AHS: Murder House

Back in 2011, American Horror Story was getting a ton of Emmy buzz. There was no subtitle attached to the original series, and it was simply American Horror Story. The nominations pegged the show as a miniseries, which intrigued me as the series was twelve episodes long, a number that is rather absurd for the format. As the next couple of years progressed the show became a series that entailed a new standalone story each year with new characters, while the cast largely remained. Now that the latest entry (Apocalypse) goes back to the beginning and combines itself with the third series (Coven), I thought I would give it a shot.

The story centers around a family that moves into an old house that has a history of people dying, by murder and suicide. The family has a few secrets of their own when they come to the house as they are looking at the purchase of this house and city as a new start. Before long we understand that the house is inhabited by ghosts that freely walk the halls, and can choose to be corporeal at their choosing. The ghosts become key players after each of their backgrounds are played out over the course of the season and influence the family’s arc. The arc is fairly original as far as haunted house stories go, yet I did find myself predicting the outcome of most story twists.

After the first few episodes, I believed the show was a mess. The biggest problem for me that continued throughout the show was the close-ups. About seventy percent of the show was shot in close-ups and I was pained by it. In the show’s defense, I believe it was to not give too much of the house away. If the entire show is mainly set in a house it would feel very stale after twelve hours. Another messy point for me was a lot of the weird things they have the ghost do in the early episodes that make no sense until further on in the series. My problem here was I was not enthralled to find out what each of these things meant, whereas David Lynch can do something of his own ilk and I am deeply fascinated to see where it goes. Overall, I’m not sure what the message of the series was, if there was one at all.

From what I can tell it seems as if the target demographic is mostly women, and after seeing the first season I presume it comes to a lot of the soap-opera acting throughout. The main cast does a fine job at portraying their characters, but the flashback scenes involving actors for a bit role are atrocious, and to me, cheap. The scary scenes in this are pretty tame, but that might be to television sensors. I will probably continue watching the further entries in American Horror Story and ultimately hope that the problems I have with Murder House are not extending to the rest.

I love The Twilight Zone, and I think American Horror Story is like an extended episode of that. I would caution people to be wary of jumping into this show because it was a battle for me, in the beginning, to become invested in the story.

Robert Ring



You should be watching this show!

Netflix dropped Insatiable last week, a show that came off a trailer that had people blasting it for dealing with fat shaming. Yes, the initial trailer for the show even made me roll my eyes at what I assumed was going to be the final product too. So when I saw it available to watch on Netflix, I begrudgingly wanted to see just how bad it was. As soon as the short premise was over where the title character had lost the weight, which was I want to say in the first fifteen minutes, I was in, and I enjoyed what I was seeing. By the time I finished the last episode I was a huge fan.

Insatiable begins with Patty Bladell, a girl who took to eating and became very obese, getting into an altercation with a homeless man that breaks her jaw, that therefore stops her from eating and becoming skinny. Patty finds the lawyer, Bob Armstrong to help her on the case against the homeless man. Armstrong is also involved in beauty pageants and sees Patty as his new protege. Patty set on wanting to get even with all the hate she had when she was fat intends to become a beauty queen to show up everyone who called her names. It’s an over-the-top premise, and it’s meant to be because it’s partly a black comedy. It’s essentially the film Election (1999) with beauty pageants, and a slice of My Name is Earl. The revenge plot of the show is the central inconsistency within it, which can be righted in the second season. The show is filled with great characters, and they all come together nicely amidst absurd confrontations. The show is just as much about Bob Armstrong as it is Patty Bladell and I think he steals the show; his character is excellent.


Critics hate on Netflix’s latest tv show Insatiable. I skimmed enough reviews to see that the majority of them just don’t get it. Instead, they are sticking to the fat shaming labels that ridiculed the show from the trailer. I thought that the show would keep going to flashbacks of her character being portrayed as fat, but it didn’t. The first portion of the first episode is the only hint of what outlets are saying. Patty’s character is not someone who thinks she becomes all that when she gets skinny, instead she still feels uncomfortable in her skin, like many young women do regardless of their image. It’s moments like this that show the real heart of the show amongst all of the craziness. There are also some relationships that form in the second half of the series that are hilarious and ballsey. The show deals with sexuality in a way I appreciate as I’ve never seen it done before as well.

I don’t want to give much away because I think the show has a lot of substance that is not being recognized by entertainment outlets. The show has an 11% rating on Rotton Tomatoes, and I think it should be in the 75-80% range. Not only that, there is a change.org petition for Netflix to cancel the show with 230,000 online signatures. Seriously? I’ll be recommending this show for the remainder of the year. It’s the best new show I’ve seen this year after Cobra Kai, and I want to see a second season happen. So give the first episode a watch and see if it tickles you.

