WHERE THIS EVIL HAILS FROM: American Horror Story: Murder House
WHY THIS EVIL MADE ME FILLE THE FEAR: When American Horror Story debuted on FX in fall 2011, most people were unsure what to expect. A striking visual campaign raised interest without giving away many details of what exactly the show would be about. In the series’ first scene, it became clear that creator Ryan Murphy was in a different dimension from his previous works. When troublemaking twins enter an abandoned house, the feeling of foreboding is palpable. The scene introduces a creature that is not fully seen until later episodes even as it darts through frames each week.
So terrifying it actually scares a mean girl into having white hair, the Infanta registered a creepy level that I hadn’t previously experienced as an adult. The show was smart in only showing snippets of the monster, allowing the imagination to run wild about this slashing, infant incarnation of evil. Its origin story, revealed late in the season, is chilling and sickening, validating the fear that had built up all season.
HOW THIS EVIL STILL DOES: Now entering the fourth installment of the American Horror Story anthology, Murphy has given viewers a spectrum of villains. Nazi doctors, possessed nuns, carnivorous creatures, twisted Southern belles, jazz-loving axe murderers–the list is endless. Yet the Infanta stands out to me as it set the tone for what American Horror Story has become. That opening scene of the first episode, followed by the bizarre and horrifying opening credits with the doll parts (seen below), has stayed with me even as I have seen the twisted worlds Murphy continues to manifest. That is real horror.