Long before we were all stuck trying to figure out when Taissa Farmiga would first appear or what the hell teeth rain is, #AmericanHorrorStory took sadistic delight in teasing the theme for Season 6.
Out of the 9000 trailers or so that Ryan Murphy threw our way back in September, only one turned out to be genuine, yet that didn't stop us from appreciating how inventive each of the promos were. Amidst the alien abductions and freaky cribs, the team behind American Horror Story shared their love of the #horror genre with explicit references to a number of classics, paying homage to everything from Nosferatu to Children of the Corn.
Ever wonder how many times the cast of Roanoke have screamed Matt's name this season? Wonder no more:
However, now that #Roanoke is in full bloody swing, American Horror Story continues to pay tribute to horror's most iconic moments each week, inviting viewers to play a sinister version of Where's Waldo? — just with less stripey jumpers and more incest. How many did you spot?
- 'American Horror Story' Season 6: Where Does The Teeth Rain Come From, And Could This Happen In Real Life?
The Blair Witch Project
Even casual fans of horror must have caught on by now to Roanoke's obsession with The Blair Witch Project. From the jumpy camera work and ghostly woods to the wooden stick figures who continue to pop up at the most inconvenient times, the found-footage film that started it all has left an unmistakable mark on American Horror Story this season. Thank god that The Blair Witch franchise didn't resurface awkwardly right around the same time that Roanoke began to air...
The Amityville Horror
Aside from the incessant killing and long-winded titles found in both American Horror Story and The Amityville Horror, both stories also share the kind of imaginary friends that make you wish your kid would just stop being such a strange little freak and make some real friends.
Early on in Roanoke, Lee's daughter Flora began talking to an ethereal companion called Priscilla who threatened to kill everyone who lives in the house. The Amityville Horror featured a similar spirit called Jody who befriended five year old Amy, except this one just so happened to be a pig demon. Pig you say...?
The Butcher may be the most memorable villain on Roanoke so far, but fans can't get enough of the Piggy Man, an ancestor of the Polks who squealed his way into the hall of fame after terrorizing the Millers throughout this season.
Pig masks are a surprisingly common staple of horror, notably taking center stage in the cult classic Motel Hell from 1980. However, the most recognisable use of a swine's face in horror undoubtedly comes from the Saw franchise, which have featured pig masks frequently throughout the series.
Kathy Bates has been a staple of American Horror Story ever since she first lost her head as Delphine LaLaurie in Coven. But the legendary actress will always be most widely known as Annie Wilkes, the psychotic nurse who crippled Paul Sheldon with a sledgehammer in Misery.
It took four seasons for this iconic scene to appear in American Horror Story, but Roanoke finally gave us the hammer smash we both needed and deserved when Mama Polk hobbled Shelby's leg, Misery-style. While we couldn't help but feel disappointed that Bates wasn't directly involved in the homage, there's a chance that involving her in the scene would have hammered the reference in too hard for audiences.
Kubrick's visionary horror has been a point of reference for American Horror Story before, most noticeably in the aesthetic of the Hotel Cortez in Season 5. This season, another sneaky reference to The Shining smashed its way into Roanoke when Wes Bentley's Ambrose White broke down a door with his axe. Unfortunately, "Heeeeeere's Ambrose" doesn't quite have the same ring to it.
Out of the many unfortunate souls who became human baloney at the hands of the Piggy Man, the Chen family were probably the least-rounded characters. Little was revealed of their past, aside from the fact that they're Chinese immigrants who are partial to the occasional TV dinner. However, after they died, their spirits transformed into freaky Grudge like demons who crawled up walls like Kayako. The only thing they're missing now is that guttural scream, which is basically the noise that nightmares would make if they could speak.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Incestuous hillbillies are a staple of many horror films (and numerous regions in Mid-West America), so it was only a matter of time before American Horror Story dove deep into the lore of classic films like Deliverance. Roanoke's Polk family draw inspiration from a number of other movies too, including the likes of The Hills Have Eyes — but their disturbing family bond is arguably most evocative of The Sawyers from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, who enjoy connecting over a spot of human chilli.
Think that's messed up? Wait until you've seen these other disturbing moments from previous seasons:
- 'American Horror Story' Season 6 Crossover: 'Asylum's Lana "Banana" Winters Will Return In ‘Roanoke'
- American Horror Story Season 6: Does Evan Peter's Character Match The True Story Of Slave Owners?
- Shelby Just Did A 'Negan'! So Why's Everyone Mad At 'The Walking Dead' And Not 'American Horror Story’?
While it could be argued that there's a fine line between paying homage to classic movies and just ripping them off entirely, the majority of horror fans take a twisted delight in the way that American Horror Story threads these references into its own mythology and we can't wait to see more as Roanoke comes to a close.