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‘American Horror Story: Coven’ is fantastic and horrific

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It’s safe to say that the series “American Horror Story: Coven” lives up to its name. Undeniably horrific to watch, every episode manages to creep me out; I have no choice but to look away in horror at least once per episode.

Each season of “Horror Story” is a new story with new characters and a new plot line. A season is basically one prolonged horror movie. Being titled “Coven,” this season follows a coven of witches learning from the supreme witch, Fiona, played by Jessica Lange (“Tootsie”). Zoe Benson, played by Taissa Farmiga (“The Bling Ring”), discovers she has special witch powers. In response, her parents send her away to the Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies where, alongside other witches, she can learn to control her powers.

“Coven” ventures into the theme of youth and the search for immortality as Fiona recruits the help of Madame LaLaurie in her search for everlasting life. Though the show has its dark twists and turns, it deals with very human themes despite its very non-human characters. And, yes, it deals with America’s very own horror story: slavery.

The story collides with that of the life of Madame Delphine LaLaurie, played by the brilliant Kathy Bates (“Misery,” “Titanic”). A socialite with a love for not only throwing elegant parties, but for torturing her slaves back in the early 1800s, LaLaurie is a real historical serial killer from New Orleans whose house is a prominent landmark in the city. Late in the premiere, the coven takes a trip to this very mansion.

Not only is the show violent and frightening, it is in some ways beautiful. The shots are clean and pleasing. One very popular scene that’s been circulating the web is one in which the coven — dressed in all black and arranged in single file — walks through the light colored buildings of New Orleans. The contrast is stunning and the arrangement is simple yet somehow terrifying and intimidating.

The show is filled to the brim with incredibly famous and talented actors. In addition to Lange and Bates, the ensemble includes Emma Roberts (“Nancy Drew”) and Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”), among others.

The series has its chilling moments and fits right in with the spooky season. The acting is perfect and the writing is genius. It has the perfect balance of shock and awe as the show reveals the beauty of its setting and characters. “American Horror Story: Coven” is fantastically horrific and worth your time. Watch it Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.

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