American Horror Story: Murder House (2011)

SEASON:

Murder House
American Horror Story

Critics Consensus

Convoluted yet effective, American Horror Story is strange, gory, and twisted enough to keep viewers hooked.

72%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 40

84%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2405

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 5, 2011

Bostonians Ben and Vivien Harmon (Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton) and their teen daughter, Violet (Taissa Farmiga), move into a haunted LA. mansion in the series premiere of a violent, erotically charged horror story about a troubled family. Ben and Vivien are seeking a fresh start following a miscarriage and marital infidelity, and they got the 1920s Victorian-style house for a song. But the previous occupants died in a murder-suicide, and that's only sign No. 1 that something's amiss.

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Air date: Oct 12, 2011

Vivien and Violet get caught in a dangerous situation strangely similar to one from the house's past. Meanwhile, Ben returns to Boston to put an end to a dark chapter in his life. But first, he sees a patient who has nightmares about being cut in half. He also refuses to treat Tate anymore because of the teen's feelings for Violet.

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Air date: Oct 19, 2011

After deciding to sell the house, Vivien learns about its first residents. Meanwhile, Ben's visitor causes him to unravel even more; and Constance and Moira's histories are revealed.

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Air date: Oct 26, 2011

Part 1 of 2. It's Halloween, and the line between the living and the dead blurs at the mansion, where two previous residents (Zachary Quinto and Teddy Sears) offer the Harmons advice. One suggestion: get rid of the gazebo in the back. Meanwhile, Tate fills Violet in on some of the house's history; and Addy decides that she wants to go to the Harmons' Halloween party as "a pretty girl."

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Air date: Nov 2, 2011

Conclusion. Before Halloween night is over, Tate comes face-to-face with his past (and Violet gets a glimpse of it), and Ben and Vivien are haunted by a new houseguest. Vivien also has an unpleasant encounter with Chad (Zachary Quinto). And Ben has it out with Larry Harvey in front of the gazebo.

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Air date: Nov 9, 2011

Constance enlists Violet's help in dealing with Tate while Ben helps a new patient (Eric Stonestreet) confront his fears.

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Air date: Nov 16, 2011

Moira persuades a prospective buyer to make an offer, but Constance and Larry try to undermine her efforts. Meanwhile, Vivien and Luke (Morris Chestnut) grow closer.

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Air date: Nov 23, 2011

The identity of the man in the rubber suit is revealed.

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Air date: Nov 30, 2011

The Black Dahlia (Mena Suvari), a famous Hollywood murder victim from the 1940s, visits the house. Meanwhile, Constance discovers more of Tate's bad behavior.

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Air date: Dec 7, 2011

Violet learns about the rules of the house; the explanation for Larry's condition emerges; and Constance is questioned by police.

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American Horror Story: Murder House Photos

Tv Season Info

The first season of Ryan Murphy's "American Horror Story" begins as Ben (Dylan McDermott), Vivien (Connie Britton), and their daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga) move into a restored mansion in Los Angeles after Ben's extramarital affair leaves the Harmon family in serious need of a fresh start. Their neighbour, Constance Langdon (a role which would eventually win Jessica Lange the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress), wastes no time in becoming a persistent, albeit not entirely welcome presence in their lives, as does her son, Tate (Evan Peters), who Ben believes is a sociopath. Shortly after moving in, the Harmons discover that several violent murders were committed in their new home, which locals have nicknamed "The Murder House", and a series of increasingly disturbing events indicate they may be sharing their home with the restless and violent spirits of those killed.

News & Interviews for American Horror Story: Murder House

Critic Reviews for American Horror Story Murder House

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (23)

Engrossing and genuinely scary.

Oct 5, 2011 | Full Review…
Top Critic

It feels more like the place where old horror movies have come to die.

Oct 5, 2011 | Full Review…

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.

Oct 5, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

This gourmet junk food gives you some pure evil, and it takes some axes to some evildoers, and the American type represented has a predilection for French maids. Bon appetit.

Oct 5, 2011 | Full Review…
Top Critic

It's a lot to process, and at times too much to take. Still, Horror Story often is a wonder.

