American Horror Story is back with it's ninth season and it's latest anthology 1984 is an 80's style cabin-in-the-woods slasher series. Going back to horror's classic roots seem to be a welcome take on the show's less-than-stellar seasons, but if anyone can get horror back on top it's Ryan Murphy!
To celebrate the latest season of American Horror Story: 1984, I have ranked the best and the worst seasons based on personal premise. Let me know if you agree, and why.
8. Roanoke (Season Six)
Coming in at eighth place has to be Roanoke, the sixth season in the series. Originally disguised a cheesy haunted reality TV show about a couple who invoke ancient spirits in America's backwoods, the dramatic reenactments of the various horrors they encounter fall short compared to the horrors of the others seasons. The back half of the show is blurred together again when the subsequent follow up season of the reality show puts the "real" people and the actors that played them back into the house for a reunion special, but the whole thing just doesn't work and ended up bringing the series down. Sure it's gruesome - the images of fangirl Taissa Farmiga being impaled on a pole springing to mind - but it seems to be simply for the sake of the show rather than an actual horror story retelling.
7. Cult (Season Seven)
Ryan Murphy's announcement of the show's seventh season seemed to be a nod at the idea of "making American Horror Story great again" off the backs of the dismal sixth season. It seemed almost very-well orchestrated in the idea as this season of cult was based off the 2016 presidential election, creating a violent political satire on Trump's campaign. It was extremely coherent and concise, and as the only season without the supernatural element it showed that fear comes in many forms and can leverage extreme powers of pitting neighbour against neighbour, but honestly - for those outside the nitty gritty of the United States of America, it was all just a bit dull. I know it's an AMERICAN Horror Story, but you made your bed and now you have to sleep in it.
6. Hotel (Season Five)
The season five theme of Hotel had so much promise - ghosts in a quintessential art deco hotel, a serial killer on the loose, a glamorous vampire played by Lady Gaga, it seemed to have it all! Unfortunately, looking back on the season as a whole the intermixed story lines that Murphy usually weaves together fluidly just didn't mesh. The whole detective and his lost family business was just so damn boring and considering it was the main storyline it dragged the whole thing down with it. However, despite the lags it was stylish as hell, drawing from the sumptuous glamour reserved usually for The Great Gatsby, and the inter-dispersed horror created some breathtaking scenes.
5. Asylum (Season Two)
The second season is very much regarded as one of the best because it is quintessential horror at it's essence. Focusing on a 1960's journalist investigating abuses at an insane asylum who gets committed to the very same asylum meets a whole host of savage characters including Nazi war criminals, serial killers and an alien abductee. Somehow, all of the plots converge together to form an impressive narrative on how people cast out from society can be victimised by the institutions that bind them - all while providing the classic bloody American Horror Story imagery. It was a damn good season, but I do think that it paved the way to bigger and better stories.
4. Apocalypse (Season Eight)
If Cult was supposed to "make American Horror Story great again", it failed in comparison to the eighth season of Apocalypse, which married together the previous popular, successful and stunningly beautiful seasons of Murder House, Coven, and Hotel. Starting the season off with the end of the world via nuclear bombs was a damn good way to get viewers hooked who were already salivating at the bit for the season, the show takes an interesting turn as it focuses on bunker survivors, the witches from Coven looking to stop the Antichrist born at the end of Murder House, and adding in zombies and robots. The season married everything together well, and it gave a damn fun ride into the end of the world as it did.
3. Freak Show (Season Four)
I loved Freak Show because it lived up to the name of American Horror Story. Back in the 1940's freaks and carnies were the horror stories of back country America, and adding in a deranged serial killer, an evil clown who just wants to play, and even Berlin style snuff-films made the show live up to the premise. It was stunningly beautiful, living in and out of the big top of the show, and the arrival of Edward Mondrake in green smoke was so stunningly spectacular I still think it is one of the greatest entrances ever made on the show. Freak Show was horrific, and I could watch it again and again.
2. Murder House (Season One)
Murder House was the season that started it all, and boy did it set the tone! With big names walking into a haunted house in modern day America, Murder House was a quality season that used the haunted house as an allegory to tell the story of a family ripped apart by grief and infidelity. Mixing in ghosts with terribly sad tales to tells, such as Tate's final days at school, gay couples who kill themselves, and a mysterious pregnancy that later was revealed to be the birth of the Antichrist, Murder House also had some of the best twists to come out of the whole series. It was damn good, and surpassed by only one season.
1. Coven (Season Three)
Coven was simply the best season of the whole series. It was dark and twisted, sexually promiscuous, and dripping in fabulousness, mixing in New Orleans voodoo with modern day fashionable witches. Almost entirely devoid of male characters, this season about superpowered witches was a camp extravaganza and damn did they nail it! Adding in the oozing sex appeal of the Axe Man was an added bonus to Jessica Lange's storyline, but it was all of the bitchy one-liners, catfights, wisecracking and drama made Coven a good mix between Ryan Murphy's other show Glee. It was fabulous - and I loved it.
So where exactly will American Horror Story: 1984 stand in the series? It's out September 18 so find out soon!