Bring out your Dead

Posted in News with tags , on April 10, 2014 by bluefall8

It was a long and bitter winter here in Michigan, as it was throughout much of the Midwest and Northeast. Finally, the weather seems to have taken a turn for the better and spring is beginning to manifest. For months, everything outside my walls was frozen solid but inside, Horrorlust kept the fires lit with various projects that are starting to bear fruit.

Readers will notice some changes, most notably to the sidebar which has undergone a much needed reorganization. The most important and useful change is in regard to how reviews can now be accessed; instead of scrolling down the page in what seemed an endless sea of posts, users can now use the Categories drop down box to easily navigate the various posts on Horrorlust. As you’ll notice reviews are now sorted by year and haunt.

I’m tinkering with other smaller features as well, so you’ll likely continue to notice changes over the coming weeks. This is all part of an effort to highlight the best content on the blog and provide a more comprehensive experience for the haunt fiends who dwell herein.

Some of you know that prior to Horrorlust I wrote similar content under the title, Hallowblog. This forerunner was in existence from 2006-2010 and although some of the entries that were apart of Hallowblog have been referenced on occasion, none of those formative posts have been shared on Horrorlust in their original form. This is something I plan to correct going forward; although I won’t simply post all of the old entries at once. I’ll slowly post them over the course of many months, likely providing a little back story with each as to provide context.

On a final note, I’d like to point out that early in the 2012 haunt season I began to write each individual review as a separate post. Prior to this I would often write reviews for an entire outing, for instance, if we had gone to three haunts in one night I would write one massive review divided by sections for each location. This review from 2011 is a good example of that: Thrills & Chills Dominate Hilda’s, Feargrounds and The Boneyard! This practice however resulted in reviews that I felt were simply too exhausting for most people to enjoy; so I made the decision to house each review within its own post.

2013 Horrorlust Haunt Awards

Posted in Awards with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2014 by bluefall8

The 2013 field was full of worthy nominees and after much consideration, I’m prepared to unveil the 2013 Horrorlust Haunt Awards.

2013 Horrorlust Haunt Awards Banner

Rotten Pumpkin – The Rotten Pumpkin award is given to the haunt considered to be the most disappointing of the season. Disappointment may be the result of an over hyped marketing campaign or the failure of the haunt to live up to expectations set forth in previous seasons. Whatever the case may be let there be no doubt that the haunt receiving this unwanted distinction truly dropped the ball, failing to provide a worthwhile show.

2013 Rotten Pumpkin: Scream Machine

Dishonorable Mention: 3-Story Haunted Barn (Blake’s)

The Scream Machine is now the first attraction to earn this undesired distinction twice; in consecutive years no less. It pains me to say that this selection was a no-brainer. The Scream Machine didn’t merely slip this year, instead the once respected haunt nosedived into an ugly downward spiral. The cast was unprofessional, listless and undoubtedly one of the very worst we’ve encountered. The design of the haunt was uninteresting, repetitive, and creatively bankrupt.

 

Eerie Vibrations – The Eerie Vibrations award is given to the haunt considered to exude the best overall atmosphere. Atmosphere is defined by the mood of the haunt itself but can also be fostered by immediate grounds or even the surrounding area.

2013 Eerie Vibrations: Village of the Living Dead

Honorable Mention: Terrorfied Forest (Terrorfied Forest & Manor)

Village of the Living Dead seemed to pulse with a special kind of energy from the moment we crossed the threshold of the haunt. The mixture of dense fog, orchestral music and subterranean passages produced a surreal, claustrophobic adrenaline rush.

 

Dark Horse – The Dark Horse award is given to the haunt considered to have the most potential for growth. Criteria for this award include the ability to deliver an entertaining show at a relatively small venue and at a reduced rate. Think of the Dark Horse award as the Horrorlust’s way of recognizing the little haunt that could.

