Pop Culture

Ryan Murphy: 'American Horror Story' is about more than the scary stuff

“Glee’s” co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have something not quite so family friendly coming to TV this fall – their new drama “American Horror Story.”

There will be teenagers, but they won’t be cheerleaders, singers or jocks. Instead, they’ll be troubled kids. No high school, but a creepy, deadly haunted house.

The story centers on the Harmon family (Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott and Taissa Farmiga) as they leave Boston to try to put a tragedy and infidelity behind them, and attempt to put their family back together. Strange and spooky things start happening after they move into an old home in Los Angeles. (Curious about the twisted things that might happen? Just remember that Falchuk and Murphy also worked together on "Nip/Tuck," which featured some jaw-dropping turns that kept fans talking for weeks.) 

Though there are several eerie scenes in the pilot (the show is called “American HorrorStory,” after all), Murphy said the creepy crawly stuff isn’t the focus of the new series. “It was never really about horror, although that certainly was in the water. It’s really about marriage and infidelity. It permeates all the characters,” he told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in Los Angeles.

“I think people will come to this for two things,” said Murphy. “I hope they will come to it for really good emotional stories that are zeitgeist based, and I hope they come because there will be some really scary things in there.”

Scary yes, but gory, no. “It’s not ‘Saw,’ ” said Falchuk. “There’s blood, but it’s not about seeing severed hands crawling across the floor. It is intentionally not about the gore.”

Much of the scary centers on the house, which Falchuk said was built in the 1920s. “The house is amazing,” he said. “It’s actually built by the diocese here and attached to an old church.”

And like the fictionalized version of the show’s haunted house, there have been some strange goings on when they filmed the show. Falchuck said that the first day they filmed Britton and Jessica Lange in the house, a flag that the crew had taped up securely fell and nearly hit Britton in the head. “ ‘They were all like, ‘This doesn’t make any sense!’ ” he said. In addition, Falchuck said that cell phones just didn’t work inside the old house.

“Just weird stuff,” Falchuk said. “There’s no malice there, but there’s something in the house.”

Here's a teensy taste of the show:

“American Horror Story” premieres Oct. 5 on FX.

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