American Horror Story is an anthology horror series presented by FX media, directed by Ryan Murphy. Different seasons of the series features different characters, different timeline, different titles and different stories. Some actors portrayed different characters in different stories. Actors including famous celebrities like Jessica Lange, Ian McShanne, Kathy Bates, Emma Roberts, Lady Gaga and so on. Currently, only Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters and Lily Rabe have roles in the whole series.
Its first season was premiered on October 5, 2011 and it currently has five installments. A sixth season was renewed and released on September 14, 2016, with its subtitle enigmatic before is premiere and had a code name known as "?6". After its release, its subtitle is revealed to be Roanoke. The series was rated as TV-MA due to heavy obscenity, violence and profanity. With the expectation of the sixth and seventh season, so far, of the seasons features one or two Halloween-related episodes.
An eighth and ninth season season of the story were ordered in early 2017.
Season 1: Murder House
After struggling through many problems, the Harmons moved into a new home but was unknown that the house was haunted. They faced troublesome neighbours like Constance Langdon and her creepy daughter, Adilaine. A patient of Dr. Harmon, Tate, was seriously disturbing. Also, a murderous killer named "Rubber Man" was lurking and prepared to on its kill.
The story features twelve episodes. Casts includes Jessica Lange as Constance, Taissa Farmiga (who was 16 years old then) as Violet Harmon and Evan Peters as Tate, who is later revealed to be Constance's metally disturbed son and the man known as the Rubber Man.
- Connie Britton as Vivien Harmon, a housewife who wants a new start in her new house.
- Dylan McDermott as Dr. Ben Harmon, a psychiatrist with a past that won't leave him alone.
- Taissa Farmiga as Violet Harmon, Ben and Vivien's daughter who Tate fell in love with and tried to feel alive without realizing she was dead all along.
- Evan Peters as Tate Langdon, Constance's son and the Rubber Man.
- Denis O'Hare as Larry Harvey, a burn victim and once an aspiring actor. He was burned by Tate due to his love affair with Mrs. Langdon.
- Jessica Lange as Constance Langdon, the nosy neighbor who knows the House's secret.
- Matt Ross as Dr. Charles Montgomery, the creator of the Murder House and a mad doctor.
- Francis Conory as Moira O'Hara, the housekeeper for the Harmon family, and has been there for the stay of many families. She could change between an elderly woman and a young girl.
- Alexandra Breckenridge as Young Moira O'Hara
- Lily Rabe as Nora Montgomery, Charles' wife.
- Zachary Quinto as Chad Warwick, a homosexual man.
- Sarah Paulson as Billie Dean Howard, a psychic medium who is hired by Constance..
- Jamie Brewer as Adelaide Langdon, Tate's sister who keeps the house's secrets.
Season 2: Asylum
The second season titled "Asylum" premiered on October 17, 2012 and ran for thirteen episodes. The second season is the first cycle of the series which had an official title. The story happened in Briarcliff Manor, an mental asylum funded by Catholic Church and resieded in New England. The staff inside the asylum all had disturbing secrets that they did not want anyone to know.
The second season was divided into two main storylines. One happens in 1962 to 1963, involved with the serial murder committed by a killer known as Bloody Face, and the life and death of residents in Briarcliff. The other happens in 2012 to 2013, fifty years after the asylum's foundation, this former mental cell had fell into a ruin, but its evil inside never faded and is still haunting its only known surviving resident, Lana Winters.
- Sarah Paulson as Lana Winters, a reporter who was falsely committed into Briarcliff.
- Evan Peters as Kit Walker, a patient accused with the Bloody Face murder.
- Joseph Fiennes as Monsignor Timothy Howard, one of the main staff of the asylum.
- Jessica Lange as Sister Jude Martin, a corrupt nun and main enforcer of the asylum law.
- Lily Rabe as Sister Mary Eunice, a pure hearted nun who was later possessed by a corruptive Devil.
- Zachary Quinto as Dr. Oliver Thredson, the seemly kind psychiatrist of Briarcliff.
