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'American Horror Story' Black Dahlia Episode Went Too Far

by Sasha Brown-Worsham on December 1, 2011 at 5:35 PM

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

Comments

45
  • LikeA...
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    LikeAVirgin

    December 1, 2011 at 5:37 PM
    I loved that they included the Black Dahlia murder. New characters keep the show refreshing and interesting.


  • sodiu...
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    sodium_chloride

    December 1, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    No, I don't think it was in "poor taste."


  • Tandy
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Tandy

    December 1, 2011 at 6:34 PM
    I agree this went too far. Who is next ghost..Sharon Tate. They need to make this another Dallas trick..I would suggest it is a dream episode she had while in the hospital. This character needs to not be included in the cast.
  • Pua...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Pua Smith

    December 1, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    I don't watch the show, but I read an article a week or two ago about how a school shooting episode went too far. I'm beginning to think that, perhaps, that's the whole point of the show. To go "too far" as so many bloggers are putting it. Yet, I have not heard a compelling argument of why I should watch.


  • Alan
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Alan

    December 1, 2011 at 6:43 PM
    The high school shooting copied Columbine HS as well.
  • Ms.Pu...
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    Ms.PuNkrOckStar

    December 1, 2011 at 7:00 PM
    Yes i found it in poor taste. You cant just bash someone if they are not able to defend themselves.
  • Liz
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Liz

    December 1, 2011 at 7:03 PM
    I think you're being a little oversensitive about the whole thing...
  • Trollie
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Trollie

    December 1, 2011 at 7:12 PM
    You so realize the show is called AMERICAN HORROR STORY, right? This definitely is not the only time they used real American crimes on the show. I honestly don't see how you can think this is in poor taste and not the school shooting, which was very obviously mirrored after Columbine. The Titanic was tragic, but everyone loved that movie. Where's the line between tragic, but not too tragic to use in television and movies?
  • jalaz77
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    jalaz77

    December 1, 2011 at 7:18 PM
    Love the show!!!
  • jagam...
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    jagamama0710

    December 1, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    There was also a movie, ya know. The Black Dahlia. This wasn't the first time the murder was retold for entertainment. 

    I do think it's being overly sensitive about the whole thing to say "they went too far". It's a tv show. Come on. Also, there have been many real life school shootings, specifically Columbine that the school shooting in the show is very reminiscent of. I don't think they went too far there either. I guess I just don't take my tv shows that seriously.  

    I do have a beef with where the show might be going and it has nothing to do with them bringing up real life events. lol It has to do with one of the babies being the anti-christ, end of the world or something? That story line is being done to death everywhere. Not creative. Not original. Not something I want to see play out. Hopefully they won't actually go that route. 


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