Warning: This article contains spoilers from the American Horror Story: Roanoke.
The sixth season of American Horror Story has been commended for setting up a terrifying new world, void of all the eccentric attributes seen on previous seasons of the horror anthology series. Instead, the latest season — Roanoke — has opted for more subtle, old fashioned scares and a realistic storyline that has made the series much more terrifying than previous seasons.
People would be correct in calling Roanoke the scariest #AHS yet, but the latest episode —"Chapter 5" — took the scares to a whole new level and without a doubt in my mind became the shows most terrifying installment ever produced. As a long time viewer of the show, I found myself jumping while watching " Chapter 5" and the threat of losing our beloved Miller family scared me much more than say the murderers seen in Asylum or Freak Show.
The Millers Were Caught In An Unescapable Situation
The latest episode picked up right where the last one had left off and the Miller family found themselves trapped in their own home. The supernatural Roanoke colony waited for them outside, but Shelby and Matt refused to let themselves and Flora fall victim to the threat beyond the wall. The Millers tried to escape but found themselves trapped at every turn. The whole idea of being trapped in your own home was scary enough, but the fact that the house was practically coming alive from within made matters much more terrifying.
As we'd learned in the previous episode, the blood moon allows the Roanoke colony to cross over the veil between the living and the dead. Because of this, they are able to kill during the ritual. One of the more jump-worthy scenes happened as The Millers ran for their lives to the front entrance of their farmhouse.
I'm not a huge fan of films like The Exorcist so I found the next bit to be rather terrifying. Flora was kidnapped by a female entity that crawled around the house like a spider. The creatures shuffled itself all around the house before leaving Flora near the door and climbing up the wall. It was excellently done and as a person who isn't usually that type of horror fan, I was jumping in my seat.
The Lives Of The Miller Family Were Put In Danger And That Was Scary To Watch
The Millers may have had their annoying moments but over the course of the five episodes Roanoke, I've found myself becoming really attached to them. Don't get me wrong, I've connected with many AHS characters over the years and I've liked characters far more than Matt or Shelby, even the villainous Fiona Goode.
There is a difference though, watching a horror series and rooting for the likable bitch-witch or the threatening ghost is great because AHS is just a show. However, Roanoke feels different — it feels real and there is a clear dynamic set up between the Miller family and the Roanoke colony — it's not just good vs. evil, it's right vs wrong.
The Millers possess no supernatural abilities (that we know of) — they are just regular folk trying to live their lives in piece. The colony are cold blooded killers and no amount of back story explanation is going to make us want them to succeed in the murder of the Millers. The realism of Roanoke allows us to empathize with Shelby and Matt and on many occasions during the latest episode I found myself rooting for them, wanting them to to survive and get out of the house at all costs.
When Matt, Shelby and Flora were kidnapped by the Polk family it was revealed that Elias — the man who told the Miller's about the land — was still alive. "Mama" Polk's appearance sent us all over the edge as she was not only played by AHS legend Frances Conroy but it was Conroy's most terrifying role yet. Conroy had been rumored to be appearing on Roanoke but nobody new what chapter she would be playing. Mama Polk was cooking pieces of Elias and eating him while he was still alive to witness the whole thing. One of her children then brutally killed Elias with a hammer, giving The Walking Dead's Negan a run for his money.
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The Butcher Is The Scariest Character Ever On The Show
The Butcher's backstory has been explained to us in previous episodes, but "Chapter 5" took her to a whole new level of scary. When her son refused to let her cause any more harm he dragged her into her own fire. In an awesomely horrific moment, she emerged from the flames like the Terminator to chase Shelby and Matt, unrelenting and unwilling to give up.
Kathy Bates has played many terrifying roles before and everybody remembers her performance in Misery fondly. She's played several scary roles on AHS before too, specifically Coven's Delphine LaLaurie although she was much more subdued and comical as opposed to Tomasyn White a.k.a. the Butcher.
Again, the realistic tone of Roanoke has painted her as a nothing more than a cold blooded killer — she even murdered her own son in the past. Although her purpose is to protect the land from trespassers, the Millers never once threatened the land and thus her motive is not very strong. We can't emotionally connect with her which leaves us seeing her as the villain.
Bates deserves an Emmy for her role this season — for me, it's her strongest performance since LaLaurie. Between the accent and the delivery of her lines, the fear of her character has definitely kept me awake during the night!
Check Out A Preview For "Chapter 6":
With the future of American Horror Story: Roanoke left uncertain, there is very little we can do except speculate about where the show will go next. With Shelby and Matt safe (for now?) the dramatic re-enactments may have come to an end, meaning that Sarah Paulson may not be seen again as Shelby. With five episodes left, American Horror Story: Roanoke will have it's work cut out to make a scarier episode than the one we have just witnessed.
American Horror Story airs Wednesdays on FX. Where do you think Roanoke will go next? Tell me in the comment section below.