It’s no secret that my favorite television show is “American Horror Story.” While the quality and theme of every season differs, there are always at least a few moments that make my jaw drop. While Hotel is still in full swing, I can’t resist revisiting some of the past seasons (and dip into the current one too.) Be warned: there are multiple MAJOR spoilers for every season so if you’re not up to date on any of them STOP NOW.
Tate’s School Shooting
Season 1, Episode 6 – Piggy Piggy
This might be the all-time WTF moment for me. I don’t scare easily and this scene had me downright terrified. The lack of score, the starkness of the sound, the utter reality of it all is absolutely bone-chilling. What’s worse is that every time I watch it, I’m convinced that this is very much what it was like inside the library at Columbine that day in April. A follow-up WTF is when the SWAT team corners Tate in his room and his final actions are to mime a gun to his head and mouth “pew.” Demented. Awful. I LOVE IT.
Season 1, Episode 10 – Smoldering Children
This was a twist no one saw coming (or at least I didn’t.) Maybe it was because Violet was such a whiny mopy mess the whole season she may as well be a festering corpse. Either way, when Tate led her to her own body, we were taken aback much like she was. But the plot was solid and held up: Violet was, unbeknownst to herself, forced to obey the rules of Murder House. She was now a permanent resident.
Season 2, Episode 3 – Nor’Easter
Asylum is my favorite season (controversial opinion?) because to me it was the darkest, though Hotel is giving it a run for its money. It was bad enough when Dr. Arden tried to rape Shelley, but when she woke up and discovered she was missing her legs, the ante was upped BIG TIME. She slowly devolves into a hideous monster and gets dropped into a children’s playground — which, in all honesty, I find hilarious. Side note: Dr. Arden has one of my favorite quotes in the series. Do you know how fun it is to casually drop “whores get nothing” in an everyday conversation?
The Bloody Face Reveal
Season 2, Episode 5 – I Am Anne Frank Part 2
I love Dr. Thredson. Yes, he’s a totally insane psychopath who murders women and wears their skin, but have you SEEN those eyebrows? That jawline? I’m willing to overlook a few faults. Anyway, this is one of my favorite scenes because up until the moment you see the off-kilter shot of Thredson’s living room, there’s no reason to suspect him. He’s Lana’s savior! He’s a good doctor! But SOMETHING about the way that shot is framed put me off. “Something’s not right,” I told my husband, and sure enough, Lana ends up in the basement playing Mommy. Fantastic.
Kyle’s Relationship With His Mom
Season 3, Episode 3 – The Replacements
Much in the same vein as the previous scene I mentioned, the scene where Kyle’s mom enters his bedroom after he’s returned from the dead made my skin crawl. Something about the framing, the lighting, I don’t know, but for the second time I announced to my husband, “SOMETHING’S NOT RIGHT!” to which he replied, “I don’t really care.” Mare Winningham is great in this scene as an incestuous mother and Evan Peters’ thousand yard stare is painful to watch. But I also have to ask: Ryan Murphy, what’s with the running theme of mommy issues? IT’S IN EVERY SEASON.
Misty In Hell
Season 3, Episode 13 – The Seven Wonders
For a season that I found more campy and frustrating than anything else, I was hard pressed to find really scary scenes. Then I remembered this one. Especially after the lack of terror, it hit me in a weird place. I liked Misty. To see her in such pain and horror was awful, and when the scene began to loop, I got a horrible feeling in my stomach. Misty was going to experience this FOREVER. Then — dust. She’s going to keep cutting open that live frog for eternity and sometimes I still stare out the window and think about it.
Dandy’s Blood Bath
Season 4, Episode 8 – Blood Bath
Is there much to say about this one? Dandy goes full-on crazypants nuts after killing his mother Gloria by draining her blood into a bathtub to soak in. I wasn’t sure during this season whether I liked Dandy or hated him. I guess I felt the same way about the whole season. But shooting your mother between the eyes and then taking a little me-time in her cooling blood is pretty impressive. (I still think he and Thredson are half-brothers.)
Maggie Gets Cut In Half
Season 4, Episode 12 – Show Stoppers
This moment was terrifying and unexpected but HOLY GOD WAS IT ALSO THERAPEUTIC. I am NOT a fan of Emma Roberts, truth be told. Like, I enjoyed her in Coven for what she was: a one-note bitchy diva. Then in Freak Show: a one-note bitchy diva. And later, in Scream Queens: a one-note bitchy diva. I’m over it. I’m over her. So imagine my delight when Neil Patrick Harris, my delightful baby who can do no wrong, saws her in half in a moment of unhinged detachment from reality. Wonderful. And the cherry on top? Angela Bassett’s devastating line: “Steal her jewelry. And bury the bitch.”
Vampire Orgy Massacre
Season 5, Episode 1 – Checking In
Um. Wow. The Countess (and, by extension, Lady Gaga) is introduced in a glamorous, over-the-top grandiose display set to a heart-thumping She Wants Revenge tune. The very picture of dark, luxurious beauty — you know, the thing I wish I possessed and never will — she and Donovan saunter down to a lawn movie showing of “Nosferatu” and pick up a choice couple for some passionate lovemaking. And after the glitter pasties and the orgasms, they slit their throats and feast on the blood. I seriously was enraptured by this scene. And even moreso when Lady Gaga — the one we were all prepared to tear apart if lacking in her replacement of Jessica Lange — delivers one of her first lines: “Call housekeeping.” I knew from that moment we were in for a treat, and so far, I have not been disappointed.
The Ten Commandments Killer Reveal
Season 5, Episode 8 – The Ten Commandments Killer Reveal
I’ll admit, at first I was disappointed. John was a total lock for the TCK, and in past seasons, the “reveal” hasn’t been this obvious. HOWEVER. The fact that the entire episode was based more around WHY John was chosen and HOW rather than just “It’s him! Aren’t you surprised?!” totally won me over. I am absolutely certain that the show was given a major overhaul based on past criticism because, in my opinion, all the things that were broken in the last few seasons have been not just fixed, but POLISHED. Bravo. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the season takes us.