2013 Dark Horse: Bloodbath on Biddle

Honorable Mention: Realm of Haunted Minds

The Wyandotte Jaycees took full advantage of the old City Hall building and in doing so, provided  guests with a lengthy trip through two levels of haunted rooms and corridors. Bloodbath on Biddle featured creative room design and a slew of warm bodies, actors who proved more capable than in previous seasons. Time and money are luxuries that Jaycees groups simply do not have to waste, the folks at Bloodbath on Biddle deserve a lot of credit for managing their resources wisely.

 

Killer Automatons – The Killer Automatons award is given to the haunt that best integrates animatronics into its attraction. When determining this award several factors are considered including timing, prop placement, realism, and sheer wow effect.

2013 Killer Automatons: Erebus

Honorable Mention: Jackson’s Underworld

House of the Dead’s four year stranglehold on this award has finally been broken as the old king returns to the throne. This is the second Killer Automatons Award for Erebus; the first came in 2008.

 

Monster – The Monster award is given to the haunt considered to have the best live actors of the season. In order to claim this award workers must display a certain level of intensity as well as a refusal to break character. Also crucial is the ability to improvise lines or actions when adapting to an individual guest or group.

2013 Monster: Sinister

Honorable Mention: Exit 13

This award proved to be the most difficult selection of the 2013 season as there were several deserving candidates. In the end however it was the unrelenting, improvisational impresarios of Sinister who grabbed the award for a second consecutive year.

 

Prop Master – The Prop Master award is given to the haunt considered to have best implemented props into the attraction. A prop may be considered a piece of furniture, a weapon, or a dummy. The haunt that claims this award will have paid special attention to placement, function, and realism.

2013 Prop Master: Hillside Mortuary (Terrorfied Forest & Manor)

Honorable Mention: Slaughter House (Slaughter House Adventure)

Hillside Mortuary earned this award in 2013 by offering haunters a trek through fully furnished rooms, complete with eerily posed mannequins. The motionless spooks were ominously frozen throughout the attraction, seemingly captured in moments of life that will live forever. The creepiest of the bunch stood expressionless next to an open casket — I got the chills just thinking about it.

 

Pulse Pounder – The Pulse Pounder award is given to the haunt considered to be the most intense attraction of the season. Intensity can be gauged by a number of factors including commitment of actors, gory or realistic scenes, and harsh or loud music and sound effects. However, the most important element when considering this award is genuine fear factor.

2013 Pulse Pounder: Village of the Living Dead

Honorable Mention: Purgatory’s Revenge

Reminiscent at times of our 2010 trip to Demonic Demons in Detroit, Village of the Living Dead toyed with the senses in various ways. Haunters were forced to crawl, climb, and grope their way through blinding fog and strobe effects. The overall effect produced a major spike in our heart rates.

 

Samhain – This award recognizes the most enjoyable night of haunting in a given season. A plethora of factors are considered when deciding this award but at the end of the season it comes down to the night of haunting that provided us with the most scares, laughs, and memories.

2013 Samhain: October 25, 2013 (Purgatory’s Revenge, Blake’s & Slaughtered at Sundown)

Honorable Mention: November 1, 2013 (Exit 13 & Village of the Living Dead)

We enjoyed a long night of haunting on October 25, when we managed to visit three attractions for the first time. Purgatory’s Revenge was a very good first time effort while the Nighttime Spooky Hayride at Blake’s was a feast for the eyes; meanwhile Slaughtered at Sundown offered classic fundamentals and engrossing scenes.

 

Haunt of the Year – The Haunt of Year award is given to the haunt considered to be the best overall attraction of the season. When deciding on this award several factors are taken into consideration including the timing and intensity of actors, the pace and length of the haunt, attention to detail, use of special effects, realism of props, and most importantly the lasting imprint left on guests.

2013 Haunt of the Year: Hush

Honorable Mention: Erebus

Quite simply, we were highly impressed with the overall effort from the rookie, Hush. The clever theme was leveraged well by Dr. Phineas Phun who highlighted an excellent cast that was full of energy. The scenes and scares varied in type and intensity and that approach produced a common thread of fun and fright that prevailed throughout Hush. It was a welcome surprise in 2013 that left us yearning for more and reminded us once again why we cherish this rite of passage each October.

