‘American Horror Story’ Review: “Open House”

Posted November 17, 2011 by @Angelized_1st in American Horror Story, Article, Television / 0 Comments

Alert! Spoilers ahead!

The Harmons tried to unload the Murder House, while we learned more about the sordid pasts of Larry, Constance, and the Montgomery family.

One of the things I love about American Horror Story is the way the show slowly peels away the layers of the story. Each week we learn something new while also receiving answers to questions previously posed. Many shows tend to drag out the mystery hoping to keep viewers guessing, but this show generally wraps up at least one mystery a week.

As the first owners of the house, Dr. Montgomery and his wife Nora believed they would have a fairy-tale life. Unfortunately for them the fairy-tale turned into a horror story. We watch as the good doctor and his wife fall from society’s elite into addiction and madness. As parents of a murdered child, Charles and Nora each attempt to numb the pain in their own way. Charles with drugs, and Nora with the house. Since this theme of loss reverberates though the years with each owner of the home, one has to wonder if their story acted as a “curse” to any who own Murder House. Is anyone ever truly free?

Many shows might have revealed the Montgomery story in the pilot, but slowly handing out pieces of their story has allowed viewers to theorize, adding to the fun of viewing the series. This is a terrific device for a show like American Horror Story to use since they are constantly giving background on the previous tenants.

American Horror Story Promo: "Open House"

For weeks viewers have speculated that Larry had gone insane and murdered is family by setting fire to the house, causing himself to be burned in the process. We were wrong! Turning viewers’ perceptions on their head is what this show does brilliantly.

Larry’s obsession with Constance cause him to lose his family. Sadly, Larry truly believed she loved him, but he was only a pawn in her scheme to get back into the house. Now that we understand how the house works (somewhat), Constance’s motives are understandable. What parent that has lost a child wouldn’t want to see them again? It’s this wish that keeps Constance tied to the house, and Larry’s love for her that binds him. Is anyone ever truly free?

While learning more about the previous tenants who are constantly popping up in some capacity, we are given more insight into the Harmons. Some of the stories run parallel to what is currently happening with this family, but others quite possibly are giving hints to their future if they stay in the home.

Knowing that something isn’t quite right with their new home the Harmons have an “Open House” hoping to unload it so they can move on with their lives. From what we know of the surviving owners, will the Harmons ever truly be free?

Violet seems to be asking this question as she delves deeper into the home’s past. Now that she has her eyes open, she is able to see the house for what it is. How this will help her survive is beyond me since I doubt she will. If we know anything about this place, it’s that children who live there have a high mortality rate. If history does repeat itself, quite possibly it will be Violet’s death that binds Ben and Vivien to the home.

Everyone seems to have their own agenda where the Murder House is concerned. Some want to be free, while some can’t bear to let go. I want to believe that the Harmon family will beat the odds, but I won’t bet my life on it.


  • Hearing the end to the Montgomery story that was told in “Murder House” (1×03).
  • Ben and Viv showing concern for Violet.
  • Violet discovering the old Montgomery family photographs, and the consequences of the discovery.


  • Vivien’s weird sex dream. Was that really necessary?

Favorite Quote:

Marcie: “Why don’t we just throw in a ticket for the Murder Tour in conjunction with the deed to the house?”


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