DAR­REN DEV­LYN

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page -

IT’S 1978, and Ade­laide, a girl with Down syn­drome, plays in front of an aban­doned house.

She tries to warn ras­cally twin broth­ers not to go into the house, but they ig­nore her and head inside with the in­ten­tion of cre­at­ing havoc.

When they be­gin to rum­mage around the base­ment, havoc — no, make that hell— comes to them.

It’s a scene in Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story, which then jumps to the present and in­tro­duces the Har­mons — a shrink, Ben ( Dylan McDer­mott), his wife Vivien (Con­nie Brit­ton) and their daugh­ter Vi­o­let (Taissa Farmiga), who are mov­ing into the afore­men­tioned house of hor­rors.

‘‘ The show re­ally gets into your sub­con­scious,’’ McDer­mott says.

‘‘ It will wake you up . . . and keep you up.’’

McDer­mott, 50, shot to star­dom on the David E. Kel­ley le­gal drama The Prac­tice, but has since not found a show that was a hit with both crit­ics and fans.

He ap­pears in ac­tion se­ries Dark Blue, but it is his role in Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story that has cast­ing agents tak­ing no­tice again.

‘‘ It’s such a crap shoot,’’ he says of act­ing.

‘‘ So few movies and TV shows do well. I feel I won the lot­tery. Ev­ery­thing af­ter The Prac­tice has been gravy.’’

McDer­mott has had trau­matic times away from act­ing. He was five when his mother, Diane, died of a gun­shot wound to the head in 1967.

The death was clas­si­fied as ac­ci­den­tal, but Dylan contacted po­lice with ques­tions and re­quested the cold case be re­opened.

The main sus­pect, gang­ster John Sponza, was not avail­able for ques­tion­ing as he was found dead in the trunk of a car in 1972. But po­lice rein­ter­viewed pro­tected in­for­mants and re­viewed press clips to de­duce that Sponza had murdered Ms McDer­mott. Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story, FX chan­nel, Tues­day, 8.30pm Ad­di­tional re­port­ing: GEMMA GRA­HAM Fam­ily ties: Con­nie Brit­ton, Dylan McDer­mott and Taissa Farmiga as the Har­mon fam­ily.

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