Horrorlust Haunt Awards: A History

Posted in Awards with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2014 by bluefall8

The haunt awards, like Horrorlust itself, are the result of an evolution. The 2013 crop will be the sixth annual edition for most of the awards — Rotten Pumpkin, Eerie Vibrations, Dark Horse, Killer Automatons, Pulse Pounder, and Monster all debuted following the 2008 haunt season. The Prop Master and Samhain Awards were both added at the conclusion of the 2011 season, thus making this the third consecutive year for those respective distinctions.

The oldest award that we recognize is of course, Haunt of the Year. This award predates Horrorlust, indeed Haunt of the Year goes back even further than Hallowblog, the predecessor to this blog. Not long before I began chronicling all of these wonderful haunted adventures my merry band of travelers and I would simply agree upon the best attraction of the Halloween season. And so you’ll notice that in the annals of Horrorlust, that the Haunt of the Year Award is officially recognized as having originated in 2005.

As an interesting aside, it’s worth noting that these awards were initially called the Haunt Trinity Haunt Awards. If you delve into the depths of past Horrorlust posts you’re sure to come across such a phrase. The Haunt Trinity was a nickname I fashioned once a upon a time for a frequent trio of haunters. The group was comprised of myself, Jason (my older brother), and our good friend John who is sometimes referred to in these posts as the Disco Devil or simply, Disco.

I used to get a kick out of the name; I even spun spur of the moments rhymes about it and haunted attractions but mostly I think it merely served to annoy everybody else. After a time, it was rarely just the three of us participating in the beloved haunt excursions; a half a dozen or more friends and acquaintances regularly rotated in and out on any given night. My brother began to joke that the nickname Haunt Trinity was a misnomer.

A couple of years ago he found work in a new field and his schedule changed drastically; allowing him to partake in the haunted festivities only a time or two per season. This roughly coincided with the advent of Horrorlust and so it has been since 2011 that the annual awards have shared the namesake of this blog.

Readers, if you need a refresher on any of the awards please refer to the other posts under the “Awards” category, where full descriptions are posted. As a historical footnote, it’s worth mentioning that we began to recognize an honorable mention for each award in 2009 although those are not listed in this post. Interested parties are referred to the aforementioned entries found under the “Awards” category.

Fun Fact: No haunted attraction has ever been named Haunt of the Year on more than one occasion. In fact, there exists just two haunted houses that claimed the same award in multiple years. House of the Dead (Terror Town) won the Killer Automatons Award four consecutive years from 2009-2012. Deadly Intentions secured the Monster Award in back-to-back years during the 2008 and 2009 haunt seasons.

 

Rotten Pumpkin

2008: Templin’s Night Terror (Wyandotte Jaycees)

2009: Jackson’s Underworld

2010: Leo’s House of Horror

2011: Anxiety Alley

2012: Scream Machine

 

Eerie Vibrations

2008: Homer Mill

2009: Bowbee’s Nightmare (Haunted Hollows)

2010: The Haunted Farm

2011: Catacombs & The Rusthole (Darksyde Acres)

2012: Bloodview

 

Dark Horse

2008: Realm of Haunted Minds

2009: Extreme Scream

2010: Woods of Darkness

2011: Krazy Hilda’s Barn of Doom

2012: Dimensions of Darkness

 

Killer Automatons

2008: Erebus

2009: House of the Dead (Terror Town)

2010: House of the Dead (Terror Town)

2011: House of the Dead (Terror Town)

2012: House of the Dead (Terror Town)

 

Pulse Pounder

2008: County Morgue (Chainsaw Creek)

2009: Bowbee’s Nightmare (Haunted Hollows)

2010: Demonic Demons

2011: Catacombs & The Rusthole (Darksyde Acres)

2012: Slaughter House (Slaughter House Adventure)

 

