'American Horror Story': Ryan Murphy talks 'Home Invasion'
SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE LATEST EPISODE OF AMERICAN HORROR STORY!
Tonight was the second episode of FX’s new thrillride, which found Vivian (Connie Britton) and Violet Harmon (Taissa Farmiga) under attack from a trio of thugs hoping to recreate a famous murder. (Be sure and read Jeff Jensen’s recap when it goes up later tonight/tomorrow morning.) Ben (Dylan McDermott) also returned to Boston to visit his pregnant mistress Hayden (Kate Mara). Plus, Constance (Jessica Lange) hooked up with a really hot dude who may or may not be a gigolo!
With so much action, EW talked to co-creator Ryan Murphy about the events of “Home Invasion” and asked him to answer some of the major questions on the minds of EW.com readers.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You told me that this was inspired somewhat by the Richard Speck murders right?
RYAN MURPHY: A little bit. Somewhat yes. Inspired by that a bit — the opening. But, more so, in the writer’s room, home invasion was by far the overwhelming thing we all collectively were most afraid of. So that was our first group effort.
It reminds me a little of The Strangers, but you mentioned it’s not an homage to that?
I get that people would see that, but that’s not at all what we went for. The masks I believe were modeled after Mayan death masks that we found. Also, of course, that movie, [for] the entire thing they’re always in masks. On the show, they take them off literally within 30 seconds and then the story is about the really creepy, strange, but true murder reenactment.
I thought this episode was scarier than the pilot. Do you agree?
I do. Pilots are interesting because you have to cover a lot of ground and introduce a lot of things. I think it’s just scarier because I think someone invading your home is a terrifying idea. It’s very primal. I think it’s scary because I think there’s 18 seconds in particular in the opening when you think the murderer has left.
Why is Constance trying to poison Violet?
Well Violet is sort of causing problems for Constance’s grand master plan, which is revealed I believe in episode 5. It has something to do with Tate. American’s feel good Romeo & Juliet couple [laughs]!
So we’ll see Hayden again, I’m assuming?
The interesting thing for that is I always like to leave a little room for surprise. Hayden comes in and certain things happen to her and Kate Mara was so outstanding in the part that we just keep writing her in the writing room. The same with Lily Rabe as Nora [who plays one of the former owners of the house and pops up in next week’s episode, “Murder House”]. They just kill their scenes so much and the writers love writing for those women so we just keep bringing them back.
The guy that Constance was with — was he supposed to be a hustler?
Uh, I do believe that Constance is not above paying for it now and again. No, but it’s established that Travis is her boyfriend who started off as her handyman. But I think Constance would only hire young, really good looking people to work for her.
So we’ll see him again?
Oh yeah. He’s back for more.
She mentions her other children to Vivian — will we see the other kids?
Yes. You see all of them.
Will they be seen in present day? Or flashbacks?
You see them all in present day and apparently she’s hiding some nasty secrets.
Even nastier than the mirror room she locked Adelaide in tonight?
Yes. In episode seven, we meet one of her children who I believe is our most horrifying addition to the American Horror Story family yet.
Some our EW.com readers had questions: “Heth” wanted to know if Burnt Offerings was one of your influences?
I do know [of] that movie, but I’ve never seen that movie.
“Brandy” wanted to know how long the Harmons have been in the house? I think the question stems from Vivian’s sex scene with Rubber Man and then showing up perhaps the next day pregnant. Was that the next day?
The show takes some adventures with time that I really enjoy. It’s not typical A to B to C. I think they moved into the house, and I think the sex scene that everybody’s referring to probably happened in the second week, and I think “Home Invasion” is probably the first month they’re first living there. But the entire season is a nine-month journey.
“Kristin” is wondering if Larry (Denis O’Hare) is actually looking out for Ben, or has other motives for telling him about murdering his family?
Larry has a lot of secrets and a lot of lies. All I’ll say about Larry is that he’s not to be trusted, particularly when you see next week’s episode. He’s a creature with ulterior motives.
“Squishmar” wants to know if we’ll be getting flashbacks for Constance and Moira (Francis Conroy)?
Yes. We begin episode 3 with a big big meaty scene where you see why Moira has that ghostly eye. It’s supposed to be set in 1983. When Jessica Lange read that scene, she’s was kind of worried we were going to go find a younger actress who looked like her in 1983. I said, “No no no. You’re gonna do it.” Because you wanna see Jessica Lange do that scene. But then we hired these people that did amazing work like on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with CGI. Everyone’s thrilled with how that turned out.
Jeff Jensen noticed that Violet is reading Albert Camus’ The Stranger. Is that a nod to the fact that strangers invade the house?
It is. It also shows that Violet is one of those really smart cookie 15-year-olds who probably should be reading more Judy Blume or something.
She should probably be reading Twilight.
She’s living Twilight — why would she read it? [Laughs]
Follow Tim on Twitter: @EWTimStack
American Horror Story
An anthology series that centers on different characters and locations, including a haunted house, an insane asylum, a witch coven, a freak show, and a hotel.