Continuing the Horror

American Horror Story Starts a New Season

Shelby K., Writer

The newest season of American Horror Story aired on September 14th and takes place in the location of one of America’s biggest mysteries: Roanoke.

In real-life US history, the colony of Roanoke existed in present day North Carolina. Governor John White temporarily left the colony to gather supplies, but upon his return he found that the settlers had disappeared. The only clue as to where they were was the word “Cro” carved into a tree and “Croatoan” carved onto a post, but the settlers were never found.

American Horror Story (AHS) is a TV-MA show with six seasons so far, starring Evan Peters from X-Men, Jessica Lange from King Kong, Sarah Paulson from Serenity, and many other talented actors. A unique feature of AHS is that each season features actors from the previous seasons, but the plot and characters change completely. Previous themes have been Murder House, Asylum, Coven, Freak Show, and Hotel, the last of which was added to Netflix on October 4th.

Since the premiere of AHS in 2011, the show has racked up an average view count of 4.94 million per premiere, and about 3.19 million for all other episodes. Most of the watchers are teenage females, but anyone can enjoy the thrills of American Horror Story.

The newest season, Roanoke, lives up to the show’s expectations. It is perfectly creepy with plot twists at just the right moments, and the crew used sound effects (and absence of sound) to their advantage. The producers pair visual and audio stimuli to provoke various feelings in their viewers, such as abruptly stopping the music as soon as a character switches the lights on to add relief after a suspenseful tension. This technique creates a realistic experience that completely immerses the viewer.

Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe, Cuba Gooding Jr, Andre Holland, Adina Porter, Angela Bassett, and Kathy Bates are all main actors in Roanoke. It is filmed documentary-style, where characters share their story during an interview and it is re-enacted by other people. That style makes it different than the other seasons, as it is something AHS has not done before.

The series even paid homage to The Blair Witch Project, a 1999 horror film. Although some of the events were a bit odd, like teeth falling from the sky, they enhanced the otherworldly monstrousness that AHS fans know and love.

In many ways, AHS critiques contemporary society and speaks to the challenges that individuals face within the society they live. Many storylines feature characters who identify as LGBT+, experience mental illness, struggle with body image, face discrimination. An example of this is the two main characters in Roanoke, Matt and Shelby, who face prejudice because of their interracial relationship.

The gore and violence allows the watcher to understand the severity of the situation the show is critiquing. Being able to grasp such important concepts is critical for teenagers, who are learning to live in reality and face the world.

Freshman Sean Hicks claims AHS taught him that “people can be strange, and there are unique things in the world that people don’t know [about].”

The talented actors can switch from caring to callous in a matter of seconds if their character calls for it, or add emotion to their words like they are truly feeling them rather than just mimicking them.

Of course, a character would not be the same without their makeup, which the crew does an amazing job with. It takes true talent to create a scary yet visually appealing makeup look. Whether it is the transformation of Naomi Grossman to Pepper (season two and four) or the menacing look of Tate Langdon’s alter ego (season one), the makeup is flawless and radiates with personality.

Freshman Marcus Magsayo says, “I relate to Fiona Goode [from season three] because we are both queens.” Magsayo’s comment demonstrates that regardless of the season, there is always a character who will resonate with any given person, no matter their age, gender, or race.