'American Horror Story' Black Dahlia Episode Went Too Far


American Horror Story isn't a show that is known for pulling punches, and the "Spooky Little Girl" episode featuring The Black Dahlia murder victim was no different. The show has had rapes, murders, stabbings, school shootings, and homophobic attacks, half of which all happened in the same episode. But bringing a real murder into the house and fictionalizing it seems like going a bit too far.

The Black Dahlia remains one of Los Angeles' most notorious unsolved mystery cases. The mutilated corpse of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short was found in LA by a young mother back in 1947. She was a beautiful actress from Massachusetts who was trying to make it in Hollywood, but instead met a gruesome end. The story is tragic and so, so sad, and yet, because of her looks, it was sensationalized, made front page news, and spawned 1,000 rumors.

The truth about who Short was isn't clear. Some say she was an escort. Some say she had deformed genitalia and couldn't even perform sexually. Still others say she was neither of those things and was engaged to be married. What is clear is that she wasn't as she was portrayed by Mena Suvari on American Horror Story. **Spoilers ahead**

On the show she was sweet and somewhat naive, but she was also seductive and clearly using her sexuality to charm men. It's intriguing to use such a notorious real case on the show, but the fact is, Short was likely not accidentally killed and the person who chopped her up, drained her blood, and mutilated her face wasn't a slightly drugged out ghost, but a very real, very disturbed person.

Just because something was 70 years ago doesn't make it any less terrifying and tragic. It's one thing to be fascinated by the case, but it's another to openly accuse someone who was once very much alive of basically being a prostitute. It just feels exploitative.

The show has been doing just fine on its own. It didn't need a real murder to add spice.

In fact, with a few tweaks, they could have even fictionalized her a little and made it seem like real life (as they did with the nurse murders that bore a striking resemblance to the Richard Speck killings in 1966). It just seems like poor taste.

I love the show and will be back again next Wednesday, but I hope this isn't a pattern that is emerging because the show has nowhere else to go. This show is creative enough on its own. It doesn't need to go there.

Do you think it was poor taste?


Image via FX Networks


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Boobo... Boobookittt74

No I don't think it went "too far" and as far as taking a real story and "fictionalizing" it. I don't know what the hell that means because the REAL whole story of the black dahlia is NOT actually known. AHS didnt just come up with their own stuff on her they used pieces of all different assumptions on the real live case and as u said there's alotbofbwiman different speculations as to what the hell really happened. The only facts are she was young and wanted to be an actress and how she was killed. All other stuff is debatable because of all different story's thru the years. So as far as tv goes I've seen way more "questionable" material out there than a depiction of a famous murder reenacted. And one more thing as far as the columbine thing too. These crazy things are a reality in these crazy ass times. And shows are reflecting that. They didn't just make it up like of their own imagination. It HAPPENS!

nonmember avatar CMG

I'm really mixed on it. When I was watching it, I said to my husband, "Can they do that!?" I know that technically they can, but it felt iffy. I do kind of with that they'd made her character a little bit less real, like maybe just changing her name to something similar, or even calling her case by a different flower.

tuffy... tuffymama

I don't watch the show. Real life, the economy and the news are frightening enough for me. I do think that Ms. Short's death shouldn't be graphically depicted. Isn't her son still alive? God, what a punch in the gut it must be for him. Ugh.

Nraw2011 Nraw2011

Well I suggest you don't watch any of the Law & Orders.  They're sometimes based on actually events.  Get a grip folks. 

keriley1 keriley1

So, we aren't allowed to see something that has happened in real life?? If we can experience it in real life, why not on television?

nonmember avatar Jen

Over half the murders on this show are clear references to real American murders. The fictionalized version of an unsolved, 64-year-old murder is certainly no more distasteful than the victim-by-victim mirroring of Columbine.

nonmember avatar Toni

jagamama0710: of course they're going to go that route - the show tackles all the major horror movie tropes at some point or another, and they would be remiss if they left out the Anti-Christ.

nonmember avatar Toni

jagamama0710: of course they're going to go that route - the show tackles all manner of horror movie tropes; they'd be pretty remiss if they omitted the Anti-Christ.

steph... steph2884

I think it's a TV show, made for entertainment. It didn't go too far. I think if some people are sensitive to this type of story, then they shouldn't watch it. Not like it's a surprise... the title of the show is called "American Horror Story" for a reason... If you don't like it, don't watch it.

missa... missann302

i luv this show.  been hooked on since the first time i was switching through the channels and said "ooh. theres jessica lange." so i knew it was going to be good.

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