Monster

2008: Deadly Intentions

2009: Deadly Intentions

2010: Realm of Darkness

2011: Catacombs & The Rusthole (Darksyde Acres)

2012: Sinister

 

Prop Master

2011: Tent of Terror (The Boneyard)

2012: Barn of Horrors (Erwin Orchards)

 

Samhain

2011: October 14, 2011 (Krazy Hilda’s, Chelsea Feargrounds, The Boneyard)

2012: October 12, 2012 (Erwin Orchards, Slaughter House Adventure, A Nightmare on Elm Road)

 

Haunt of the Year

2005: Nautical Nightmare

2006: Erebus

2007: Realm of Darkness

2008: House of the Dead (Terror Town)

2009: Bowbee’s Nightmare (Haunted Hollows)

2010: Demonic Demons

2011: Catacombs & The Rusthole (Darksyde Acres)

2012: Sinister

2013 Horrorlust Haunt Award Nominations

Posted in Awards with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2014 by bluefall8

As the Transworld Halloween & Attractions Show rolls on in St. Louis; the time as come to recognize the best haunted offerings of the 2013 season. We here at Horrorlust present nine dreadful categories , the original seven include: Monster, Killer Automatons, Eerie Vibrations, Pulse Pounder, Dark Horse, Rotten Pumpkin and finally, Haunt of the Year. In 2011 we added the Prop Master and Samhain Awards.

Below are descriptions for each category accompanied by this years’ nominees. All cities listed in parenthesis are located in the State of Michigan unless otherwise noted.

Rotten Pumpkin – The Rotten Pumpkin award is given to the haunt considered to be the most disappointing of the season. Disappointment may be the result of an over hyped marketing campaign or the failure of the haunt to live up to expectations set forth in previous seasons. Whatever the case may be let there be no doubt that the haunt receiving this unwanted distinction truly dropped the ball, failing to provide a worthwhile show.

2013 Rotten Pumpkin Nominees: 

3-Story Haunted Barn (Blake’s – Armada)

Realm of Darkness (Pontiac)

Scream Machine (Taylor)

Eerie Vibrations - The Eerie Vibrations award is given to the haunt considered to exude the best overall atmosphere. Atmosphere is defined by the mood of the haunt itself but can also be fostered by immediate grounds or even the surrounding area.

2013 Eerie Vibrations Nominees:

Exit 13 (Mt. Morris)

Terrorfied Forest (Terrorfied Forest & Manor – Pinckney)

Village of the Living Dead (St. Charles)

Dark Horse - The Dark Horse award is given to the haunt considered to have the most potential for growth. Criteria for this award include the ability to deliver an entertaining show at a relatively small venue and at a reduced rate. Think of the Dark Horse award as our way of recognizing the little haunt that could.

2013 Dark Horse Nominees:

Bloodbath on Biddle (Wyandotte)

Hillside Mortuary (Terrorfied Forest & Manor – Pinckney)

Realm of Haunted Minds (Romulus)

Killer Automatons - The Killer Automatons award is given to the haunt that best integrates animatronics into its attraction. When determining this award several factors are considered including timing, prop placement, realism, and sheer wow effect.

2013 Killer Automatons Nominees:

Erebus (Pontiac)

Jackson’s Underworld (Jackson)

Realm of Darkness (Pontiac)

Monster - The Monster award is given to the haunt considered to have the best live actors of the season. In order to claim this award workers must display a certain level of intensity as well as a refusal to break character. Also crucial is the ability to improvise lines or actions when adapting to an individual guest or group.

2013 Monster Nominees:

Exit 13 (Mt. Morris)

Hush (Westland)

Sinister (Utica)

Prop Master – The Prop Master award is given to the haunt considered to have best implemented props into the attraction. A prop may be considered a piece of furniture, a weapon, or a dummy. The haunt that claims this award will have paid special attention to placement, function, and realism.

