“American Horror Story” is an example of horror done right Mike Rauser

Halloween is just around the corner, and with it comes the traditional onslaught of low effort horror films.

Horror movies are actually a guilty pleasure of mine. They’re like candy. I know it’s awful, but I always want more of it.

However my absolute favorite horror movie is not a movie at all, it is a TV show.

American Horror Story is by far the best ‘scary movie’ show out there. The idea of a horror movie as the premise for a TV show isn’t unusual, but what this show does with it certainly is.

First of all, it has pretty much the same cast every season, yet it’s always a completely different story with completely different characters. The different story every season means each season doesn’t have to end on a cliffhanger, and instead finish the story it is telling.

The different characters are interesting. One season a cast member might be playing a deranged serial killer, yet the next season he might be the innocent hero just caught up in this insanity

This alone sets it apart from other TV shows, but there are other factors that make this a great show.

There are little to no jump scares, those annoying moments that seem to be common in horror movies where a random really loud noise happens to try to trick the audience into being scared. The true horror of this show lies in it’s subtle moments, even though there are moments that are not as subtle.

The real strength of this show lies in it’s characters, which is saying something as they are brand new characters every season. For all the things this show has that are common for horror movies (haunted houses, serial killers, and demon possession) it has something that is not common for horror movies. Really good acting.

Most notable is Jessica Lange, whose every character is absolutely fascinating. You can never predict her character and although it’s a different character every season, she is never clearly good or evil, her character is simply complicated. Her characters always have complex motivations and even in seasons where her character is more villainous Lange still manages to make the character seem sympathetic.

The other major advantage American Horror Story has over most horror movies is a really captivating and interesting story. Most of the time the plot of a horror movie doesn’t really go beyond, I am a person and this guy is killing people. Oh no!

This show has a habit of taking your expectations and then doing something completely different. Instead of doing the usual horror movie cliches, this show makes you think that is what you are going to see and then does something way better.

Season 1 starts off looking like a typical haunted house story, yet takes so many unexpected twists and turns, you can’t help but want to find out what happens next.

Season 2, also called asylum, starts off looking like a typical slasher movie (with a surprisingly good Adam Levine cameo) yet becomes a fascinating look at the injustices and cruelties of an insane asylum in the 1950s, with some good old fashioned alien abductions, demonic possessions, and mad scientist stories thrown in the mix as well.

Season 3, also called coven, is about witches and honestly is probably the weaker of the seasons, but it is still scary and it is still way better than most horror movies.

Then there is the current season called “Freak Show”, which is (as you might have guessed) about circus freaks. What sets this season apart is the fact it’s not just about the fact that these people look weird, but it explores the struggle they have to go through just because of their looks. These characters are very relatable and sympathetic. Except for the killer clown, but hey you gotta have somebody be scary in this show.

That’s the main thing that this show does well, it is actually scary. When I watched the pilot, it was way more creepy than most horror movies I have seen.

That’s not the say that the show is without fault. The show occasionally forgets about some of it’s subplots and it also has a habit of sometimes cramming way too many stories together. Not to give any spoilers away, but the more you think about the haunted house in season 1 the less sense it makes.

However, as a whole the show is quite good. If you, like me, enjoy a decent horror movie every now and then, you may want to check this show out on Netflix sometime and get ready for some seasonally appropriate scares.

Mike Rauser is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].