In these tumultuous times, you might be experiencing your very own American horror story. If you’re looking for something to binge to distract you from the catastrophic outside world, I would highly suggest diving into the American Horror Story series on Netflix. Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, I’ve compiled a ranking of all of the seasons of the FX hit.
9. Hotel (Season 5)
Hotel is actually the only season of American Horror Story that I haven’t watched all the way through, so take my review with a grain of salt. Though I did watch most of the episodes, I couldn’t bring myself to finish it because it was just too odd for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lady Gaga and really wanted to love this season, but I honestly just couldn’t follow the storyline. Trust me, this season is just weird. In the conception of season 5, I think that the writers spent more time on making it creepy and grotesque than they spent on the actual storyline. Basically, “Hotel” is about a retro hotel in downtown Los Angeles. A string of murders occurred here that seem to symbolize sins in violation of the Ten Commandments. Oh, and Lady Gaga is a vampire?
8. 1984 (Season 9)
Next up in the ranking is the most recent season of American Horror Story, which premiered in 2019. I know it’s second-to-last on my list, but I actually did enjoy this season, just not as much as others. “1984” follows counselors working at a summer camp called Camp Redwood, run by super religious Margaret Booth (Leslie Grossman). Upon arrival, news breaks that Benjamin Richter, AKA Mr. Jingles, has escaped from a local insane asylum and is headed towards the camp. As the season progresses, we find out a lot about the backstory of the camp, the counselors and Mr. Jingles himself. I hate to sound basic, but I really loved the aesthetic of this season. The 80’s were just so iconic!
7. Roanoke (Season 6)
Coming in at number 7 we have “Roanoke”, season 6 of American Horror Story. I like this season because it’s pretty unconventional. The first few episodes of the season are set up like a documentary similar to any episode of Haunted or My Ghost Story. In My Roanoke Nightmare, a couple depict their harrowing experiences living in a farm house situated on land where the Roanoke colony settled after their infamous 1850 disappearance. After the widespread popularity of the documentary, the couple and the actors who reenacted the strange events for the show go back to the farm house during the blood moon for a sequel documentary called Return to Roanoke: Three Days in Hell. Believe me, all hell breaks loose. I love how creative the writers got with this season, and it includes one of my favorite performances from Kathy Bates.
6. Cult (Season 7)
“Cult” is wild because it’s actually pretty realistic. There’s no ghosts, voodoo queens or witches in this American Horror Story season. “Cult” is set in a Michigan town that is left divided after the 2017 presidential election of Donald Trump. Sarah Paulson plays a restaurant owner who becomes mentally unstable in the weeks after the election. Consequently, she falls into old patterns of psychosis (or is she actually being terrorized?). Additionally, Evan Peters plays a misogynistic white-supremacist who, elated by the election, decides to run for his local city council. If you’re troubled about our current political climate, just wait until you see the complete insanity in this season.
5. Apocalypse (Season 8)
Next up we have “Apocalypse”. The best thing about this season of American Horror Story is that it incorporates something from all of the previous seasons. Consequently, we see scenes in the hotel and the murder house, and we get to watch the witches from “Coven” a second time around! “Apocalypse” is set in the near future during, you guessed it, the apocalypse. Michael Langdon is the antichrist who spawned the apocalypse by instigating nuclear warfare.
Outpost 3 is the fallout shelter that houses those rich enough to afford a spot, and we meet an interesting cast of characters there. Years before, Outpost 3 served as a school for warlocks where Michael Langdon rose to the highest position. The headmasters of the school, not recognizing that he was the antichrist, called upon the witches from coven to declare Micheal the new Supreme. There’s a lot to unpack with this season, and I would suggest watching earlier seasons first so you can catch the references they make in season 8.
4. Asylum (Season 2)
Firstly, I have to say that this is probably my favorite performance from Evan Peters on American Horror Story. Set in 1964, “Asylum” follows patients in the religious Briarcliff Manor for the criminally insane. Evan Peters plays Kit Walker, a man who is incarcerated at Briarcliff due to a serial killer accusation. Sarah Paulson plays a journalist who looks to Briarcliff for her next big story. Further, Jessica Lange plays Sister Jude, who runs Briarcliff along with Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe). Demonic possession, scientific experiments and alien abduction characterize this season. “Asylum” ranks higher on my list because it’s just so messed up, and it reminds me of the actual treatment of “the criminally insane” in the past. You’ll have to watch to find out for yourself.
3. Freak Show (Season 4)
Though “Freak Show” isn’t necessarily the scariest season of American Horror Story, it definitely has one of the best story lines. Set in 1952 in Jupiter, Florida, “Freak Show” is about, well, just that. Jessica Lange leads the freak show in my favorite performance by her on American Horror Story. The show consists of a “lobster boy,” a tiny woman, a bearded lady and twins sharing one body, just to name a few interesting characters. Oh, and if you’re afraid of clowns, prepare to be seriously spooked. Moreover, there are a lot of sinister happenings going on behind the scenes. I won’t reveal too much more, but know that there are some sinister characters that will pop up. I love this season because the characters are so well-developed. And, even with claws for hands, Evan Peters is still smokin’.
2. Murder House (Season 1)
Ahh, “Murder House”. This first season of American Horror Story is truly incredible. The season follows the Harmons, a family who moves into a house haunted by all the past spirits murdered there. Taissa Farmiga plays her usual character of the dark teenage daughter, and she shares a romance with Evan Peters. Oh, and Jessica Lange is divine! This queen always brings the drama. Beyond the Harmons, you’ll meet a whole array of characters. From nurses, doctors and students to disfigured apparitions, there’s a surprise around every corner. “Murder House” is one of my favorite seasons because the plot line is so well thought-out. Though characters often seem random, viewers come to find that everything connects back to the house in one way or another. Plus, the ending is insane.
1. Coven (Season 3)
Finally, we have arrived at the best season of American Horror Story. Voodoo and witchcraft drive this season. Set in New Orleans, “Coven” is full of legendary queens. The season follows a dwindling coven of witches that reside in Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies. Students include Taissa Farmiga, Emma Roberts, Jamie Brewer and Gabourey Sidibe, each with their own distinct personality and powers. Additionally, Sarah Paulson plays Cordelia, who runs the academy. The Supreme witch is, of course, played by Jessica Lange. Other powerful women in the season include Frances Conroy, Lily Rabe and Angela Bassett. If you need a serious dose of girl power, this is the season for you. “Coven” is brilliant and has the ability to capture and hold your attention throughout. Also, if you are itching to see some burning at the stake, boy are you in for a treat.
This has been the scoop on each season of American Horror Story. Also, check out some of our other stuff!