2013 Prop Master Nominees:

Bloodbath on Biddle (Wyandotte)

Slaughter House (Slaughter House Adventure – Fowlerville)

Hillside Mortuary (Terrorfied Forest & Manor – Pinckney)

Pulse Pounder - The Pulse Pounder award is given to the haunt considered to be the most intense attraction of the season. Intensity can be gauged by a number of factors including commitment of actors, gory or realistic scenes, and harsh or loud music and sound effects. However, the most important element when considering this award is genuine fear factor.

2013 Pulse Pounder Nominees:

Exit 13 (Mt. Morris)

Purgatory’s Revenge (New Haven)

Village of the Living Dead (St. Charles)

Samhain – This award recognizes the most enjoyable night of haunting in a given season. A plethora of factors are considered when deciding this award but at the end of the season it comes down to the night of haunting that provided us with the most scares, laughs, and memories.

2013 Samhain Nominees:

October 25, 2013 (Blake’s, Purgatory’s Revenge, Slaughtered at Sundown)

October 30, 2013 (Bloodbath on Biddle, Hush, Scream Machine)

November 1, 2013 (Exit 13 & Village of the Living Dead)

Haunt of the Year - The Haunt of Year award is given to the haunt considered to be the best overall attraction of the season. When deciding on this award several factors are taken into consideration including the timing and intensity of actors, the pace and length of the haunt, attention to detail, use of special effects, realism of props, and most importantly the lasting imprint left on guests.

2013 Haunt of the Year Nominees:

Erebus (Pontiac)

Hush (Westland)

Village of the Living Dead (St. Charles)

For awards from 2010-2012 consult the “Awards” category listed in the sidebar to the right. A comprehensive list of past winners will be posted mid-week with the 2013 winners being released one week from today.

AHS: Season 4, Darksyde Acres Website Update

Posted in News, Pop Culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2014 by bluefall8

Details are scant on American Horror Story season four but most of the latest reports seem to agree that the setting in the next chapter of the FX hit is a carnival. The news was confirmed by series writer and co-executive producer Douglas Petrie during a recent Nerdist Writer’s Panel podcast.

American Horror Story has always provided fans with sleek visuals, a fun mixture of gore and sexuality, and great ensemble casts. If I have one hope, it is that the writing staff can tighten up the plot because a carnival theme has the potential to lend itself brilliantly to this brand of storytelling.

Thus far series stars Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson have reportedly signed on for the project although some publications have suggested that this will be the last go around for the talented Lange.

The new season is set to return to FX in October.

logo-2013-02-07

DARKSYDE REDESIGNED

The indomitable Darksyde Acres has revamped its’ website. The design has been simplified and the end result is a much more user friendly experience. Various social media sites are well integrated and visible on each page. Hell, they’ve even updated their calendar of events for 2014! Far too many attractions neglect to do this basic maintenance until as late as August or September. Kudos to the staff at Darksyde for being ahead of the pack.

Check out the site right here: Darksyde Acres Haunted House

If you’d like to read my past reviews of Darksyde Acres click the link in the right sidebar that reads “Darksyde Acres” located  beneath the Categories section.

2013 Star Ratings

Posted in Star Ratings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2014 by bluefall8

In anticipation of the 2013 Horrorlust Haunt Awards Nominations, I present to any interested parties, a complete list of last season’s ratings. It should be noted that ratings, in and of themselves, do not determine awards.  This list is used primarily as a means of reference for my own archival purposes. I hope you find it enjoyable, nevertheless.

