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American Horror Story

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American Horror Story
"American Horror Story" logo
DescriptionA horror drama anthology, with each season as a self-contained story.
CreatorRyan Murphy
StartedOctober 5, 2011
Family friendly?no
American Horror Story is a horror-drama television show created and produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. It is an anthology, with each season taking place in a new setting. The series is broadcast on FX Networks and premiered on October 5, 2011. The Pilot garnered the best ratings FX had ever seen for a series premiere and its popularity continued to rise with the second season premiere marking the shows highest numbers[1]. It has received positive reaction from critics and fans alike. In 2012, it was nominated for 17 Primetime Emmy Awards under the miniseries category[2].



Ryan Murphy

Creators Murphy and Falchuk began working on American Horror Story before their Fox series Glee began production. Murphy wanted to do the opposite of what he had done previously and thus began his work on the series. He stated, "I went from Nip/Tuck to Glee, so it made sense that I wanted to do something challenging and dark. And I always had loved, as Brad had, the horror genre. So it just was a natural for me.[1]"

Falchuk was intrigued by the idea of putting a different angle on the horror genre, stating that their main goal in creating the series was to scare viewers. "You want people to be a little bit off balance afterwards," he said. The dark tone of the series is modeled after the ABC soap opera Dark Shadows, which Murphy’s grandmother forced him to watch when he was younger to toughen him up[2].

Murphy and Falchuk drew inspiration from real life crimes. Murphy noted tour buses that go by Sharon Tate's house and clubs devoted to murder re-creations. He stated that the series explores people's general obsession with crime and murder. "It’s a way to circumvent your own anxiety in very anxious times," he said. "In times of economic anxiety, if you look at the template, two genres flourish: horror and musicals. I think people want to either be scared or completely forget about their troubles. As we go further into the series, we get into the economic anxieties.[3]"

Murphy's other inspiration for the show came from the AMC series The Walking Dead, which premiered in 2010. He called it "the greatest TV viewing experience" of his life that year. Falchuk noted that American Horror Story's scariest moments to him come from the emotional drama that the Harmons must contend with, as opposed to the violent scenes[4].

In February 2011, FX officially announced that it had ordered a pilot for a possible series from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, with both Murphy and Falchuk writing and Murphy directing. Dante Di Loreto was announced as executive producer. Production on the series began in April 2011. In July 2011, FX officially announced the project had been picked up to series[5].

Critical Reception

  • The show has received very varied responses, verging from the enthusiastic to complete rejection from critics. Ken Tucker from Entertainment Weekly gave it a score of B+[1] Chuck Barney of the San Jose Mercury News said "Most TV shows, after all, quickly fade from memory. This one will haunt your dreams." However, some critics, such as Alan Sepinwall, feel that the show just has scenes and sounds that people will want to forget[2]. Some critics gave mixed reviews, such as Mary McNamara of The Los Angeles Times who said  "Because even with all the zombies and vampires, there is always room for a good "American Horror Story". The first season scored a 62 out of 100 from the review site Metacritic  from 30 reviews by critics.


From the beginning (though obscured from the viewers), Murphy and Falchuk planned that each season of the series would tell a different story. After the first season finale aired, Murphy spoke of his plans to change the cast and location for the second season. He did say, however, that some actors who starred in the first season would be returning. "The people that are coming back will be playing completely different characters, creatures, monsters, etc. [The Harmons'] stories are done. People who are coming back will be playing entirely new characters," he announced. Although there is a new story with every season, there are still actors who appear in the new story, with a new character. They are usually called repeating players. The only players to appears in all three seasons are: Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe, and Frances Conroy. There are also players who have made more than one appearance in a single season but have not appeared in all of them, such as: Zachary Quinto, Dylan McDermott, Taissa Farmiga, Denis O'Hare, Jamie Brewer, and Alexandra Breckenridge.

