• Network: FX
  • Series Premiere Date: Oct 5, 2011
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3
Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 30
  2. Negative: 3 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Oct 5, 2011
    91
    I loved the pilot, mostly because I could never predict where the story was going, a rarity in prime-time TV.
  2. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Oct 5, 2011
    90
    Repellent and fascinating, a stygian nightmare awash in sick lusts, it seems certain to attract large audiences and huge controversy.
  3. Most TV shows, after all, quickly fade from memory. This one will haunt your dreams.
  4. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Sep 30, 2011
    88
    It's funny and moves blindingly fast, barely giving you time to blink or gulp--Dark Shadows for the PlayStation age. [10 Oct 2011, p.39]
  5. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Sep 29, 2011
    83
    AHS is pretty much all scare, all the time: a whole lotta screams, sex, jolts, mashed faces, psychotic behavior, and dead babies.
  6. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Sep 21, 2011
    83
    Overdoing things is one of Murphy's trademark flaws, but this show has a captivating style and giddy gross-outs.
  7. 80
    The show may be ridiculous, but the humiliation and panic feel real. And there's something to be said for surprise.
  8. Reviewed by: Jonathan Storm
    Oct 4, 2011
    80
    American Horror Story may not rank that high on a TV list, but fans of this kind of thing will want to chop themselves in half, strangle in a bathtub, and slit their throats--just to name a few of the things that happen in the first two episodes--if they miss it.
  9. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Oct 5, 2011
    75
    Amusing to watch, but not particularly scary. "Creepy" seems the better word.
  10. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Oct 5, 2011
    75
    It's a lot to process, and at times too much to take. Still, Horror Story often is a wonder.
  11. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Oct 4, 2011
    75
    Even if it isn't the scariest series ever, Horror Story still has tasty performances by several characters, chief among them Lange and Conroy.
  12. Reviewed by: Andrea Reiher
    Oct 5, 2011
    70
    If horror is your thing, you should definitely check it out for a few episodes and decide for yourself.
  13. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    Oct 5, 2011
    70
    So far, American Horror Story isn't the great American horror story but rather a pretty good fright night.
  14. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Oct 5, 2011
    70
    It's a big download of fever-dream melodrama, but strong casting goes a long way toward selling it.
  15. Reviewed by: Phillip Maciak
    Oct 4, 2011
    63
    As stunning, seamless, and well-curated as this particular mixtape is, the viewer is haunted by the constant anxiety that, in the end, there's nothing holding it all together other than good taste.
  16. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Oct 5, 2011
    60
    Viewers who like the horror genre and the offbeat Murphy/Falchuk approach, and who are willing to put in enough serious time to absorb all the nuances, will fall in love.
  17. Reviewed by: Daynah Burnett
    Oct 5, 2011
    60
    So much of the outright horror is recycled from films-The Shining, Don't Look Now, Poltergeist-but the plotting and pacing feel vaguely original, sometimes complicated and sometimes satirical, like American Beauty.
  18. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Oct 5, 2011
    60
    American Horror Story is a big ol' brooding, baffling, ridiculous and occasionally compelling mess of a show.
  19. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Oct 5, 2011
    60
    The hot mess of American Horror Story is berserk to a fault, though it does have an unnerving originality compelling us to watch while we cringe, or perhaps smirk.
  20. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Oct 3, 2011
    60
    AHS derives inspiration from so many horror films there's some fun in simply identifying those moments. But there's also a surreal quality that feels wildly overdone--and periodically risks tumbling from inspiring fright into inducing giggles.
  21. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Oct 5, 2011
    50
    The scariest thing about American Horror Story, the highly anticipated FX series from the guys who brought you "Glee" and "Nip/Tuck," is that almost everything in the entire show has been cribbed (or crypt-ed, in this case) from every other American horror story.
  22. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Oct 5, 2011
    50
    It's fun to look at, but there's not a lot of substance underneath.
  23. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Oct 5, 2011
    50
    American Horror Story, from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk of "Glee" and "Nip/Tuck," is a very standard creep-fest, an aggressively stylized mash-up of familiar haunted-house movies including "The Amityville Horror," "The Haunting," and "The Shining."
  24. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Oct 4, 2011
    50
    As with so many stories that are held at a constant rolling boil, the excess quickly becomes funny rather than frightening.
  25. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Oct 3, 2011
    50
    You may not come away knowing whether you like it, but you won't be bored.
  26. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Oct 4, 2011
    40
    American Horror Story has the potential to be a lot of fun, if that style and cleverness can be eventually coupled with characters we care about and a narrative that feels less like a haunted house sampler, stitched with threads of Stephen King, Hammer Films and Lars von Trier's TV series "The Kingdom."
  27. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Sep 30, 2011
    40
    It's hard to tell whether Murphy and Falchuk are real fans of the horror genre or just set out to create something so creepy and freaky and off-the-charts weird that it would create massive buzz.
  28. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Oct 5, 2011
    30
    As the one character who grounds a story that would otherwise seem like a random collection of bad things happening to so-so people, Britton's the only reason I could imagine watching American Horror Story past the three episodes I've seen.
  29. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Oct 4, 2011
    16
    It has pretensions of depth and ambition, but really all it's about is whatever cool thing Murphy and Falchuk wanted to do next, hurled at the screen with such reckless abandon that none of it works.
  30. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Oct 4, 2011
    10
    It doesn't work as a character drama and it's tiresome more often than it's freakily scary.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 522 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 87 out of 104
  2. Negative: 4 out of 104
  1. Nov 29, 2011
    9
    Most people like to say "AMERICAN HORROR" in the same breath as "WALKING DEAD". Two TV shows about scary things. I'll tell you why AMERICAN HORROR STORY is six times better:

