Do you like scary movies? Then you’ll love FX’s new series American Horror Story, the craziest new TV series of the fall season — and perhaps ever. Created by Glee’s Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, AHS is a feverish, sexed-up reimagining of one of the most reliable tropes of the genre, the haunted house. And in this week’s issue, EW goes behind the scenes of the fabulously freaky frightfest. The Harmon family — father Ben (The Practice‘s Dylan McDermott), mother Vivien (Friday Night Lights‘ Connie Britton), and daughter Violet (newcomer Taissa Farmiga) — move from Boston to Los Angeles for a fresh start, but end up moving into a house that makes the Insidious abode look like a trip to Disneyland. Despite a warning that the previous owners have died in the house, the family still moves in and that’s when all hell literally breaks loose. Pretty soon, Vivien is having sex with someone/something in a rubber fetish suit, Ben is sleepwalking naked around the house, and Violet is encountering a basement-dwelling creature nicknamed the “infantata.” And that’s just in the first 50 minutes. “I read the script and I was like, ‘Um…whaat? I don’t understand,'” says Britton. “I kind of took a leap of faith.”
The risky new series still attracted a starry cast, including Britton, McDermott, True Blood‘s Denis O’Hare, Six Feet Under‘s Frances Conroy and two-time Academy Award winner Jessica Lange, who plays the Harmon’s nosy and malicious neighbor Constance. But it was a different celebrity who inspired Murphy and Falchuk to pump up the presence of Rubber Man. “Gwyneth Paltrow read the script just as a friend,” says Murphy of the Glee guest star. “She called me up and was like, ‘Oh my God — is she f—ing pregnant by that Rubber Man dude? Is it a rubber baby?’ That’s when I first realized people are going to be obsessed with Rubber Man.”
For more on AHS, as well as eight other new fall favorites chosen by EW.com readers — including Revenge, New Girl, and Homeland — pick up the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Oct. 21.