Vicente Garcia Groyon: American Gothic for Generation OWS

Vicente Garcia Groyon reviews the HBO series, American Horror Story, for The Mantle.

In destabilizing the conventions of the ghost story, American Horror Story suggests that the ultimate fear arises out of the creeping notion that the once-familiar world is no longer behaving as expected. While zombies may be a potent metaphor for the recession, this show seems to be channeling the disbelief and outrage of Occupy Wall Street—its roots in the realization that powerful institutions are acting against the interests of the powerless, and its perpetuation as more information comes to light, and as predictable but unbelievable (at least in mythical America) steps are taken by the powerful to retain their power. American Gothic has always exploited the monstrous injustice lurking just beneath the surface of the American myth, but this time, the normative white middle-class population is affected, and the myth is effectively ruptured at its core.