'American Horror Story': Ryan Murphy talks 'Home Invasion' and 'most horrifying addition' yet -- EXCLUSIVE


Image Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FX


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

Read more:
‘American Horror Story’ co-creator Ryan Murphy talks premiere, his favorite scene, and identity of Rubber Man — EXCLUSIVE
‘American Horror Story’ scares up strong FX ratings
‘American Horror Story’ recaps

Comments (124 total) Add your comment
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  • waya

    Loved tonight’s episode. So we have MORE ghosts in the basement. Want a cupcake? ;o)

    • Lauren

      You can’t have one! They’re for Violet!

      • ranliao

        So far, I’m loving it! Though not as scary as it is perceived to be by the writers. Nevertheless, there are SO many questions!!!BTW,I wanna share a good news to you.My best friend ,she just has announced her wedding with a millionaire man who is a celebrity !they met via
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      • jack

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  • Mc Prophet

    This show is totally f***ed up. And I’m totally addicted.

    • hlynn

      STAMP!!! LOL!

      • Hermione

        You can’t triple stamp a double stamp!

  • Zak

    This show is really anything but scary. But it is entertainig and I’ll definitely come back if there’s more of the hotness that is Kate Mara and Michael Grazai’veneverbeenabletopronouncehisname.

    • Danny

      I am so sick of people who say “this isn’t scary”. What is scary to you? Probably dying of a terminal disease or having your car taken away from you. The show is about fear and it has awesome atmosphere. It isn’t meant to make you cry like a little girl if that isn’t your personality in the first place, it’s there to entertain. Most people would be scared though if a murderer was really in their house so I think it’s really dumb when people say something isn’t scary in a movie. Of course not, it’s in a movie, you are safe but you have to imagine yourself in the situation!!! It requires imagination to be scared.

      • Martine

        I absolutely agree. If it doesn’t feel scary to you, thats not the fault of the writers but your totally absent imagination. Pity for you.

    • Martine

      Its pretty much a proven fact that the people that are the most freaked out are the ones that cry the loudest about how silly and unrealistic a movie plot is. Its just their way of coping. But generally I enjoy the plot more then the scares myself. So I do understand the point.

  • Annie

    @Mc Prophet–About to say the same thing!!! I am totally addicted to this show!!! Jessica Lange looks like she is having a ball with the role of Constance. Can not wait for the next episode.

  • kate middleton

    I am really not into this show. Gonna give it one more week, but it’s kind of a trainwreck, and not really scary. Anyone else?

    • Amy

      It is all over the place, but I was scared tonight. Probably because I watched it alone and in a big old house. However, I don’t scare easily and there were a few scenes that gave me a chill.

      • kate middleton

        I can definitely understand that watching it alone would be scarier…

      • MPBerry

        I don’t get how it’s a “trainwreck” & “all over the place.” I find the tone, the plot and the characters to be very consistent. We don’t have all the facts yet, but even being in the dark, I’ve found the show to be very well plotted and paced. And unsettlingly creepy (more than “made you jump” scary).

    • Martine

      Obviously everyone else is excited about this show and very entertained. read the comments. Btw..your name is really rather stupid, Kate Middleton. Unless you actually married Prince William last month.

      • Princess Beatrice’s Hat

        William and Kate got married in April… I should know–I was there!

        & &

      • Martine

        I envy you! I absolutely have a huge girl crush on Kate Middleton ( the real one) and on everything about the wedding. And I think she is far prettier then Pippa! Kate is such a classy looking woman!

  • Carmen

    So far, I’m loving it! Though not as scary as it is perceived to be by the writers. Nevertheless, there are SO many questions!!!

    • Ally

      I think it’s not so much “scary” as it is really creepy and disturbing. But I love it so far, it’s getting really good!

  • steve

    “The show takes some adventures with time…” Or some adventures with sloppy storytelling, Ryan.

    • joel

      Farts in Steve’s face and makes him smell it.

    • Martine

      I don’t think you know what you are talking about, Steve. I doubt you can actually give an example of sloppy storytelling. The plot seems very tight to me. Not one contradiction so far. thats brilliance.

  • MWeyer

    I keep wondering if I should just wait until this show gets on DVD and see if it makes more sense then.

  • MCG

    Totally addicted to this show!!!! I am kinda embarassed to say this but I had my blanket up to my chin like I was five again!!!!! Superb acting by the majority of the cast and I can honestly say that I have never seen anything else like it on it on TV! Am I the only one who appreciates the commercial breaks though?

    • Hermione

      Haha, no kidding. I DVR it so i can fast forward the commercials, but even still, I find myself watching them so Allstate and Carl’s Jr. can lighten the mood a bit. This show just gives me the creeeeeps!

  • Adrienne

    I wouldn’t say she’s living Twilight, seeing as Twilight has no actual horror to it. I love this show, though, and I can’t wait for next week’s episode.

    • Angel

      Maybe they were referring to Twilight Zone?

      • Anonymous

        That would make more sense, but the Twilight Zone wasn’t a book series.

      • MPBerry

        I think you’re being too literal. Twilight has vampires and werewolves in it. It’s at least tangentially related to horror. I doubt Ryan Murphy really cares that it’s more romance and YA melodrama than actual “horror” genre compliant.