Production for the show began in February 2011, with Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk generally composing the show.[citation needed] Casting began in late March and extended to late May, with the first cast member being Connie Britton as Vivien Harmon, and then Denis O'Hare as Larry, and Dylan McDermott as Ben Harmon. In April, Jessica Lange joined as Constance, and Taissa Farmiga and Evan Peters were cast as Violet Harmon and Tate Langdon, respectively. Alexandra Breckenridge and Frances Conroy were later cast as Moira O'Hara.
The actual 'Murder House' used in Season 1 is called the Rosenheim Mansion and has been used in various TV shows and movies such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ghost Whisperer, Spiderman etc.

The second miniseries premiered on October 17, 2012 and ran for thirteen episodes.

A third story was announced on November 15, 2012[1] It was announced at the 2013 PaleyFest panel that the story title would be "Coven".

A fourth story was announced on November 6, 2013, which will feature 13 episodes. It was announced on Ryan Murphy's Twitter account on March 24, 2014 that the story title would be "Freak Show."[2]

Episodes by Crew

Murder House

Episode Premiere Writer(s) Director
Pilot 2011-10-05 Ryan Murphy ; Brad Falchuk Ryan Murphy
Home Invasion 2011-10-12 Ryan Murphy ; Brad Falchuk Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Murder House (episode) 2011-10-19 Jennifer Salt Bradley Buecker
Halloween: Part 1 2011-10-26 James Wong David Semel
Halloween: Part 2 2011-11-02 Tim Minear David Semel
Piggy Piggy 2011-11-09 Jessica Sharzer Michael Uppendahl
Open House 2011-11-16 Brad Falchuk Tim Hunter
Rubber Man (episode) 2011-11-23 Ryan Murphy Miguel Arteta
Spooky Little Girl 2011-11-30 Jennifer Salt John Scott
Smoldering Children 2011-12-07 James Wong Michael Lehmann
Birth 2011-12-14 Tim Minear Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Afterbirth 2011-12-21 Jessica Sharzer Bradley Buecker


Episode Premiere Writer(s) Director
Welcome to Briarcliff 2012-10-17 Tim Minear Bradley Buecker
Tricks and Treats 2012-10-24 James Wong Bradley Buecker
Nor'easter 2012-10-31 Jennifer Salt Michael Uppendahl
I Am Anne Frank: Part 1 2012-11-07 Jessica Sharzer Michael Uppendahl
I Am Anne Frank: Part 2 2012-11-14 Brad Falchuk Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
The Origins of Monstrosity 2012-11-21 Ryan Murphy David Semel
Dark Cousin 2012-11-28 Tim Minear David Semel
Unholy Night 2012-12-05 James Wong Michael Lehmann
The Coat Hanger 2012-12-12 Jennifer Salt Jeremy Podeswa
The Name Game 2013-01-02 Jessica Sharzer Michael Lehmann
Spilt Milk 2013-01-09 Brad Falchuk Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Continuum 2013-01-16 Ryan Murphy Craig Zisk
Madness Ends 2013-01-23 Tim Minear Alfonso Gomez-Rejon


Episode Premiere Writer(s) Director
Bitchcraft 2013-10-09 Ryan Murphy ; Brad Falchuk Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Boy Parts 2013-10-16 Tim Minear Michael Rymer
The Replacements 2013-10-23 James Wong Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Fearful Pranks Ensue 2013-10-30 Jennifer Salt Michael Uppendahl
Burn, Witch. Burn! 2013-11-06 Jessica Sharzer Jeremy Podeswa
The Axeman Cometh 2013-11-13 Douglas Petrie Michael Uppendahl
The Dead 2013-11-20 Brad Falchuk Bradley Buecker
The Sacred Taking 2013-12-04 Ryan Murphy Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Head 2013-12-11 Tim Minear Howard Deutch
The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks 2014-01-08 James Wong Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Protect the Coven 2014-01-15 Jennifer Salt Bradley Buecker
Go to Hell 2014-01-22 Jessica Sharzer Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
The Seven Wonders 2014-01-29 Douglas Petrie Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Freak Show

