RYAN MURPHY: "IT'S TIME FOR A BRIAN DE PALMA RESURGENCE"
Although the image above from last week's season premiere of American Horror Story is clearly inspired by Stanley Kubrick, the show's co-creator Ryan Murphy tells Entertainment Weekly's Tim Stack that Brian De Palma is the big influence for this year's model. Of course, we've already noted the Pino Donaggio music cues from De Palma's Carrie that recurred throughout episode one, as well as that episode's echoes of De Palma's Sisters. But Murphy would seem to imply that we can expect more nods to De Palma as the season rolls on. Here's what he told EW:
"When Brad and I did season 1, it was definitely influenced by masters like [Stanley] Kubrick. This year the thing that I was really obsessed with is I was really influenced by DePalma, who I think is a brilliant filmmaker, who I really feel like never gets his just desserts. It’s time for a Brian DePalma resurgence. So I was very into the filming style of DePalma’s works, specifically Dressed to Kill and Carrie. There’s a lot of slow motion, there’s a lot of languid filmmaking. In the first episode, as a tribute to Brian, we actually used two big pieces from Carrie’s score. So the same can be said of DePalma’s work which is very fever dream. Look at that last scene of Carrie—was it real? Was it a dream? So yes it was very influenced by his work particularly. Also it was very influenced by [Dario] Argento. The other great thing about it is Brad Buecker, who edited all the shows last year, who’s my right hand man, is also a brilliant director. The first two were edited and directed by Brad. It’s very interesting when an editor directs. It’s much more I think a psychological thriller as well.
"Last year, it’s interesting to me, because people said to me 'Oh the Harmon family is so venal and so terrible and we don’t root for them.' I think this year you have 3 or 4 people you’re really rooting for — definitely Jessica, definitely Evan, definitely Sarah, definitely Chloe. This year we’re really exploring the idea of madness, and I think madness, for people caught in that web, it must feel like a hallucinogenic nightmare reality.
"DePalma was also clearly very influenced by Hitchcock. But DePalma was able to use sex in a much more graphic way. Obviously, American Horror Story will always be about sex and violence. But I’m really thrilled to talk about DePalma. One of our writers on our show, Jennifer Salt, starred in a Brian DePalma movie [1973's Sisters]. They’re still really good friends."
Stack then suggests that Murphy should get De Palma to direct an episode. "Ha!" replies Murphy. "I doubt he would come to television, but it certainly would be worth a call. I love him. I think he’s a very underrated filmmaker."