LESLIE CRISS: No more waiting for witches on Wednesdays

“Don’t make me drop a house on you.”

Fiona Goode

“If you watch a scary movie together, then the scariness is cut in half.”

Hidekaz Himaruya

“There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.” –

Andre Gide




Halloween came early for some folks.Those who are fans of “American Horror Story” gathered last Wednesday night to watch the premiere of the third season of the smart, envelope-pushing horror series that is, more often than not, gory, gruesome, garish and gross (in every way imaginable.)

It’s also good. Actually, I’d dare say it’s great.

Yes, I confess: I am a fan.

Possessing a penchant for scary stuff is nothing new for this old girl.

As an avid reader from way back, I devoured books filled with ghost stories.

On television, I loved “Twilight Zone,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and anything else with the power to send chills down my spine and make me jump out of my skin when anyone said, “Boo.”

On the big screen, I fell in love early with Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman. I watched some of the “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” series, as well as the more classy, more classic tales of terror. Like “Misery” and “The Shining.”

I nearly gave up horror films once when I was living in Ocean Springs in my first apartment, doing my first job after college. I went to Louisiana one weekend, home with my friend Dorothy.

We decided to go to the movie to see a cheesy fright flick, “When A Stranger Calls,” about a deranged killer who continues to call and torment a young babysitter with the taunt, “Have you checked the children?”

Dorothy and I made a pact: Since we both lived alone back in Mississippi, we’d see the movie, then shove it from our minds and not mention it again.

We stuck to our agreement, at least until Sunday evening when we’d returned to Ocean Springs. Dorothy dropped me off at my apartment where I systematically checked under furniture and in all closets before settling in.

An hour or so later my phone rang. I answered and heard, “Have you checked the children?”

That the voice asking the question was clearly Dorothy’s made no difference: I slept fitfully or little at all for the next few nights until my memories of the film faded and my fear abated.

“American Horror Story” amazes on many levels. The writing, no matter how awful, is excellent.

And when a season ends, it ends. The plot twists all straightened out and explained as well as possible for the horror genre. The next season begins with a brand new story and characters, though many of the actors remain the same from season to season. Like the incomparable Jessica Lange.

This season is all about witches and is called “Coven.” It’s filmed in New Orleans.

It’s fun and frightening, horrible and hilarious.

If you like a little scare every now and again, give it a try.

I think you’ll like it.


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