American Horror Stories

American Horror Stories season 2

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Kristin Smith

TV Series Review

Welcome to a show where terror triumphs, blood abounds, witches wander and horror hovers over every surface. Cue American Horror Stories. 

When A Story Isn’t It

Most people know of the FX series, American Horror Story, which creator Ryan Murphyfirst pushed to the public in 2011; a show that capitalized on blood, gore, sex and horror and pushed the limits of what should be allowed on television. 

American Horror Stories, a 2021 spinoff, is comparatively lesser known–and quite a bit different.

The original AHS was known for its stand-alone seasons. Each new season brought a new story to viewers (albeit with often the same actors playing different characters). But American Horror Stories is what it sounds like: stories

That means that every episode presents a new plot with new cast members. and while sometimes those stories are actually pieces of a greater story arc, each episode really can, and does, stand alone. But like its predecessor, it still stands in a pool of blood.

The very first episode in Season Two is as demented as is to be expected. It features a woman who interviews for the position as secretary to a famous toymaker. Turns out this toymaker really wants a wife for his son–but the only way to find the perfect wife, he believes, is to place a bunch of women in a room, have them perform as dolls and kill off those who aren’t perfect. 

In this case, a lack of perfection leads to blood, gore, terror and death. And while this is only the first episode of the second season, the previous season tells us that all of this is normal and that it may only get worse from here. 

Profane language is a given, nudity and sexual interactions abound and witchcraft and Scriptures from the Bible are sprinkled throughout. This successor to FX’s perennial hit is a horror indeed.

Episode Reviews

Jul. 21, 2022–S2, Ep1 “Dollhouse”

In 1961 in Natchez, Mississippi, Coby Dellum interviews for a position as secretary to the famous toymaker, Mr. Van Wirt. What begins as an interview turns into a nightmare as Coby is kidnapped by Mr. Van Wirt and forced to perform strict tasks with other women–all dressed as dolls. 

Mr. Van Wirt tells his son and Coby that “when God formed man, he was looking for perfection.” He also says that as Christians, “our job is to meet challenges head on.” 

Coby and other women are trapped inside a life-size doll house, where they must perform to stay alive. Those who do not perform to perfection are either shocked or stabbed, and then thrown down a well to their death. Van Wirt presses an iron into Coby’s hand. Women are shot and killed as blood spews in all directions. Van Wirt places Coby under a human doll machine (a torture device) in order to make her perfect (we see her writhing, and later she appears with a porcelain doll face). 

Coby has the ability to move toys and other objects with her mind, something a fellow “doll” calls voodoo. Coby tells Van Wirt’s son, Otis, that people in her town who knew of this power believed she had a demon inside her. Later, two witches appear and rescue Coby while setting the dollhouse on fire. 

Mr. Van Wirt finds his wife naked, and having sex with a man (we see a blurreed but topless Mrs. Van Wirt and a naked man from the waist up). He gags them both, shocks them repeatedly and throws them down a well. 

The f-word is used three times and the s-word is heard six times.

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kristin-smith
Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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