'American Horror Story', season six premiere: Connecting the nightmare
After more than two dozen teasers and months of rumors and theories, American Horror Story finally revealed the theme for its sixth season during Wednesday's premiere.
Vaguely titled Chapter 1, the premiere starts off with a warning to viewers: Based on true events, may contain disturbing images.
The rest is framed as a ghost story documentary, with characters Shelby and Matt retelling their story of their "Roanoke Nightmare" after they moved into a 18th century mansion in Roanoke, N.C.
Yes, it seems that the theme for AHS's sixth season has something to do with The Lost Colony.
The Lost Colony theory gained traction after TMZ leaked photos from the set with one showing a tree with CROATOAN, the name of a nearby Native American tribe, carved in it.
THE LOST COLONY BRIEFER: In 1587, about 115 English settlers arrived on Roanoke Island, which is now North Carolina. Later that year the settlement's governor had to return to England for more supplies, but was delayed in getting back because a war broke out between England and Spain. By the time he returned in 1590, the settlement was gone. And when I say gone I mean he found nobody nor any trace of human existence apart from a single word "Croatoan" carved into a wooden post. Hundreds of years later, we still don't have a solid answer as to what happened to the original settlers of Roanoke.
We can probably (maybe, ugh I hope so) assume there will be some flashbacks to this time period. Love me some historical horror.
It didn't take long for creepy things to start happening to our couple in the present. Shelby (Lily Rabe) and Matt (Andre Holland) recount their sightings of ghostly figures in the halls, unexplainable acts of violence, hearing animalistic screams, a bloody dead pig on their doorstep and finding their home decorated in dangling twig figures a la The Blair Witch Project.
Oh, and did I mention it was RAINING TEETH?
I admit I was a little confused at first watching Lily Rabe talk into the camera as Shelby and then Sarah Paulson playing her in the reenactment.
Aside: Shelby's boyfriend Matt is played by newcomer Cuba Gooding Jr. in the reenactment. I experienced a slight eye twitch watching Paulson (who played Marcia Clark in The People v. O.J.) sleep with Gooding Jr. (who played O.J. Simpson).
The premiere also welcomed back Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates and Wes Bentley (yes, I saw you don't try to hide).
The whole hour was a blend of literally everything you should not do in a horror movie with a dash of history and hillbillies. All this recipe needs now is Evan Peters and Lady Gaga.
FX and the AHS team took a risky approach to this season. They offered only clues and teasers to the theme, tricking fans with dupes and held off sending screeners to critics.
Creator Ryan Murphy wasn't joking when he said the show was taking a new approach and that he would further solidify that all the seasons are connected.
If you think waaayyy back to season one, psychic Billie Dean (Sarah Paulson) told the the story of The Lost Colony and the attempts to banish the spirits who lived there. She mentioned uttering "croatoan" banishes those evil spirits.
When it came to the premiere of the first episode, it was cold and calculated, unlike seasons past. There was no opening credits nor was there a teaser for the next episode.
For some fans, this only adds to the excitement. The whole point of watching a horror flick is that you never know what's going to happen next. True horror fans understand that and live for the surprise.
Others got lost in the cold open, unsure of what they were watching. It definitely didn't feel like a normal season of American Horror Story.
But besides the familiar faces and seeing the documentary setup, it's only the first episode and it seems we have more questions now than before we knew the theme.
Who knows, AHS might throw a completely different theme at us next week.
Contact Chelsea Tatham at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @chelseatatham.