'American Horror Story": Ryan Murphy on the Black Dahlia and Violet
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SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE LATEST EPISODE OF AMERICAN HORROR STORY! Tonight’s episode, “Spooky Little Girl,” revealed two more deaths that occurred in the infamous Murder House: Elizabeth Short a.k.a. the Black Dahlia (Mena Suvari) and Constance’s boy toy Travis (Michael Graziadei). The ghostly presences in that house are starting to really multiply. Perhaps the most chilling moment though occurred at the very end during a kitchen conversation between Constance (Jessica Lange) and Billie Dean (Sarah Paulson). Worried over what kind of child Tate (Evan Peters) and Vivien (Connie Britton) would conceive, Constance asked Billie Jean for her psychic opinion. Billie Jean revealed that any conception between the undead and the living would yield, according to the Catholic Church, the Antichrist who would bring about the End of Days. Well, that’s certainly going to put a damper on tree-trimming time at the Harmon house. EW talked to Ryan Murphy about tonight’s gruesome deaths and what’s in store for Vivien’s literally damned pregnancy.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s go back to last week, did you always plan on Tate being Rubber Man?
RYAN MURPHY: Yes, we did. I think the thing about it even from the first episode and that first therapy session there was always a certain thing to his character that led you to believe him. People in some weird way are pissed that he’s the Rubber Man like the fact that he raped Violet’s mother makes him a bad guy. To which I’m responding “Well, what about the high school massacre.” To Evan’s great credit and the credit of the writers, I think Evan’s done an amazingly difficult job making a monster sympathetic. We had that great monologue by one of the high school girls early in the season where she says, “The devil is beautiful.” So if you look back we really have put those teasers in there. I’m thrilled people are pissed about that choice. It’s a very difficult thing for Violet because of course she will find out the truth. Tate is the true monster of the show but because Evan has made him so likable and lovable and complex, I think people are torn.
Ben at the end seemed to wonder if Vivien was actually telling the truth. When will they all discover that Tate is the Rubber Man?
If they do, and I’m not going to say if they do, it will be the end.
Is it medically possible to have twins with two different fathers?
Yes. Yes it is. We looked it up. It’s literally like a satanic Maury Povich episode come to life [laughs]. We researched it. It’s a medical anomaly. What has to happen is for a woman has to have intercourse with two different men within a 48 hour period and it happens. It’s amazing. It’s my favorite medical discovery.
Billie Dean gave a discussion of the Antichrist and the End of Days. Does this mean the finale is apocalyptic?
That’s an interesting point. My response to that is, Wait till the last episode. Also, who says what Billie Dean says is true? Just because Billie Dean has an opinion doesn’t mean it’s accurate.
Is that true about the Pope’s box?
Yes. I’ve always been obsessed with it. As an Irish Catholic boy I was told that story in grade school by a nun. When I first saw Seven and when Brad says, “What’s in the box? What’s in the box?” That’s the first thing I thought of because I wanted to know, “What’s in the box?” I think that sort of Antichrist/baby demon is such a part of horror mythology that we definitely wanted to explore it but just because we explore it doesn’t mean it’s true. But it really has incited, much like Tate being Rubber Man, a strong reaction. We have four more to go and it is very zigzag-y and plot-y and I think it will go to unexpected places. But just because she says that…take a breath.
Will we ever see her Lifetime show?
I have two words for you, Tim. Spin. Off. Sarah I think is a genius and I would love to do a web-isode. I think that’s a great web-isode with Sarah Paulson.
Will we see Billie Dean in the last four episodes?
What instigated having the Black Dahlia involved in this episode?
I grew up and there was a “murder house” in my town. I think every town has the “murder house.” I’ve always been interested in unsolved L.A. crimes. I’ve been on those tours. I’ve been to the place where the Black Dahlia was discovered and I’ve been to the house where she was supposedly murdered, on Franklin Ave in L.A. The thing that fascinated me about the case is that there were more than 60 people who claimed credit for that murder. I’ve always been obsessed about that idea that our culture what fame is about. Once I started researching the Black Dahlia for this episode, it made sense for me that she was killed in that house and I wanted to explore the ’40s. The Black Dahlia does return. The interesting thing about the house is that it does bring the occupants secrets and spirits and lessons when they need to know them. We have an episode coming up where someone says, “Why are you appearing now?” and it says “Because you were ready.” The house knows how to prey on your weaknesses.
So Ben who’s a sex addict, this is the first episode where he really fights that addiction. And the Black Dahlia supposedly had a sexual addiction problem where she would put out and do the casting couch thing and then feel like s— about it. So it sort of all intertwined. Really, she is there to inform Ben’s story, but she does return.
Will Travis now be a regular presence in the house?
Yes. In the next episode after this, called “Smoldering Children,” he, much like the Black Dahlia, he is obsessed with fame.
Moira was fired but will we see her again?
Yes. You can’t fire Moira? F— that. She ain’t leavin’.
Many readers seem to think that Violet might be dead. What’s your response? Can you confirm? Deny?
My response to that is we are aware, I’m aware of that. But I was aware with the whole arc that was something people were going to think so we answer and put that to bed next week. Next week’s episode, called “Smoldering Children,” answers that question. It’s interesting. But I kinda knew that would happen. I really appreciate and love people’s attention. So many times people are right and I don’t wanna say. Listen, my entire Thanksgiving was dedicated to the “Is Violet dead or alive?” question, by people I don’t even know. But I love that. That’s the deliciousness of the show: the mystery of every week.
Can you preview next week’s episode?
Well, next week’s episode is about a lot of things. One is does tackle is the Violet thing. Is she or isn’t she? Or what? And there is a very big what; there could be a different scenario. And we once and for all reveal what of Larry’s is a truth and a lie. We really tell you what happened to Larry. We talk about the period of time of when Larry was with Constance and what Tate’s reaction to that was.
Will that reveal why he hates Constance so much?
Oh yeah. And also it reveals why did Tate do what he did at the school? Why did he do that? What influence was he under? It’s one of my favorite episodes because it answers a lot of questions about the mythology. It was directed by Michael Lehmann who directed Heathers. I’m really proud of that one.
Follow Tim on Twitter: @EWTimStack
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.