  • Katie

    Shivers! American Horror Story is freaking me out! I worry about the people this show doesn’t scare. Just how desensitized are you people?

    • Mc Prophet

      Well have you tried watching Michele Bachman try to piece together a coherent, factual statement? That scares the hell out of me.

      • Anonymous

        So true. Michele Bachman is truly terrifying.

      • kittyra


      • Martine

        Yes, we get it. Fiction is not reality, and therefore scary in a different way. So please don’t try to be pithy.
        The truth is that those who get the most freaked out are the ones that try to reassure themselves by loudly saying how unrealistic something is. They try to bring in unrelated things to make themselves feel better. Sure, Obama, the deficit, the job killing healthcare plan are all scary. But less scary then a man in your house with a knife.

    • Ford

      katie sweetie we all know you’re still sleeping with a night light and all your stuffed animals but most of us have been there and seen that and it doesn’t make us bad people. Oh and it’s not real either Katie. Playing with you, have a good one.

      • Martine

        Obviously nothing in am movie can be real, Ford. But this show is a brilliant piece of work and most of us here love it. Being a pathetic know it all is what makes you a bad person, not your jaded idiocy. I would bet it wouldn’t take much to scare you face to face. You sound like a coward, not Katie.

    • CM

      NOTHING is scarier than the big eared freak living in the White House right now.

      • Martine

        Damn straight. But he isn’t very entertaining. And this is.

  • Joe

    Can’t wait to see what horror trope they mine from some genre film that did it better than they could ever hope to in episode 3!

    • Hermione

      Oh God Joe, then why bother watching and wasting your time in the comments section? Nobody gives a sh*t about your opinion.

  • James

    I liked the pilot more but this episode got real good towards the end. Is Tate alive or a ghost too? I cant tell if he’s good or bad either.

    • Lois

      I didn’t find the pilot scary. But, this episode genuinely frightened me. I think it’s because I immediately knew the show was referencing the Richard Speck murders. Which is one of the most horrifying crimes in history.

      • joel

        You didn’t find the infant monster with the leech mouth in the basement scary? Really???

    • Summer

      @James- I have a hunch Tate is dead and is one of Constances children. I also have a hunch that almost everyone they are coming into contact with are dead or will be soon. I think he wants to be good but I think Constance is making him bad.

      • bet625

        I agree I think Tate is the child that Constance was talking about that was not born slow. Love this show.

      • Martine

        Tate is very likely Constances son. But then the age is wrong. She is near 70, and he is around 17. So how would that work? In fact how old is Adelide? But I don’t think Tate is a ghost. When he was refering to the ghosts killing the home invaders he said it was them. It really makes me think he isn’t one of “them”.I don’t think anyone or anything is good or bad. But I think he is safeguarding Violet and by extention the family. It would be smart for the shrink to do his best to help Tate. That I do think.

      • Martine

        And if Constance is Tates mom, then how would Ben not have recognized her voice on the phone with that southern accent?? He talked to her for a while. No, there is definitely something wrong there. He is somehow stuck in that house. But how? I don’t think Constance is “bad”. By bad; Do we mean against the Harmons? Bad really isn’t much of a description.

      • Ally

        I definitely think he is a ghost and Constance’s son…maybe “they”(the other ghosts in the house..?) took him (or killed him) and now he’s stuck in the house? This show is so fun!

  • $toop

    Although its not as frightening as I hoped, it certainly is edge-of-your-seat thrilling…. Every time im out of my room and hear it come back on, I come running in… Definitely in it for the long run, if not already addictive, it will take over for Walter White on my must watch list with Sons Of Anarchy, Boardwalk Empire, It’s always Sunny…, The League, and Survivor…

    • joel

      Whose Walter White?

      • MPBerry

        He’s the main character on the awesomely addictive Breaking Bad (played by Bryan Cranston). Love BB, & I agree: AHS is filling the void.

  • Brandy

    Love that my question got answered, even if it didn’t at all explain the pregnancy timeline.

    • wino

      ha, right? am i missing something? if they had sex during the 2nd week and the invasion was during the 1st month…then btw those two times was the conversation in the kitchen. can you really know so soon that you are pregnant? dont you need at least 3 weeks. color me confused.

      • Martine

        What makes you think they had sex in the second week? is that what they said? But yes. One week is plenty of time. I got sick after about four days pregnant, and several people I know after about a week. Everyone is different. I thought that was well understood. The hormones start kicking up immediately.

      • Martine

        If you meant a test of pregnancy then the earliest you can find out in 6 days at home or even SOONER depending on your menstrual cycle. If your period is due soon after you become pregnant, I guess you know right then. In the hospital they can find out like the next day. Its very accurate. But many women can tell before that.

    • Princess Beatrice’s Hat

      Yeah, they “answered” my question too. Well, part of it, anyway. But it’s cool to know that we kind of had a direct line to Ryan Murphy! :D

      • Squishmar

        Oops! That was me…

      • Squishmar

        My comment disappeared! How…. creepy! LOL Anyway, I was saying to Brenda that it was great my question got asked too… (hers did as well). Although they didn’t ask the whole thing, I loved having a direct line to Ryan Murphy. Pretty cool.

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