Glee fans, this one may not be for you. To paraphrase series co-creator and executive producer Ryan Murphy, if Nip/Tuck was about transformation, and Glee is about underdogs, his next show, American Horror Story, is a portrait of marriage.
Well, that and other things that should scare the sh-- out of you.
The show, Murphy's first since Glee, introduces us to the fragile Harmon family: Ben (Dylan McDermott), a therapist, and his wife Vivien (Connie Britton) move with their daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga) to Los Angeles after Ben makes a terrible mistake that jeopardizes their family. The only problem? Their maybe-haunted new house may not be the best place to start over.
Murphy and series co-creator and executive producer Brad Falchuk unveiled a rough cut of the first episode of the FX show to TV reporters Tuesday, describing it as a "psychosexual thriller." "The monster in the closet is infidelity," Murphy said. Falchuk said they were inspired by horror films from the 1960s and '70s like Rosemary's Baby and Don't Look Now. (Murphy and Falchuk are busy men these days; they plan to continue to work on both American Horror Story and Season 3 of Glee.)
Here's what you can expect to see from American Horror Story. Mild spoilers ahead:
No, seriously, this is a horror show. Don't ignore the sure-to-be-prominently-displayed TV-MA rating: This show isn't for everyone, and certainly not for younger Glee fans. "It's a really scary piece in many ways," Britton said, adding that she was both "impressed and scared to death by [Murphy and Falchuk's] vision." To be sure, American Horror Story requires a strong stomach. In the first episode alone, we'll see vivid depictions of murder, at least two possible sexual assaults, a homicidal Victorian-era infant, an enigmatic man in a rubber suit, a grotesque burn victim, angry twin redheads, demonic murals and children smoking cigarettes!
Wait, a man in what kind of rubber suit? The kind that is worn during sex, which you'll see a lot of on this show. As Ben and Vivien attempt to repair their marriage, various sexual temptations arise, including a mysterious housekeeper, the aforementioned besuited man and, well, masturbation.
Tami Taylor is gone without a trace. Friday Night Lights fans, be warned: Britton's supportive, "y'all"-spouting housewife does not live here. Instead Vivien is a cold, remote woman scorned recovering from a gruesome miscarriage.
No vampire or werewolf types lurk, but the house seems to be a magnet for the damned and unhinged. Constance (Jessica Lange), a very nosy neighbor who speaks with a noxious Southern drawl, appears to know an awful lot about the house's history, but isn't exactly forthcoming with anything resembling a warning. Her mentally challenged daughter Adelaide, regularly dooms the house's occupants to death with a shy giggle. Larry, aka "The Burn Guy" (Denis O'Hare), stalks the Harmons with dubious intentions. Moira (Frances Conroy), the family's officious housekeeper, has very different rapport with Ben and Vivien.
Any shades of Glee at all? Well, there's music, you just won't exactly want to sing along. Take the benign 1956 Patience and Prudence ditty "Tonight You Belong To Me," which takes on a decidedly darker tone when you hear it echoing through the darkened corners of the Harmons' terrifying basement... which is where the baby with bloody fangs and claws lives.
American Horror Story is slated to premiere Wednesday, Oct 5 at 10/9c on FX.