Terrifying Television

Every once in a while, a television series will come around and peak my interest. In 1995, at the tender age of thirteen, American Gothic aired on CBC and I can honestly say that there wasn’t another show (at the time) to which it could be compared. It only lasted a season, but is still one of my favorite shows today. In October, the FX Network premiered a brand new show called “American Horror Story” and it’s quickly becoming my new addiction.

The story centers around the Harmon family who has recent packed up all of their belongs and moved across the country, to escape both a family tragedy and betrayal. Settling in Los Angeles, they purchase a beautifully restored mansion with a sordid past. While forced by law to inform the buyers of any tragedies that have happened within its walls, the realtor shares only the most recent death in a long list of people who have had their lives abruptly cut short. It seems that no one survives the ‘Murder House’ as it’s aptly called.

I don’t want to give too much away, because the story weaves itself intricately between each episode and any hinting might spoil some of the more interesting reveals, but what I will share is some of the interesting characters (both living and dead) who cannot escape the horror and history of the famed home.

Ben Harmon

Father. Husband. Psychiatrist. Cheater. Scumbag. It’s really hard to have any sort of sympathy for a man who betrays his wife by sleeping with one of his young, attractive students not long after she’s suffered from a horrendously traumatic miscarriage. Ben pushes Vivian to move his family across the country to start all over, to get away from Hayden (the lover), but he never seems able to shake his treacherous ways, especially with the house sinking its teeth into him.

Vivian Harmon

Mother. Wife. Slowly Going Crazy. Despite the awful things (and there are many) that happen to her over the course of the first season, it’s difficult to peg her as a victim. Reluctantly agreeing to make the move with her family, she refuses to simply accept the devious deeds that her husband has committed. Loving and kind, but always wary, she’s one of the first to notice that something is not right in the house, even insisting that it’s time to move when the truth slowly begins to reveal itself.

Violet Harmon

Daughter. Moody. Smart. Too Curious for her own Good. Being the only child of a marriage in tatters is enough to make a girl unhappy, but paired with being forced to move across the country, will stir rebellion. Claiming her mother weak for forgiving her father for his adultery, Violet is strongly opposed to the house, that is until the mystery and secrets locked within its walls start to show themselves. A loner until Tate befriends her, she’s best described as sarcastic and fearless, never shying away from danger or confrontation.


Ghost. Sex Bomb. Old Maid. One of many phantoms that linger within the Murder House, but the first to reveal herself to the audience. Seen as the generous and kind matriarchal housekeeper to most, she offers advice to those who seek it out. For men led astray? She appears as the sexually charged and devious siren, looking to lure any man into her webs. Trapped to the home and forced to serve, it’s sometimes difficult to figure out what motivates this spirit, but she’s fascinating nonetheless.

Constance & Adelaide

Strange. Deranged. Belle of the Ball. She purports to be gentle and goodnatured but can be cutting and rude. Regardless of how peculiar she is, one thing that shouldn’t be questioned is her love for her children. Adelaide is one of many that is uncovered throughout the show, but her only daughter. While not one of the ghosts that haunt the house, Constance seems to have a history with it and the residents – an obsession with what happens within it and who it affects. Are her warnings of the terror found within genuine or does she have her own agenda?

Tate Langdon

Sad. Lonely. Psychotic. A patient of Dr. Harmon’s who frequents the house and becomes quickly enamoured with his daughter. A danger not only to himself, but to others as well, he’s known for being deceptive and cruel. Violet is offered a softer, almost gentle version of himself, but he can only keep the beast that lurks within him at bay for so long. His actions are sadistic and perverse, his intentions for the house and those who inhabit it are pure evil.

Season One of the television series has ended and with the promise of another on the way, this show is highly recommended for any fan of mystery, horror and suspense!

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