REVIEW - American Horror Story: Coven - S03E01 - 'Bitchcraft'

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American Horror brings out the big guns in the first two minutes.  Kathy Bates  plays Madame Delphine La Laurie, a character based on a real and terrifying murderer from history. She is living in a luxury mansion in 1834 New Orleans with her three odd daughters, yet despite their apparent wealth they are living in misery. Madame Delphine is crass, evil and completely psychotic, a part made perfectly for the amazing Kathy Bates.

Madame Delphine believes that smearing blood on her face can restore her youth: blood taken torturously from slaves (‘her pets’) which she keeps in her attic.  She also performs horrific mutilations and torture, but this seems just for her sadistic pleasure.  A chamber of mutilations, degradation and abject horror... all this before the opening credits roll!

Flash forward to present day and Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga) is a seemingly normal teenager about to have sex for the first time.  It takes a shocking turn when her boyfriend begins to bleed form every orifice and dies in agonising pain.  Turns out poor Zoe has an affliction which means pleasure for her is excruciating pain and death for her lovers.  

Zoe is a witch, carrying a dwindling bloodline from Salem.  As a result she is sent away to  Miss Robichaux’s School For Exceptional Girls.  Here the old cast gather as new characters and some great new talent too: Emma Roberts plays Madison, a narcissistic young movie star; Gabrielle Sidabe is Queenie, a human Voodoo  doll; Jaime Brewer is Nan, a clairvoyant; and Jessica Lange literally reigns as Supreme.  

And so American Horror Story Coven begins...

Review by JoAnn Duff.


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