On September 12th, American Horror Story will be taking to our screens for the 8th season.
Little is known about the upcoming series, other than the fact that it will be titled Apocalypse and that it will be somewhat of a crossover between Coven and Murder House with a number of actors playing multiple roles in the one season – a process that worked incredibly well in the most recent season, Cult.
In honour of the upcoming season, and as an avid and slightly strangely enthused viewer of the show, I've ranked the seasons from best to worst. Any guesses where Apocalypse will end up in this line up?
Definitely the most frightening, disturbing and thought-provoking season of the series.
The fate and demise of Shelley, played by Chloë Sevigny is the most horrifying of any character in the season, and the addled experimentation and nod to the most recessive underbelly if Nazi medicine in the character of Dr. Arden adds an especially twisted theme to the show. Sister Mary Eunice's possession, while undoubtedly scary, is a fun element to the show – particularly during her sexy rendition of You Don't Own Me. There is quite a bit going on in this series, with the side plot of alien abduction, visitation and micro bot nano technology, and the back stories of the various asylum patient, particularly Pepper.
This is all before we get on to the main storyline, following Lana Winters, a journalist who is condemned to a stint in the very asylum she is seeking to expose. The overlying religious elements make this series particularly harrowing, along with the serial killer plot with Bloody Face. Ultimately, it portrays the mistreatment of vulnerable people in a time not too far from the one we live in.
An iconic series, and the one that drew many AHS fans to the show, Coven depicts a New Orleans witches haven, where young witches come to harness their powers.
The battle to become The Supreme, the ruler of the Coven is the main thread here, but the sub-plot of historic racism and dark voodoo magic is the most sickening of the series. And don't get me started on Spalding, the perverted necrophile butler's storyline. The main character here is Zoe, who uses her powers to bring a frat boy Kyle, back from the dead after she murders his rapist frat brothers. A crankly old murderous ghost is resurrected, and his fave weapon is an axe. A fight against evil ensues, including working against Papa Legba and the Delphi Trust – an illuminati-like organisation out to end The Academy and its' witches. Then it's on to the Trial of the Seven Wonders to crown the next Supreme ruler of the witches.
3. Murder House
The series that started it all, the clue is in the name with this one. Ben and Vivien Harmon move into a very haunted house with their daughter Violet. Chaos ensues.
Moira O'Hara, played by Frances Conroy and Alexandra Breckenridge, is one of the most intriguing characters, a ghostly housekeeper who appears young and lustful to men, mainly Ben Harmon, but old and innocent to women. Ben, a psychologist, starts to see patients in his home office, and through them we get a history lesson on some of LAs most notorious murderous crimes. Vivien becomes impregnated with the antichrists child, while Violet strikes up a romance with Tate, the ghost of a school shooter. The scenes of Tate's crimes are come of the most difficult to watch, as are those in which we see Violet self harming, adding a disturbing element more rooted in the real world than one of fantasy horror. We also get to see the demise of the houses previous tenants, and the crimes they committed, and it's the houses history that leads to the events of the current day.
After a random attack, a city couple move into a mansion built in the 18th century, and built in the middle of nowhere. The building's close proximity to the site of the Lost Colony of Roanoke on haunted earth makes it the scene of horror during the Blood Moon every year.
This series is cinematically engrossing due to it's odd presentation. Shot as a paranormal documentary series titled My Roanoke Nightmare in the first half of the season, the couple's experiences are reenacted by actors. For the second half, the documentary's cast and the original people to doc was about are brought back for the Blood Moon where (surprise surprise) further terror and slaughter await. It's definitely the most gory of all the seasons, and the sub-plot surrounding the 'hillbilly' family who live close to the manor is a vile depiction of poverty and sociopathy.
Hotel was definitely one of the most curated and art directed seasons of them all – and with it came Lady Gaga stepping in to a lead role. Based on haunted downtown LA hotels likt the Cecil hotel, the art deco grandeur of the set was a decided treat. The show's vampire theme definitely didn't thrill me as much as the historical scenes, where we looked back into the past at the crimes of some of America's most notorious serial killers. As a true crime fanatic, the dramatisation of these terrible crimes was both horrifying and highly interesting.
The interwoven plots of the past and present of the Hotel Cortez keeps you on your toes, and the fantasy aspect of the succubus theme is wild. Bonus points for the styling of Lady Gaga's character in this one.
Freakshow was one of the best series concepts AHS has seen, but there was almost too much going on in this season to truly appreciate one plot line from the next. Also, the villain in this season kept changing, which was a highlight on the one had as it meant that you were never bored, but it also removed the air of intrigue slightly, as one villain was foiled another sprung up in its place. The Morbidity Museum was utterly terrifying, and the entire show spoke to the distasteful human interest in things that are 'freaky.'
The subplots of suppressed sexuality and old-timey prejudice against anyone or anything that was different were the most enthralling, and while Dandy made for an incredible villain, his mother Gloria was easily one of the most twisted and pathetic characters (in a good way) the series has ever portrayed.
The most recent season of AHS comes in last, not because it was bad, by all means it was another amazing season, but because I, and a lot of AHS fans and forums, feel that it just wasn't executed as well as it could have been. The season follows the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential election, and the reactions of the residents of a small town in Michigan.
It delves into the rise of Kai, a seemingly alt-right leader who attempts to provoke rage in all things he does,. His cult of killer clowns terrorises the city, and the entire season highlights the connection between power and corruption. Despite the weird, borderline incest plotline, Billie Lourde shines in this season, and the filler episode with Len Dunham as Valerie Solanas is actually pretty cool, but I so wanted MORE from that thread, especially when mention of the Zodiac Killer arose.