ByEmily Browne, writer at
Twitter: @emrbrowne
Emily Browne

As a longtime fan of American Horror Story, I was positively vibrating for Season 6. Now that we're three episodes in, we can start to evaluate how it compares against the previous 5 seasons. How does My Roanoke Nightmare stand against the iconic Asylum, or the sleaze of Hotel? Series creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have obviously tried to make this season a little different; first by using a smokescreen of nebulous promos and posters, then the shake-up of the opening credits and the talking heads format.

In the past, each season of the AHS anthology has been packed full of the bizarre, the unexplained and the abhorrent, and each season has followed — more or less — the same pattern. We have a cut-and-dry theme, linear storytelling, and some shockingly graphic violence (drilldo, anyone?)

But perhaps that is why Roanoke is starting to feel a little more insidious than the seasons which have come before; Murphy and Falchuk are reminding us that there is no one way to tell an American Horror Story. The rule book has been thrown out.

'American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare' Exploits Our Fear of the Unknown

Kathy Bates as The Butcher. Image: FX
Kathy Bates as The Butcher. Image: FX

While plenty of past seasons have been based on terrifying true stories, every episode of Roanoke is drawing from a multitude of grizzly crimes and unexplained mysteries. First, Roanoke itself — a town of 116 people who mysteriously vanished in the late 16th century, with only the word 'Croatoan' offering any kind of clue. Layered onto this, we have the murderous sisters from Episode 2, and the feral children from Episode 3. These little nuggets of real life have injected some true horror into the season so far.

Episode 4 Promo. Image: FX
Episode 4 Promo. Image: FX

The show even includes a true crime-like disclaimer and cites that all the action on-screen as a dramatic reconstruction. This, in my opinion, is the only thing which is letting it down in the scare department. The juxtaposition of the talking heads and cutaways make you feel like it's all gonna be okay in the end — but perhaps that's what Murphy and Falchuck want you to think...

More American Horror Story:

Which Seasons of AHS are the Scariest?

Like Star Wars vs. Star Trek, Taylor Swift vs. Kanye West, the battle of the best AHS season will rage throughout time. But let's not focus on best, let's focus on scariest:

6. 'Coven'

Scariest moment: An eye for an eye

Coven may be one of my favorite seasons, but it is definitely the least terrifying — except for this scene when Myrtle Snow removes some eyeballs and other body parts with a melon baller.

5. 'Hotel'

Image: FX
Image: FX

Scariest moment: The Addiction Demon

It was a close tie between the brutality of the Ten Commandment Murders and the Addiction Demon, but there are some images you can never scrub from your brain.

4. 'Freakshow'

Image: FX
Image: FX

Scariest moment: Twisty the Clown

Possibly the best character American Horror Story has ever come up with — utterly terrifying.

3. 'Asylum'

Image: FX
Image: FX

Scariest moment: Oliver Theadson and/or poor Shelley :(

Zachary Quinto's Bloodyface/Dr. Threadson was so awful, manipulative and sinister that he was the true essence of evil. But I can't not mention poor Shelley's fate: a horror worse than death.

2. 'My Roanoke Nightmare'

Image: FX
Image: FX

Scariest moment (so far): Pigs heads everywhere!

The first episode was packed with tension, and with absolutely nothing to go on from the promos, anything was possible. With Ryan Murphy teasing a total game-changer in Episode 6, literally anything could happen to the actors & real residents of Roanoke — and we predict it's going to get grisly.

1. Murder House

Scariest moment: "Normal people scare me"

Why is Murder House number one, you ask? Because it introduced this bizarre world in such a visceral and masterful way. The baby thing in the basement, the leather-clad rapist, heck — even the opening credits creeped me out more than any others. While many rank Asylum as the most brutal and overall best, for me Murder House has the scares — and at just three episodes in, Roanoke isn't too far behind. Check out the promo for Season 6, Episode 4, Chapter 4.


Which series of 'American Horror Story' do you find the scariest?


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