Humans seem to have an innate need to argue, even if it’s with someone about something that you both agree on, and TV fandom can be a strange rabbit hole for that kind of fan-based battling to surface from. So why not turn our attention on one of the most outrageous shows on TV: American Horror Story.
Fans of American Horror Story will no doubt be familiar with the 7 arguments listed here, unless everyone else has completely like-minded friends and never spends any time haunting internet comment sections. Kudos to you, but for the rest of us, these are the discussions that this show has created over the years.
What’s the Best Season of American Horror Story?
We might as well start off with the kind of argument that a lot of shows have, but without the same context as this anthology series. Though each season shares characteristics of those past, the stories are largely original and cover different spectra of the horror genre. If you're a fan of paranormal haunted house stories, then Murder House or Hotel is your thing. If you like your stories with more of a "religion vs. science" flair, then Asylum is the one for you. If your tastes run more into witches and other voodoo hullabaloo, Coven. If you like physical deformities and sadistic killers, Freak Show. There's a dose of something for every fiend here, and I was personally won over by Lily Rabe and James Cromwell's madness in Asylum. Not that you asked, but there it is.
Was Twisty Really the Scariest Clown Ever?
Back when Freak Show was just starting to gather up informational dust last year, co-creator Ryan Murphy came out and boasted that the season would give audiences the most terrifying clown ever. That clown ended up being the jawless Twisty, a beast of a psycho torn between a yearning to be seen as entertaining by people and a separate yearning to just stab them to death. It was truly the performance of John Carroll Lynch that earned Twisty any kind of emotional pull, as the inability to talk – not counting the grossy-gross mask-free jibber-jabber – didn’t really allow the character to become as mentally invasive as It’s Pennywise or other vocal clowns. But Twisty’s silence was indeed deafening, as was the show’s score, only less metaphorically. What do you guys think? (Incidentally, the phrase “other vocal clowns” kept bouncing through my head for the last few minutes, and I had to make sure my door was locked.)
Does American Horror Story Rely Too Much On Shock Value?
As was the case with his previous bonkers-drama Nip/Tuck, Ryan Murphy took American Horror Story and made an Olympic sport out of using “Too Far” as a starting point for the show’s wildest scenes. A lot of non-fans who pop into this show, like parents groups, are given a lot to complain about in an episode, as the stories use taboo topics and gore in a manner most Glee-ful, always pushing gratuitous envelopes. And it generally does it well, because there are tons of scenes each season that can be brought up in “WTF” conversations. But is this a natural progression of pacing, or do Murphy and the rest of the writers/directors lean too heavily in that direction to tell stories that might not otherwise NEED a crucifixion scene? Luckily, this poll lets on to how a good number of people feel about the new season, assuming most are fans of the show and not just everyone’s mortal enemy: random poll-takers.
Were the Aliens in Asylum Interesting or Useless?
When Asylum began, viewers were just getting used to never seeing Connie Britton’s face again on American Horror Story. We didn’t realize we’d be dealing with Evan Peters going from murder-ghost to New England accused serial killer whose wife was kidnapped by aliens. That required some adapting to, and the season took its sweet time getting around to filling in the blanks on our non-friends from above. Considering how deep into the world of nun possession, Nazi science, and psycho Santas Asylum brought us – not to mention introductions to the rest of the inmates and faculty – the Aliens-taking-Alma narrative thread didn’t have the same weight as everything else this season, and many have come to decry it. There are lots of defenders, though, as it was largely American Horror Story’s only dip into the sci-fi realm. In the end, I wouldn’t mind seeing aliens come up in this show again, so long as they’re part of the thrust and not just background decorations.
Is Jessica Lange Necessary in American Horror Story?
Before Hotel came around, American Horror Story was nearly synonymous with Jessica Lange, who stepped out of the spotlight (dressed as David Bowie on occasion) this time around and will presumably not show up this season. Unless she does. In any case, she still remains a core part of what people champion when talking about this show, and her award wins and nominations for her characters speak to that. So is she the absolute best part of this show, or is she a performance-grounded foundation upon which Dylan McBloodyFaceJunior, Kathy Bates’ decapitated head, Minotaurs, and two-headed women can get their bizarre stories told? Her absence in Hotel has been obvious, but would the season necessarily be better if she was back in the cast and chewing scenes away from everyone that’s there, or is it working just as well without her smoky, confidence-oozing characters on the front lines?
Is Co-Creator Ryan Murphy a Genius or a Hack?
With his more genre-based projects, Ryan Murphy and his creative teams are really doing things that just don’t happen on TV ever, and one always knows that his shows are going to swing for the fences, which is a smart marketing tool in and of itself. But his two current horror shows have embraced the genre’s history so whole-heartedly that American Horror Story can sometimes feel like a fleeting story being viewed through the prism of a Greatest Hits album of references, and there has been a fair bit of criticism about his ability to craft truly original stories. Still, greatest hits albums sell for a reason, and AHS provides horror mash-ups of monumental proportions, especially when real-life murders and cases are brought in. His films have been nothing like his scary fare, particularly The Normal Heart, so he’s clearly capable of reining it in. But is he an innovative genius for carving out this shock-drama cubbyhole for himself, or is he just remixing something we’ve all seen before?
What’s the Scariest Character We’ve Seen on American Horror Story?
It’s the age-old question of Which One is Scarier, which has often come up in conversations about the classic Universal monsters and the modern day slashers like Freddy and Jason. American Horror Story usually keeps its most frightening characters to a more limited showing to increase their impact, but sometimes fear-bait like Twisty is given ample time to shine. I’ve made it clear in the past which of them I think is the creepiest character , but my views don’t always reflect others. Particularly if those people are exceedingly scared of priests that look like Joe Fiennes or age-changing maids or Meep. Also, creepy and scary don’t always mean the same thing, either. Murder House’s Tate wasn’t very creepy, but he was scary because he kills people without remorse, while Freak Show’s Dandy wasn’t very scary, even though he killed people without remorse, but he was a creepazoid every time he was on screen. Who freaked you guys out the most?
Head to the next page to tell us which of these arguments you’ve had the most often.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper. Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.