American Horror Story "Spooky Little Girl" TV REVIEW

In which we get to peek at the Pope's box

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.

In which we get to peek at the Pope's box

THE ONE WHERE The Black Dahlia turns up; Hayden kills Constance’s toy boy; and we learn that Vivien’s twins have different fathers.

VERDICT Well, that was an exhilarating ride, packed with sex, violence and the bitchy face-offs in which the show specialises, and the ending had real gravitas and a sense of high stakes.

Looking back, though, I’m struggling to explain why much of it happened. Why suddenly toss in Elizabeth Short, the infamous murder victim dubbed the Black Dahlia (who, we learn, died in the murder house)? Why Hayden’s transformation into a murderous preying mantis? The motivations of the characters have become so changeable and downright bizarre that I’m starting to forget why they’re fucking and killing people moments after they do.

So what was it all about? What was the point? I’m not sure it matters too much. It’s kinda like questioning what the point was of drinking those eight tequilas last night. The great thing about American Horror Story is that there’s always something happening – usually something borderline perverse or faintly troubling – and so much of it that it’s impossible to get bored. In that respect, it certainly beats watching Rick Grimes and co shooting at tin cans.

Is making use of the true-life case of a real-life murder victim in this context of dubious taste? Well, quite probably. One wonders exactly how many years have to pass before a murder victim can be made to cavort on a couch with another woman for the purposes of audience titillation (that scene really didn’t serve any other function, did it?). But then, arguably most of the damage was done long ago, when the tabloids mythologised Short into the Black Dahlia. And most of us are guilty to some degree of thinking that a body that’s turned to dust warrants less respect than a warm corpse.

IT’S WOSSERNAME! Thirteen years on, Mena Suvari (Elizabeth Short) is probably still best known for her role in American Beauty . What happened to her? How the hell did she end up starring in that dire Day Of The Dead remake?

PHRASE OF THE DAY “Heteropaternal superfecundation” . I can’t stop singing it to the tune of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” . You have to stretch it out a bit, though. Doesn’t really scan properly.

FINALLY! Ben sees old-lady Moira! Hurrah! Although I’m slightly disappointed that it didn’t happen mid-shag, Misfits -style. Not that that floats my boat, you understand - it just would have been appropriately freaky.

TOP TUNE It was so great to hear Dusty Springfield’s “Spooky” that we’ll overlook the cheesiness of using it to soundtrack the Hayden/Travis sex. He’s alive, she’s a ghost, it’s a “spooky kind of love” – DO YOU SEE? YES, WE GOT IT, THANKS, VERY CLEVER.

BEST LINES All the Carry On Dentist innuendo about “filling her cavities”.

I an Berriman

Read all our American Horror Story season one reviews .

American Horror Story airs in the UK on FX, on Monday nights at 10.00pm.

More info

Available platformsTV
Deputy Editor, SFX

Ian Berriman has been working for SFX – the world's leading sci-fi, fantasy and horror magazine – since March 2002. He also writes for Total Film, Electronic Sound and Retro Pop; other publications he's contributed to include Horrorville, When Saturday Comes and What DVD. A life-long Doctor Who fan, he's also a supporter of Hull City, and live-tweets along to BBC Four's Top Of The Pops repeats from his @TOTPFacts account.