Photo courtesy of FX
Yesterday marked the premiere of “American Horror Story” season six. Created by two of three creators of musical comedy-drama “Glee,” AHS follows the terrifying stories of a new selection of characters played by a recurring ensemble cast each season.
Much to my satisfaction, the season premiere was void of the intense gore and hypersexual violence that has plagued the previous two seasons of the show, “Freak Show” and “Hotel.” Instead, the episode relied on genuine eeriness and discomfort rather than gimmicky gross-out moments. Also unlike the previous five seasons, the creators opted to keep the show’s sixth theme a secret before its release. Though the viewer may be able to discern a general idea of the season’s content, the overall story is still shrouded in quite a bit of mystery.
Set in rural North Carolina, the episode is presented in a documentary-style fashion. Veteran AHS actress Lily Rabe plays the role of Shelby Miller as she is interviewed on a fictitious television series called “My Roanoke Nightmare.” Fan-favorite Sarah Paulson instead plays Shelby in reenactment scenes, detailing the events that the real-life characters are describing. André Holland plays Shelby’s real-life husband, Matt, in interview scenes, while Cuba Gooding Jr. fills the same role in the reenactment scenes. This format is a bit confusing at first, but proves to be a refreshing and fascinating method of approach.
Without delving into the plot too much, Shelby and Matt acquire an old farmhouse in an auction by bidding more than some creepy hillbillies that look like they just left the set of “Deliverance.”
Strange things occur at the house, such as a hailstorm of human teeth when Matt leaves on a business trip. In true horror fashion, Matt rushes home and finds no teeth despite Shelby’s claims.
Eventually, both Shelby and Matt begin to realize that something truly evil is occurring. However, both seem to have very different ideas of what is to blame for these unsettling occurrences. In what feels like no time at all, the episode ends on a cliffhanger. For the first time in two seasons, I find myself craving to find out what happens next.
This is where the sixth season succeeds. AHS seasons one and two were both addictively great, with just enough humor and erotica to balance out the harsh violence and genuinely scary moments. The third season was solid enough, but the next two weren’t even good enough to make me want to watch past the first episode. Last night’s premiere has set a promising precedent that should make any viewer equally excited and terrified to see how this season will tie in to the lost Roanoke colony and the other seasons of the series.