(Warning: This post, which was first published July 15, contains spoilers for the series premiere of FX on Hulu’s “American Horror Stories.”)
“American Horror Story” spinoff “American Horror Stories” debuted Thursday on FX on Hulu with an homage to the original franchise’s iconic first season, “Murder House.” By the end of the two-part series premiere episode, titled “Rubber (Wo)man,” murderous heroine Scarlett (played by Sierra McCormick) has managed to do the unthinkable: Escape the Murder House and live to not just tell the tale — but return every year at Halloween to visit the eternally trapped ghosts of her love Ruby (Kaia Gerber) and dads Michael (Matt Bomer) and Troy (Gavin Creel).
We’ve seen many others try and fail at this task throughout “AHS” history, and most of the time it’s because someone who claimed to care about the person ended up killing them to keep them there. It looked like this was going to be the case of Scarlett too, until she’s able to convince Ruby to let her go — and doing so ensure she will always return.
“I think that’s really interesting that she’s like the one person that manages to make it out,” McCormick tells TheWrap. “And maybe that’s because she actually kind of goes through her metamorphosis and is like a fully formed person who is confident in herself by the end. And that maybe gives her the ability to leave, but still also come back because she has this wonderful love in life, and that’s Ruby. And I think Ruby’s love is what allows her to get the confidence and the ability to leave Murder House and it’s also what keeps her coming back. So I think there’s an interesting dichotomy there. I think finding Ruby and finding someone that validates her and validates her interests and her personal self gives her strength to leave, but also that person and that love and support is also what keeps her coming back.”
23-year-old McCormick, who had her breakout role as the star of the Disney Channel series “A.N.T. Farm,” says she has been a big “AHS” fan since high school, with her favorite installment being “Murder House.” The actress says this made her particularly excited to be playing the part of Scarlett, a teen who finds the “iconic” and “aesthetically striking” Rubber Man costume in the haunted mansion that her dads are trying to flip and turns herself into the female version of the killer gimp “AHS” Season 1 fans know all too well.
But McCormick was also careful to carve her own path when rocking the Rubber (Wo)man costume, choosing not to emulate “AHS” alums Dylan McDermott and Evan Peters, who wore Rubber Man outfits in their “Murder House” roles as Dr. Ben Harmon and Tate Langdon, respectively.
“I actually didn’t watch back any of the original performances, because I knew that [‘American Horror Story’ creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk] were trying to make [‘American Horror Stories’] its own thing. And Scarlett’s journey to becoming Rubber Woman is definitely her own thing,” McCormick said. “So I didn’t want to even subconsciously be trying to emulate or copy something else. I wanted it to feel really original, and the production team wanted the same.”
The “American Horror Stories” star says it didn’t end up being too difficult to create Scarlett’s unique take on Rubber (Wo)man, as the outfit does a lot of the heavy lifting.
“The costume is just really, really crazy to get into. It just feels very specific. So that sort of helps you. You just walk differently in it, you just have better posture in it. So I think just the natural aspects of the suit being the way that it is sort of aided in my performance.”
While there were a few specific things that the “American Horror Stories” team made sure McCormick did to call back to “Murder House,” “like the sort of cock of the head and some of the physicality that is just specific and iconic to Rubber Man — or Rubber Woman,” the “AHS” actress says she did “try to maintain originality.”
“I didn’t want to fall back into something else that had been done before. I wanted to make sure this was a completely new and different thing.”
New episodes of “American Horror Stories” launch Thursdays on FX on Hulu.