Oct 5, 2011 | Rating: B | Full Review…
Top Critic

Amusing to watch, but not particularly scary. "Creepy" seems the better word.

Oct 5, 2011 | Rating: B | Full Review…
Top Critic

There is no inherent value to AHS.

Feb 24, 2020 | Full Review…

For a first season, it wasn't that bad.

Jun 26, 2018 | Full Review…

To Murphy and Falchuk's credit, the brisk tempo serves the multiple converging plotlines well, allowing weirdness to befall everyone in their own unique way, while producing a myriad of questions for the viewer to ponder.

Oct 5, 2011 | Full Review…

Prime time is so full of mainstream pabulum these days that when a work as audacious and ambitious as American Horror Story comes along, some of us feel compelled to embrace it. Most TV shows quickly fade from memory. This one will haunt your dreams.

Sep 30, 2011 | Full Review…

In truth, even many adults might not be ready for the show's frank depiction of everyday horrors that we'd too often rather forget.

Oct 5, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

American Horror Story is beginning its run with problems, but enough goes right to give this twisted terror tale the ghost of a chance (several ghosts, in fact).

Oct 2, 2011 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for American Horror Story: Murder House

  • Oct 05, 2020
    American Horror Story: Murder House is full of ghosts and terrors, but ends up feeling a little bland.
  • Sep 20, 2020
    This is the first time I watch AHS , for a first season, this is a very strong plot and great performances , though it didn't overpass my expectations it is a very watchable show for anyone who loves getting a spook every once in a while.
  • Jul 16, 2020
    Una historia muy interesante que mezcla muy bien el horror y drama con un buen desarrollo de personajes .
  • Jul 03, 2020
    Twisted storytelling and character development make this a thought-provoking and curious first season. It isn't your typical horror, instead building to an emotional horror that can sometimes make you feel uncomfortable in your own skin. The entire season is a dreamlike montage of human nature: motherhood, aggression, innocence, lust, and longing.
  • May 25, 2020
    It was good, I enjoyed it but can be a bit boring at times
  • May 21, 2020
    Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk introduce a great story, establishing the series' own identity, emotion and wonderful performances.
  • Apr 18, 2020
    Good season but not anything new until the end.
  • Mar 28, 2020
    I used to be so pumped over the whole premise of ‘American Horror Story' even after finally binge-watching it in the mid-2010s when the whole Tumblr pop cult-ure scene was beginning to die out. For a primetime TV show, the thought of salacious murder, urban legends, the supernatural, and all kinds of bizarre shit in the mix stirred my fucking loins for media consumption. The program bred a new wave of weirdness for many young watchers to occupy themselves with behind the generally safe confines of this age where serial murderers and cult activities either began to die out or has gotten way less visceral. There was something so transgressive about subjects and themes meant to shock but barely rattling the genre on the surface. While "Murder House" set the tone for the seasons that followed, it also introduced us to the auspicious (and sometimes, more surprising than the plots themselves) casting the show have been known for. All the trademarks of the controversial Ryan Murphy, of course. There's a quality to AHS where the essence of each episode reminds you that it's all fiction and there's nothing convincing about all this no matter how almost compelling the plot eventually winds down to nor how occasionally good the acting is. It's a very campy horror dark comedy; I describe it like that without sounding too redundant. This may be nothing unheard of but for the most part, Jessica Lange seemed too good for this show, despite how okay enough it is as it is. Murphy dipped his paintbrush into blood and guts of pop culture references, borderline historical events and figures, and even creepypasta to create what I suspect will be a cult favourite in half a century or so, when they all look back and see what sort of weird shit we were all up to.
  • Jan 18, 2020
    Great season! I'm not a huge Dylan McDermott fan, I find him kind of petty and annoying in this, but maybe thats the point - but his voice grates on me. Other than that the cast is amazing, every story-line is compelling & there are a few surprises too. Worth re-watching!
  • Jan 02, 2020
    First time watching it. It was great! Took me a couple of episodes to understand how the show goes. It's really solid once you figure it out.

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