    Story - by far AMERICAN HORROR, a more compelling story arc with great use of setting up mystery with horror along with utilizing flashback's that tie up all questions. It's always entertaining and never dull. Walking Dead feels as if they're dragging out story arcs to the point where there's too much down time. The subplots/love triangles and such side stories are making me feel like I'm watch an episode of Grey's Anatomy. Acting - no doubt AMERICAN HORROR has some the cream of the crop acting. When I watch it, I don't feel like I'm watching someone act the way I do when I watch WALKING DEAD.

    Suspense - not only is every episode of AMERICAN HORROR suspenseful, but almost every other scene is as well!

    Cinematography - every camera angle is well thought out in AMERICAN HORROR. Not only that, but the quality looks better/filmed better: better lights/darks/contrast (not to mention better sound)

    Consistency - there hasn't been a bad episode of AMERICAN HORROR, while there's been plenty of lackluster episodes of WALKING DEAD.

    Opening Credits - i used to think WALKING DEAD had the best opening credits with awesome textures and whatnot... until AMERICAN HORROR came out. Great textured visuals, creepy shaky imagery, dark-audio and twisted editing.

    Sum-up - on paper, i'd choose Walking Dead. But after watching Walking Dead, it's just too much. I love zombies as much as the next person, but I'll be the first to say we all like zombies BUT in small doses: two hour movie... thirty minute zombie scene here... there....etc But not for a season, let alone three. We all loved Newman on Seinfeld. He's the best - in SMALL doses! We wouldnt want a TV series about Newman.
    Full Review »
  2. Oct 6, 2011
    10
    This show did a good job at keeping viewers wanting more. Other than the show "Supernatural", this is the only show with a horror theme on basic cable. The Pilot is one of the best I've seen the fall season so far. This show is an example why well written shows and good actors makes for great television. Full Review »
  3. Dec 14, 2011
    1
    A potpourri of the horror genre cliches, helplessly aimless blundering embarrassment. Frantic - and deadeningly boring at the same time. A waste of everything invested in the project, including the viewers' time. I quit watching it midseason. Full Review »