Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk team up for this new psychosexual
By Mekeisha Madden Toby Special to MSN TV
TV super-producer Ryan Murphy ("Glee"
and Nip/Tuck") isn't one to kowtow to critics, but he wants his
new psychosexual drama, "American
Horror Story," to be a hit. So when critics recently said the pilot had too
much going on, Murphy went back and toned down the first episode.
In order to drum up even more buzz, FX, Murphy and his writing and producing
partner, Brad Falchuk, screened the show's second installment last week for
another set of critics and answered questions afterward.
The unsettling but entertaining episode unpacks more of the house's violent
and bloody history and is all about home invasions. Here's what Murphy -- who
far out-talked Falchuk -- had to say about the show's origins, scene-stealer
Lange and the show's special two-part Halloween episode.
Ryan Murphy: We were working on this idea three years ago before we did
"Glee." And then we sort of put this on hold, but we always loved the idea of
it. Even before we had the idea of doing a horror show, we had the idea of
infidelity and how that can destroy you and haunt you. From that idea we built
the rest of the series. The specific idea of all the episodes, for the most
part, is "What are we the most afraid of right now in society?" And one of the
universal ideas that everybody was really terrified of was the idea of people
breaking into your house. That was the impetus for this episode. We're really
not interested in a slasher series. We're really trying to talk about and write
about fears in society.
You guys have two iconic Hitchcock scores between the two episodes.
Is that something that you want to continue doing?
Murphy: Bernard Herrmann was always a great influence. He
was involved in some of the great horror movies of all time, and I've always
loved his work. It's incredibly dramatic. One of the things that this show also
does is it pays homage to classic horror films. Brad's favorite movie is "Jaws." My favorite movie is
"Network," followed closely by "Don't Look
Now." That was our childhood. My favorite experience with my grandparents
was watching "Dark Shadows." It was a very seminal feeling for me peeking out
behind the chair and loving the feeling of being scared. So I'm sure the "Dark Shadows" influence will show up on this show.
We're paying tribute to all sorts of great horror influences.
What did you use as a template?
Murphy: We really have no template. I guess you could say the tone is like
"The Night Stalker," a show I was obsessed with as
a kid. ("American Horror Story") is very, very different but it has that quality
where you really feel something at the end of it. At the end of every episode, I
remember that feeling of being scared. We didn't want to do a werewolf show --
although a werewolf dealing with infidelity would be fantastic -- we wanted to
do something sort of modern and sexual that has its own life.