ByStephen Patterson, writer at
Verified writer at Movie Pilot. Follow me on twitter: @mr_sjpatterson
Stephen Patterson

Warning: This article contains spoilers from American Horror Story: Roanoke.

The latest season of American Horror Story, subtitled Roanoke, has really revitalized the anthology series creating a brand new world full of traditional scares and doumentary-style footage that makes us want to retreat behind the sofa during each new episode. Initially focusing on the fictional documentary My Roanoke Nightmare, the show took us through a series of episodic re-enactments of Matt and Shelby Miller's horrifying experience during their stay at the Roanoke farmhouse. The Millers were almost murdered by ghosts of the Roanoke colony lead by the Butcher.

After Roanoke Nightmare concluded, producer Sidney Aaron James began production on a sequel series entitled Return to Roanoke: Three Days In Hell that saw the re-enactors and their real life counterparts return to the haunted house of for three nights during the Blood Moon cycle. Ever since the reality Big Brother style show began filming, the participants have been caught in the chaos and the re-enactors finally realized that Matt and Shelby were telling the truth all along.

The last two episodes of saw the Roanoke colony attempt to break into the house, as well as the arrival of the real Butcher. In this chilling moment we were all hung up on trying to work out which AHS actress would play the real Butcher and whether or not Jessica Lange would be appearing that we missed a horrifying thing about the character. The real Butcher might've butchered Agnes — Kathy Bates's character who played the role of the Butcher earlier in the re-enactment — but that wasn't even the most terrifying thing — upon closer examination, it appears that The Butcher has hooves where her hands should be. It's an incredibly dark shot so it's hard to tell whether she has hooves instead of hands or merely hooves sewn into her arms/outfit but either way this makes her so much more terrifying.

The real Butcher hands look strange. [via FX]
The real Butcher hands look strange. [via FX]

The Butcher's hoof hands will likely be brought to our attention later down the line, as it definitely changes things for American Horror Story: Roanoke. For example, is the real Butcher some sort of hybrid of human and animal? Probably not, it's probably directly related to the colonies obsession with pigs. However, the most important thing is the fact that we are never made aware of this in the documentary — how come we never seen this featured in My Roanoke Nightmare?

Does The Real Butcher Differ From The One Seen In My Roanoke Nightmare?

Agnes portrayed a great Butcher. [via FX]
Agnes portrayed a great Butcher. [via FX]

My Roanoke Nightmare was a valuable source of information for viewers as we learned not only what happened to Matt and Shelby but we also picked up on the back story of the colonists, Scathach and The Butcher. Agnes' portrayal of the Butcher earned her a Saturn nomination and she was apparently a fan favorite character. In the real world, we call that Kathy Bates' being awesome.

However, the re-enactment never showed anything to suggest that the Butcher's anatomy was any different from ordinary humans nor did it suggest that she had an affinity for hooves. On several occasions, Agnes' Butcher could be seen taunting her victims with the meat cleaver and there was nothing out of the ordinary about her hands.

How different is the Real Butcher compared to Agnes' version? [via FX]
How different is the Real Butcher compared to Agnes' version? [via FX]

Moreover, Agnes mentioned that she was only contracted to do three episodes of Roanoke Nightmare but due to fan popularity she was asked to do the full season. If the producers only needed her for three episodes then this suggests that the character wasn't as important to the narrative as we once thought. If Agnes stayed on for more episodes then this is clearly suggesting that the writers had to add extra material to the narrative to keep Agnes around, meaning that the extra material was likely fiction.

Another huge difference is that Agnes' Butcher never missed an opportunity to speak about her ownership of the Roanoke land, as well as going on long winded rants about how she is the "tree and the lightning that strikes it" whereas the real Butcher was more stoic and intimidating, hiding in the shadows. Upon reflection, some of the rants said by the re-enacted version of the Butcher were stereotypical and rather cheesy, which makes me wonder if these lines were added in an attempt to not only flesh out Agnes' part but to make the Butcher more relatable to the audience.

Check out these seriously messed up moments from American Horror Story:

The real Butcher never opened her mouth once — there was no mention of it being her sacred land and she brutally murdered Agnes without saying a word. Perhaps the real Butcher is rather stoic and all of the material we saw in the re-enactment was pure fiction. Maybe the real Butcher is just a cold-blooded killer and her murders have nothing to do with the victims occupying her land?

In the real world, the fact that producers didn't choose one of their regular actresses to portray the character certainly suggests the Butcher isn't of as much importance as we once thought. Ultimately, these differences raises the question —how reliable is My Roanoke Nightmare?

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Was My Roanoke Nightmare A Perfect Illusion?

How much of it was true? [via FX]
How much of it was true? [via FX]

As My Roanoke Nightmare was the basis of the first half of Roanoke I guess we just took the events as an absolute reality. However, because of the differences between the real life Butcher and Agnes' re-enacted version of the character our suspicions about the reliability of the whole documentary have been raised. While we're on this subject, remember that it was Sidney Aaron James behind My Roanoke Nightmare. Sidney was no doubt narcissistic and based on his personality — we finally met him after ended — I wouldn't be surprised if he fictionalised much more of the events than we are currently aware of.

Let's not forget that when the sequel series was in its early stages of production Sidney wanted to create fake scares — such an as exploding sink — for dramatic effect so who's to say he didn't embellish a little on Roanoke Nightmare also? Sidney loved to create drama and in an attempt to make his documentary series much more dramatic and explosive it's entirely possible that he altered the truth. As Lady Gaga would say, it was a perfect illusion.

What Does This Mean For American Horror Story?

The Butcher clearly didn't like her re-enactor. [via FX]
The Butcher clearly didn't like her re-enactor. [via FX]

My Roanoke Nightmare played a huge part in allowing the viewers to understand and follow along with the events of Return to Roanoke, however, now the reliability of Roanoke Nightmare has been called into question. Why is the Butcher so different from the re-enacted version? Could Sidney have embellished other things that we are currently unaware of?

The unreliability of My Roanoke Nightmare means that we are walking though the tunnels without a torch — The documentary is no longer trustworthy and it means that we can't possibly predict what will happen next. We haven't officially met the real versions of Scathach or Edward Phillipe Mott yet so who knows how they may differ from the re-enacted versions? With so little of Roanoke left, there could be some major, unpredictable twists ahead.

Check out the preview clip from next week's penultimate episode:

American Horror Story: Roanoke has delivered on so many ways, namely by scaring the living daylights out of us. We thought we knew everything there is to know about the colonists but Return to Roanoke has been extremely enlightening and if we've learned anything it's that we should have never trusted Sidney Aaron James.

With the Real Butcher's appearance totally freaking us out, could we see many more shocking revelations and twists before Roanoke reaches its terrifying conclusion? Its possible — this is American Horror Story we're talking about after all.

American Horror Story airs Wednesdays on FX. Do you think we can trust Sidney's Roanoke Nightmare documentary? Tell me in the comment section below.


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