Episode Premiere Writer(s) Director
Monsters Among Us 2014-10-08 Ryan Murphy ; Brad Falchuk Ryan Murphy
Massacres and Matinees 2014-10-15 Tim Minear Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Edward Mordrake: Part 1 2014-10-22 James Wong Michael Uppendahl
Edward Mordrake: Part 2 2014-10-29 Jennifer Salt Howard Deutch
Pink Cupcakes 2014-11-05 Jessica Sharzer Michael Uppendahl
Bullseye 2014-11-12 Ryan Murphy ; Brad Falchuk ; John J. Gray Howard Deutch
Test of Strength 2014-11-19 Crystal Liu Anthony Hemingway
Blood Bath 2014-12-03 Ryan Murphy Bradley Buecker
Tupperware Party Massacre 2014-12-10 Ryan Murphy ; Brad Falchuk Loni Peristere
Orphans 2014-12-17 Ryan Murphy ; Brad Falchuk Bradley Buecker
Magical Thinking 2015-01-07 Jennifer Salt Michael Goi
Show Stoppers 2015-01-14 Jessica Sharzer Loni Peristere
Curtain Call 2015-01-21 John J. Gray Bradley Buecker

Season 1: Murder House

This article is about the miniseries. For the episode, see Murder House (episode). For the location, see Murder House (location).
Murder House
StartedOctober 5, 2011
EndedDecember 21, 2011
Season #1
Number of episodes12
American Horror Story

Murder House is the fan-given, retroactively assigned subtitle for the first season of American Horror Story or AHS.[1] It ran from October 5, 2011 until December 21, 2011. First broadcasts[2] of episodes were on FX in the United States.

The Harmons face many conflicts going on in their new home; the primary one stemming from Ben Harmon's adultery, and the subsequent fallout with his wife Vivien and daughter Violet. Other conflicts include the intrusive behavior of the neighbors, Constance and Adelaide, as well as intrusions from one of Dr. Harmon's patients, Tate. A parade of mysterious visitors to their haunted home, including the scarred Larry Harvey make the first year of the Harmons in Los Angeles very dangerous. The house seems to have a vivid history, ranging from brutal murders to demonic manifestations, and it seems to have its own agenda.

Web Story: You're Going to Die in There

Season 1 also contained a parallel story that also took place in Murder House, with familiar situations, titled: You're Going To Die In There.

Season 2: Asylum

StartedOctober 17, 2012
EndedJanuary 23, 2013
Season #2
Number of episodes13
American Horror Story

Asylum is the subtitle for the second season, or miniseries, of American Horror Story. The second miniseries premiered on October 17, 2012 and ran for thirteen episodes. In a New England sanitarium, presided by ministers of faith and science, the innocent and the mad run from greater dangers and their own pasts. Bookended by modern day explorations of the ruins, a darker mystery lies in wait for victims.

Season 3: Coven

AHS Coven poster
StartedOctober 9, 2013
EndedJanuary 29, 2014
Season #3
Number of episodes13
American Horror Story

Coven is the subtitle for the third season, or miniseries, of American Horror Story. A third story was announced on November 15, 2012[1] It was announced at the 2013 PaleyFest panel that the story title would be "Coven".

American Horror Story: Coven tells the secret history of witches and witchcraft in America. Over 300 years have passed since the turbulent days of the Salem witch trials and those who managed to escape are now facing extinction. Mysterious attacks have been escalating against their kind and young girls are being sent away to a special school in New Orleans to learn how to protect themselves. Wrapped up in the turmoil is new arrival, Zoe (Taissa Farmiga), who is harboring a terrifying secret of her own. Alarmed by the recent aggression, Fiona (Jessica Lange), the long-absent Supreme, sweeps back into town determined to protect the Coven and hell bent on decimating anyone who gets in her way.

Season 4: Freak Show


  1. American Horror Story: Listing

Start a Discussion Discussions about American Horror Story

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    249 messages
    • For what it's worth, I think this Operation Top Hat theory is someone's idea of a joke.
    • I thought this thread was for any theories

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