Thursday, August 02, 2012


As we begin wrapping up on discussion of the pilot episode of American Horror Story, Simon Abrams offers some further thoughts and gets prepared for "Home Invasion" next week. I'll be back with some final thoughts tomorrow. You can catch up with the entire conversation so far by scrolling down this page or clicking on the links below:




Unfortunately, I have not seen What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? or many other psycho-biddy films. Almost all of the films of that peculiar sub-genre, including Alice, are however on a long-ass list of horror-y films I'd like to catch up with. So much to view, so little time, amirite? In any case, that's a really funny reading. I wonder what Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk would think of it?

Generally speaking: yes, you're absolutely right, the use of music in "Pilot" did bug me a little. I thought the use of "Tonight You Belong To Me" was appropriately coy but the use of the Twisted Nerve theme was really irritating. I'm convinced that that song wouldn't be so fondly remembered without Kill Bill, a film that I really enjoy but also feel has also enabled some of the worse tendencies in genre filmmakers. Tarantino tends to have that effect: lesser filmmakers see that he can get away with things and they accordingly take that as permission to act on creative impulses that are usually more showy than they are thoughtful.

The use of the Twisted Nerve theme during the re-enactment of Tate's dream was just flat-out distracting. This particular song cue has a weird effect that many pomo genre films, TV shows, works of art, whatever, sometimes have, namely the ability to evoke something without really saying much with it. I understood and immediately felt the dreamy detachment and eerie calm-before-the-storm atmosphere that that music evokes. I also thought of how that music was previously recycled in Kill Bill.

There aren't that many other times in "Pilot" where Falchuk and Murphy so nakedly draw attention to the fact that their story primarily incorporates archetypal images. But hey, it's right there in the show's title, isn't it? This is a self-fashioned hodgepodge of pre-existing generic elements. Still, I maintain that when those elements jut out, as they do during this song cue, I can't help but fail to suspend my disbelief. It's very distracting to be so casually nudged in the ribs and reminded that we're watching something that we've already seen many times before. The eternal cycle of horror tropes is the show's hook, but there are better ways to express that theme.

Generally speaking, I think I'm done talking about "Pilot," Dennis. But I really am looking forward to your last post in this episode. And I'll eagerly start watching AHS 1.2 presently!



lrobhubbard said...

No mention of more Herrmann in the episode? Mainly, the VERTIGO music used during the burned guy's flashback.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

LRob: I took notes on that Vertigo sample and when I saw your comment I went back through what I had written because I actually thought that I had already mentioned that. But instead I had only jotted it down for myself and hadn't yet actually put it in a post. But you're right, and I'll mention it in my final response to Simon for Episode 1.