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