Robert Ring


The movie opens with one of the greatest film scenes of all time. I was thinking about what possible way this scene from Gone With The Wind have to do with the plot of the movie, and then I see it. Yeah, I forgot about the last thing you see in one of the most jaw-dropping scenes of all time, where Scarlett is walking across the battlefield of hundreds of wounded soldiers, it’s the Confederate flag. If that’s how they start off, well just wait and see what note the movie ends on, and oh boy it’s a doozy.

BlacKKKlansman first builds on the political climate of the seventies, and instead of seeing this portion of history from the impoverished black man, we see it from a black man who has just started as a policeman. The first in his district, so he is acquainted with the slandering in the form of name calling every day. After reaching a breaking point at other cops calling black men “Toads,” our protagonist Ron Stallworth jumps at the chance of working as an undercover cop. First, he successfully gathers intel on a Black Panther meet up before being promoted. Here in Ron prank calls the KKK in an effort to humor himself, but instead sees an opportunity to scope out the cult. The problem at hand is that Ron is a black man trying to infiltrate the KKK, so he looks to his co-worker Flip Zimmerman, played by Adam Driver to fulfill the meetings in person as him. The problem for Flip as well is the fact that he is Jewish, which is an excellent way of having Ron and Flip understand each other as Ron makes this case his crusade. Did I mention this was based on a true story?

The people in the KKK themselves are a varied bunch, from the extreme to the remarkably normal, however, incorrigible in their political view. As Ron and Flip become more involved in the clan, it becomes more dangerous for them. There is a scene involving a celebratory viewing of the first feature-length film by D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation. It made me feel sick watching the clan in uniform reeling in joy from the picture. The Birth of a Nation (1915), is a remarkable film for its outreach, and storytelling. It is also one of the most racist films ever made, which is hard to praise because it was so instrumental to the history of cinema. I’ve seen parts of it before, yet never made a connection to how damaging that film was to a nation overcoming slavery. It’s moments like this that I suspect will leave casual filmgoing audiences confused. For me, I’m enlightened.

I have not really spoiled anything that hasn’t been seen in the trailers. However, I need to talk about the ending. It’s not a spoiler to the movie because this film is separated by the political messaging that bookends the film, though combined it resonates and leaves you with your political notions to discuss. The ending surprised me by how jarring it felt being thrown into the footage. It’s all shocking, and there is no peace to be found. We are shown footage of the Charlottesville riots from last year. We see the graphic nature of a car driving through a street full of people before taking off and are left hearing the screams of the victims. The final image Spike Lee leaves us with is the United States of America flag upside down and in black and white. The significance of this hits hard as we see a nation of white men represented by all fifty white stars. It’s an image that manipulates us to register the fact that the United States, along with the Charlottesville footage is far from equality.


While this movie was quite exceptional, Spike Lee wanted to hit audiences over the head by mirroring the politics of today with yesterday. I think what he did in Do The Right Thing was much more powerful in its subtlety. BlacKKKlansman is a statement. Two people walked out of the screening that I was at, and I suspect many more will throughout its release.

Robert Ring


Riverdale is a surprisingly good show. It’s a mixture of Dawson’s Creek, Glee, Gossip Girl, The Outsiders, and a slew of others. Weirdly, the combination of things Riverdale emulates works for the most part. The series begins with a Twin Peaks vibe as the body of a Riverdale High student is found washed up, setting the first season up as a whodunit. This premise may seem far from the original Archie comics, yet the characters are all here, and apart from Reggie they all for the most part embody the spirit of their comic book counterparts. Jughead is by far the standout of the bunch, but in Riverdale his humour is traded in for sarcasm as he investigates the dark side of their small town. Archie is still jumping from Veronica to Betty in one of the longest ever running love triangles. Riverdale shows the town from the point of view of the parents and they have even more secrets than their children.

About halfway into the first season they really start to Glee up the show with what might be a number every second episode. I don’t mean that as a bad thing either. They use Josie and the Pussycats to play cover songs that fit the mood of the episode. Some of the song choices blow me away, like Out Tonight from Rent, and Milkshake by Kelis.

Riverdale does have a few problems, although these problems are the same as every other show on The CW, most notably all stars are beautiful people and teens are over sexualised.  If you do enjoy everything else The CW has produced you will find yourself at home here and going strong halfway through it’s second season. Riverdale has proven successful enough that another Achieverse character, Sabrina is getting her own show this year.

Riverdale is the best teen drama currently airing. Check it out!

Robert Ring