- Lizzie Brocheré as Grace Bertrand
- James Cromwell as Dr. Arthur Arden, a doctor who did illegal science and later revealed to be a former Nazi officer named Hans Gruper.
- John Cromwell, James' son, portrayed the young Arden.
- Lily Rabe as the Devil
- Ian McShanne as Leigh Emerson, a killer Santa Claus convicted into Briarcliff.
- Frances Conroy as Shachath, the merciful Angel of Death.
- Franka Potente as Charlotte Brown, a woman claimed to be Anne Frank.
Season 3: Coven
The third season, Coven, is based on real-life event involved witchcraft including the famous Salem Witch Trials. It was premiered on October 9, 2013 and ran for thirteen episodes.
The story happened over 300 years after the witch trials of the Salem. Mysterious attacks have been escalating against witches, making the surviving witches faced extinction. To prevent this, young girls are being sent away to a special school in New Orleans, in order to learn how to protect themselves. Among them, there is a new arrival name Zoe, who has a terrifying secret of her own. Meanwhile, alarmed by the perils and agrression, Fiona Goode, the long-absent Supreme witch, returned into town. This wrathful and powerful witch was determined to protect the Coven and would destroy anyone who oppose her.
The third season has more elements of Dark Fantasy than the first two seasons. It features a killer known as the Axeman and a monster known as Minotaur. New casts included Angela Bassett as Marie Leveau, the infamous voodoo queen, and this is the first of her three roles in American Horror Story. Kathy Bates, who was famous for her acting as Anne Wilkes in Stephen King's Misery, had also joined the crew and portrayed Madame Daphne de LaLaurie. Emma Roberts, who portrayed Jill in Scream 4, had also joined the crew and portrayed Maddison Montgomery.
Season 4: Freak Show
The fourth season, Freak Show, was premiered on October 8, 2014 and ran for thirteen episodes.
The stories mainly happen in an 1953 town Jupiter, Florida, where a "Freak Show" led by Elsa Mars struggled to have their business on the run even if the circus was less popular.
The new casts included: Finn Wittrock as a spoiled teenager and later serial killer named Dandy Mott, who is the season's main antagonist; John Caroll Lynch as Twisty, a once kind clown but was driven into a murderer due to falseful coviction; and Wes Bentley as the ghost Edward Mordrake. There were also many actors with physical abnormality in this season.
Freak Show also featured three Asylum actors and characters: Lily Rabe as Sister Mary Eunice before the possession, Naomi Grossman as Pepper before and not long after her falseful conviction, and John Cromwell as the young Arthur Arden in flashback. It also featured Briarcliff Asylum in its tenth episode. The tragic background of Pepper was fully revealed. All of these above had made it arguably the prequel of Asylum and the first installment of the series that was not fully an anthology. In addition, this is the last season of the series that features a character played by Jessica Lange, who later left the crew.
Season 5: Hotel
The fifth season, Hotel, was premiered on October 7, 2015, and concluded January 13, 2016. The season have Wes Bentley as the main protagonist instead of Evan Peters (though he returned for the fifth season). Originally, it was reported to have 13 episodes, but instead it had 12 episodes aired, like that of the first season, Murder House. The story is mostly and loosely based on the infamous Hotel Cecil incident.
The story is about a police detective in Los Angeles, named John Lowe, who investigate a series murder occurred a century ago and pursuiting the engmatic murderer known as the Ten Commandments Killer. He arrived in a mysterious hotel known as Hotel Cortez and meets its malevolent vampire hostess. In the hotel, there is also another supernatural threat, who is a creature named the Addiction Demon, an artificial fiend who attacked its victims with a drill on its body.
