. 3rd



Murder House – Bit difficult to judge Murder House here as there are two main female characters, who are AHS staples and in both of the other seasons. However, they probably play their most boring roles in Murder House and Alexandra Breckinridge looking smoking hot in a French maid outfit doesn’t really save it from that. 3rd
Asylum – Perhaps Jessica Lange’s best role of the three as Sister Jude. Lily Rabe also does a splendid turn as a nun possessed by the devil. Sarah Paulson plays quite a rich character but one which on occasion manages to be splendidly annoying. 2nd
Coven – As a season with strong “girl power” themes to it, you’d expect Coven to blow the other two out of the water when it comes to leading women, and it does, but only just. Some of the extensive female cast feel underdeveloped or just not splendidly interesting, but it takes it by a nose, mostly due to Lange’s performance, which whilst not quite as interesting as in Asylum, is exceptional in its sheer flamboyance. 1st



Murder House – The one area where Murder House excels. Deeply chilling, its mundaneness is ultimately its saviour when it comes to the actual horror, which is straight and well-crafted, and not marred by Asylum’s bouts of risible lunacy. 1st
Asylum – Definitely the season with the most inherently unsettling premise, but let down by its general wacky carry on which at time borders on satirical or just downright slapstick. 2nd
Coven – The least scary of the three by a country mile, Coven occasionally feels like a teen drama and lacks a certain amount of the edge which characterized the first two seasons of the show. Witches just aren’t that scary I’m afraid. 3rd



Murder House – Present day, almost intentionally cliché haunted house in a deceptively generic but ever so slightly sinister ‘burb. Yes, it’s the first season and therefore can be forgiven for not pushing the boat out, but still, to coin an archaic phrase from the parlance of “the kids”, it’s totally snoresville, word. 3rd
Asylum – Hip and jiving in the swinging ‘60s, Asylum’s historical setting and absurdly wacky, yet deeply eerie mental asylum is our clear winner in this cstegory. It’s well done, well crafted, original and horrifyingly immersive. Top Marks. 1st
Coven – Set in New Orleans, which can add some colour to even the dreariest of televisual offerings, and it makes some effort to be original. However, it pales in mundane comparison to Briarcliff’s utter bonkers-ness. 2nd