I finally got around to watching my first episode of “American Horror Story” last night; I started with this season’s critically praised premiere. (People have been enthusiastically recommending this show to me for years, and “Game of Thrones” taught me that the bandwagon isn’t always a bad thing.)
I can’t say that I was overly impressed. Season 7’s opening episode, entitled “Election Night,” consists mostly of heavy-handed political commentary with caricaturized portrayals of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton supporters. Nearly none of the characters are likable; not even the one played by the terrific Evan Peters. (Yes, comics fans, that’s none other than Quicksilver from the latest “X-Men” movies.)
There is a lot of “scary clown” horror here, as anyone who’s seen any marketing for the show at all should know. Between that and the political elements, I suspect I am not the right audience for this show. I simply find clowns obnoxious instead of scary, and political commentary in horror usually falls flat with me. (I’m the rare horror fan who loves George A. Romero’s work only because it’s scary, without caring much about the social statements he’s supposedly making.)
With all of that said, there actually were a couple of creepy moments late in the game. And there was one (as of yet, minor) character that I liked — the child of the liberal couple who were so devastated by the election results. He’s cute, and any kid who hides parentally forbidden horror comics under his pillow is one of my tribe.
I’d somewhat grudgingly rate this a 5 out of 10.
Anyway … scary clowns are ubiquitous now, and we already have the zombie shows we need. I propose that we bring back … body snatchers. Those can be terrifying in the hands of a talented writer, and they require no special effects. Or, what about vampires? Now that “The Strain” has concluded, how about a well written television excursion into Steve Niles’ “30 Days of Night” universe? Or maybe a “Stakeland” TV show? Looking at you, AMC.