This is the first season of the series that did not feature a character portrayed by Jessica Lange as the female lead, but a vampire that was portrayed by the infamous singer, Lady Gaga. Like Lange, Emma Roberts and Francis Conroy did not reprise their roles either. It is the first series that have two different characters portrayed by one actor/actress in one single season, with Sarah Paulson poratyed her first role as a villainous ghost known as Sally McKanne, who was a drug addict, and then she reprised her role as the psychic Billie Dean Howard from Murder House as a cameo in the finale. Finn Wittrock had also portrayed both Rudolph Valentino and Trystanne Duffy, who are both new characters, being two Hotel Cortez's guests from different eras yet with similar looks. It also featured a Halloween party participated by the ghosts of real-life killers, including Aileen Wurnoros (portrayed by Lily Rabe) which marks her first live-action appearance since Charlize Theron's famous portrayl in 2004 film, Monster.
It is also the second cycle of the series that is not completely anthological after Freak Show. The season is interconnected to Murder House and Coven. It features the return of the Murder House itself, its original owner Dr. Charles Montgomery, its realtor Marcy and the psychic Billie Dean Howard, as well as the appearance of the voodoo witch Queenie. Their roles were all reprised by their respective actors/actresses. With most of the story is set in 2010-2015, the flashbacks are set in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the epoligue of series finale is set in 2022. The fifth season received mixed reviews and many fans panned Hotel for not making their beloved Jessica Lange return to the series.
Season 6: RoanokeThe sixth season of the series has not release a subtitle until its premiere on September 14, 2016, and this is the very first time that a cycle released outside October and the second time a cycle of the series had not released a subtitle before its premiere (after Murder House). In addition, this season is expected to consist of 10 episodes, the least in a given cycle, in the show's history. The premiere episode revealed the season to be depicted as a paranormal documentary entitled My Roanoke Nightmare which reenacts the experiences of a married couple who relocate to Roanoke Island, North Carolina.
Confirmed returning casts includes Evan Peters, Lily Rabe, Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Wes Bently, Lady Gaga, Cheyenne Jackson, Leslie Jordan, Finn Wittrock, Matt Bomer and so on. The American Crimes Story: People Vs. O.J.Simpson star, Cuba Gooding Jr., had also took part in it. Emma Roberts showed her interest of returning the series as well after being absent in Hotel that once rumoured that she would return, possibly due to schedule conflict caused by portraying another Ryan Murphy's series, Scream Queens. However, to many fans' dismay, Jessica Lange confirmed that she would again not return for the series in an interview.
The story will undercover an origin story of Mott family. In the sixth episode, the season is expected to have a major plot twist that might change the course of story.
Before the subtile Roanoke was released, the story was code named "?6" after a red logo combined the number six and a question mark was given out by a VR teaser trailer. Its story remained uncertain before its premiere, though it is rumored to be related to previous installments just as Freak Show and Hotel did. Even though with its high secrecy, the crew released several promotional posters and teaser trailers to hint the possible clue of the story (though it made the theme more ambiguous because most of them, recently confirmed, were giving false informations).
In addition, the photo of set designs was revealed to be a village with school and cottages, causing a theory involving the notorious Roanoke colony missing emerged. It is also said that, based on one of the trailers about a screaming woman being drowned by a mysterious aquatic monster, the icon monster of the series shall be a green scaled aquatic monster with six fingers each hand, which was possibly the same monster in two other trailers, one with a green claw which grabbed a knife from a cradle, and another, in the form of a horrid shadow, grabbed the pigtail of a girl who was climbing stairs. Some even theorized that the monster is the newly-born Anti-Christ (who revealed itself at the end of Murder House) based on the cradle in the first aforementioned teaser trailer. There were also several theories involved satanic cults, schools, prisons and/or orphanage after the release of several trailers. Among them, however, a theory involved with Slender Man was later disproved by the crew.
The crew once had prepared a public meeting set in June, 2016, possibly to reveal the theme of Season 6, but it was shut down due to the tragedy of Orlando nightclub shooting, happened in June 2, 2016. After that, a short video was released, which contains the crew of AHS (including Lady Gaga, Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett, Emma Roberts, Evan Peters, Wes Bentley, Kathy Bates and Finn Wittrock) and several celebrities to introduce the victims, expressing their condolence and raising a campaign to stop the hate and violence.