2013 STAR RATINGS

1. Hush – 4.75 (Westland, MI.)

2. Erebus – 4.5 (Pontiac, MI.)

3. Nighttime Spooky Hayride – 4.5 (Blake’s – Armada, MI.)

4. Bloodbath & Beyond Hayride – 4.25 (Slaughter House Adventure – Fowlerville, MI.)

5. Exit 13 – 4.25 (Mt. Morris, MI.)

6. Village of the Living Dead – 4.25 (St. Charles, MI.)

7. Purgatory’s Revenge – 4 (New Haven, MI.)

8. Realm of Haunted Minds – 3.75 (Romulus, MI.)

9. Sinister – 3.75 (Utica, MI.)

10. Haunted Corn Maze – 3.5 (Slaughter House Adventure – Fowlerville, MI.)

11. Slaughtered at Sundown – 3.5 (Aramada, MI.)

12. Bloodbath on Biddle – 3.25 (Wyandotte, MI.)

13. CarnEvil 3D – 3.25 (Pontiac, MI.)

14. Terrorfied Forest – 3.25 (Terrorfied Forest & Manor – Pinckney, MI.)

15. Slaughter House – 3.25 (Slaughter House Adventure – Fowlerville, MI.)

16. Catacombs & The Rusthole – 3 (Darksyde Acres – Jonesville, MI.)

17. Dark Abyss – 3 (Darksyde Acres – Jonesville, MI.)

18. Funeral Home – 3 (Inkster, MI.)

19. Hillside Mortuary – 2.75 (Terrorfied Forest & Manor – Pinckney, MI.)

20. Jackson’s Underworld – 2.75 (Jackson, MI.)

21. Realm of Darkness – 2.75 (Pontiac, MI.)

22. 3 Story Haunted Barn – 2.25 (Blake’s – Armada, MI.)

23. Scream Machine – 0.5 (Taylor, MI.)

American Horror Story: Coven

Posted in Pop Culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2014 by bluefall8

American-Horror-Story-Coven-1I held a couple of marathon sessions over the last few of days and have thus completed American Horror Story: Coven. In doing so, I’ve come away feeling much as I did when Murder House and Asylum had concluded: entertained yet mildly disappointed. Season three succeeded and failed in much the same way that its predecessors did — highlighted by an excellent ensemble cast, high production standards, and a deluge of gore but also plagued by extraneous subplots, needless twists, and a certain disregard for continuity.

GIRL POWERS

I very much enjoyed the early interaction of the four young witches. The girls resembled a bizarro group of super heroins each equipped with a unique power.  I wish the writers would’ve explored this idea a bit more, there were certainly opportunities to do so, instead the audience was treated to a carousel of emotions and alliances that left a lot to be desired.

Emma Robert’s character, Madison Montgomery, was at her best when acting as frenemy but too often the spoiled socialite dominated her peers. Beauty and skill positioned her from the outset as the heir apparent to Fiona’s throne — there was little to be gained from beating the audience over the head with it.

The constant in-fighting also took the sting out of what should’ve been one of the show’s major pivots — Queenie’s betrayal. Her defection to the camp of Voodoo Priestess Marie Laveau  should’ve sent shockwaves through Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, instead it was widely meet with a shrug of the shoulders. Such a setup only made her eventual return to the coven that much less significant.

Zoe was an interesting and likable character but the writers ultimately hedged their bets on her as the main protagonist and in the end I think this strategy diminished the overall story. She was a natural foil for Madison and the ideal character through which to guide the crux of the narrative. She displayed leadership at crucial times — first on Halloween when she single-handedly rescued the coven from a horde of the undead, displaying power that even gave the immortal Marie Laveau reason to pause and consider. It was also Zoe who persisted in finding answers when Madison had gone missing and was ultimately responsible for her resurrection.

Nan was also an interesting character but instead of making a real impact on the story, she was sent on an ill-conceived sidewinder and then unceremoniously killed by the combined efforts of Fiona and Marie Laveau in what was one of the show’s more egregious examples of lazy writing.

Much of this served only to undermine one of the central plot points — the question of the next Supreme.

MOTHER-DAUGHTER DYNAMIC

By and large, I thought the love-hate relationship exhibited by Fiona and Cordelia was believable and followed a logical arc. Fiona was vain, superficial, and often ruthless while Cordelia was practical, thoughtful, and ruled by a sound moral compass. The animosity between the two was palatable with any moments of tenderness accordingly bittersweet. It was fitting that, in the end, Cordelia should succeed Fiona as the next Supreme. However, the road to such an end was filled with frivolous backpedaling. Cordelia’s blinding and subsequent Second Sight should’ve been a crucial turning point, instead it was subjugated with a bit of silliness only to have the whole sequence reset later when Cordelia purposely mutilated herself.

