Every season of ‘American Horror Story’ ranked
Alas, 2020 is the first year in 10 that we haven't been gifted with a new entry in Ryan Murphy's horror anthology series. (Not that he's been taking time off, because he definitely has not). With production on the tenth series halted earlier this year, we've decided to take a look back at the past nine entries in the series to find out which one is the cream of the crop. Or, given the scare factor of the franchise, the scream of the bunch.
But which one will come out on top? Boasting nine seasons, 103 episodes, hundreds of characters played by returning castmates, here is our definitive list of the nine seasons of 'American Horror Story' ranked from worst to best.
There was no competition here for which series was the hardest to sit through. We get what Murphy was trying to do here - it was the time when Trump became the US president, and political unrest broke out across the nation. What started out as a mysterious premise quickly evaporated into Sarah Paulson's constant shrieking; Evan Peters' cult leader sporting a top knot; while the height of the drama was when it was revealed that left-wing characters didn't vote for a Green Party politician named Jill Stein. The horror was all too real for 'Cult' to be enjoyable.
8 'Freak Show'
'Freak Show' was the fourth entry in the series. And it proved to be one where the plotline struggled to get going. Set in the 1950s, Jessica Lange leads a team of diverse circus performers, as she plays an ageing star whose dreams of making it big. While thin on the plotline, the story does feature one of the scariest characters to ever appear on the 'AHS' lineup; Twisty the Clown. The season should also be applauded for its characterisation of actors with physical disabilities, as well as having one of the creepiest opening sequences of the nine.
Following the poor reception to 'Cult', many were hoping that 'Apocalypse' would be the 'AHS' saving grace. Set in the near future, the end of the world is upon us, and all of the main characters of the season are shunted into a bunker in an unknown location. Again, this series struggled with any decent scares from the beginning. The only redeeming factor was the major cross-over with previous seasons, which made for some decent rejoicing from fans of the earlier seasons.
The latest entry in the series, '1984' went off-piste in favour of having a much younger cast lead the scares. Emma Roberts played the lead role of a camp monitor who begrudgingly goes to a mysterious all-American summer camp in the middle of nowhere. It was a definite throwback to the '80s and '90s slasher movies. Ryan Murphy made sure there was plenty of cheese and tubular references in those nine episodes. Starting off strong, the series gradually fizzled out towards the end, which was a real pity. Having said that, it did have a banging soundtrack.
Let's be honest - 'Roanoke' started off strong. Dropping us into a haunted farmhouse in the middle of nowhere should have been the dream for horror fans. Plenty was going bump in the night for the new residents of the house, with Lily Rabe, André Holland and Adina Porter all recounting their terrifying moments while there. 'Roanoke' had a supernatural vibe which was welcomed - and Kathy Bates stole the show as "The Butcher". However, when the big reveal came along a few episodes in, it didn't really hit as well as we'd hoped it would.
Two words - LADY GAGA. Yes, the singer known for her 'Pokerface' (and 'A Star Is Born' since then), played a murderous, central role in the fifth return to the series. It was all about vampires, creepy hotel guests, and Liz Taylor here, and the series made for a welcome transition back to having the plot revolve around one particular place for our characters to haunt (much like series one). With the inclusion of vampires, 'Hotel' oozes sex appeal and backstabbing traitors, and made for one incredibly enjoyable 12 episodes.
3 'Murder House'
The first series certainly deserves its place in the top three. It introduced us to a whole new realm of horror TV we hadn't ever seen before; that, and also Zachary Quinto's terrifying black latex Rubber Man which we still have nightmares about. What makes series one so brilliant is that it keeps the viewer in the dark. It's difficult to know who to trust, who is a living person and who is dead, and with flashbacks into the past, it's hard to know which way the plot will go.
Now, we'll admit that 'Coven' might not be the scariest of the seasons. This is a horror anthology series after all. However, it boasts such a fascinating storyline, spawned countless memes (Emma Roberts take a bow), and a coven of bad-ass, manipulating, backstabbing witches. We just had to place it high on our list, as it was also the first series where Roberts joined the 'AHS' cast, as well as Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, and Gabourey Sidibe. The series is often regarded as the best by fans. Mostly down to the sheer bitchy drama of it all (and Stevie Nicks turning up too).
Beginning in 1964 at Briarcliff Manor, the mental institution would become our home for the next 13 episodes of pure terror. Hands down the scariest season of the lot, 'Asylum' had it all. Mad scientists, demons, serial killers, Nazis, and a creepy as hell French song ('Dominique') stuck on repeat. And to top it all off, Jessica Lange even recorded a version of 'The Name Game'. The song served as one of the pinnacles of the series. Absolutely bonkers.
What did you think of our 'American Horror Story' ranked selection? Do you agree with the number one spot? Let us know in the Facebook comments.