The backstory chronicling the rift between Fiona Goode and Myrtle Snow fit well within the context of the current story. It provided meaningful substance to the butler, Spalding and helped reveal their motivations particularly where the coven and Cordelia were concerned.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE

The story of Misty Day began with intrigue and mystery but by the end of the season, she too, proved to be little more than a pretty distraction. Her initial role as loner Swamp Witch with a green thumb was enjoyable and thought provoking. I think this character would’ve better served the story had this limited, subtle approach been minded. Instead she was pulled in and out of the main thread and ultimately suffered a wholly unsatisfying and undeserved death.

Other than serving as a wedge between Madison and Zoe, Kyle was a fairly pointless and depressing character. His arc was slow and plodding and I was never truly sold on the girls motivation to resurrect him in the first place. The episodes that chronicled his return home and his incestuous relationship with his mother were an excellent example of the writers penchant to shoehorn shock and taboo into the show for what felt like nothing more than kicks and giggles.

I also felt like the entire angle with Hank and the Delphi Trust was poorly constructed and served only to detract from both the drama surrounding the next Supreme and the long held feud between the coven and Maire Laveau’s lot. The notion that Cordelia, as the Headmistress of a clandestine school for witches, would in such a cavalier fashion allow any man to learn her most intimate secrets is absurd.

It is made clear on several occasions that Fiona, Laveau, and all of witchdom are aware of the presence of witch hunters and indeed the audience is led to believe that this enemy possess a serious threat to the survival of such. And yet all it took was a half-cocked plan by Fiona, Leveau, and the Axeman to eliminate the threat completely. Thirteen episodes simply wasn’t enough to properly explore this particular tangent and the end result left much to be desired.

Another element that AHS: Coven should’ve omitted entirely was the weird, jarring guest appearances by singer, Stevie Nicks. Her presence in the story was a little too unbelievable and the music video-esque sequence during the season finale some how managed to be surreal and hokey simultaneously, a rare and unwelcome mixture. That being said, I did find the use of various Fleetwood Mac songs throughout the season to be an appropriate and enjoyable theme.

GOVERNING THE DEAD

The producers and writers of American Horror Story should make more of an effort to define the rules governing the dead. It seems they simply play fast and loose with any such rules whenever it should suit their needs. The Axeman, for instance, was brought to his demise by the coven in 1919 and then lingered as a spirit in the house until he was released in the present.

And in this narrative a spirit being released apparently has the power to render them flesh and blood once more. His involvement with Fiona over the second half of the season opened up a lot of vague speculation. Supernatural elements aside, it’s just too much of a stretch for me to believe that his apartment would’ve been left untouched after all of these years.

Spalding’s supernatural interaction was another example in which a character who is dead could seemingly become flesh and blood when the moment was convenient. His ridiculous plot to rid the house of Leveau with the help of Delphine was a great illustration of this. Why go through the rigamarole that he did if in the end, as a ghost, he was simply able to bash Laveau over the head with a physical object.

It was stupid, sloppy writing and difficult to overlook the fact that dead people can, when needed,  interact with other characters as if they were alive and indeed had never died at all.

A BLOODY, DISCOMBOBULATED END

Despite the numerous flaws,  American Horror Story: Coven was, if nothing else, grossly entertaining. The New Orleans flavor provided a distinct and appropriate backdrop for the events of this story to play out on. The musical selections, including Lauren O’Connell’s cover of House of the Rising Sun  and this season’s haunting refrain, supported and scored the New Orleans ambience quite well.

I hope that going forward the writers and producers can direct more of their creative energy into constructing a cohesive plot from beginning to end, and focus less on the myriad ways in which to cram shock value into the show. It seems to me that the final third of each installment of American Horror Story divulged into rampant butchery that ultimately resulted in an unspooling yarn.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.