‘AHS’ explores new story-telling realms

American Horror Story, the hit FX television series, returns for its sixth season as a horror mockumentary. (Illustration by:Michael Horwath)

Teeth that rain down from the sky, knives moved by unknown forces, and murderous nurses; all of these can be found in American Horror Story: Roanoke, the latest installment of the hit television horror series.

Hype for this new season began last month when FX released a series of strange and confusing promotions. Fans instantly began to speculate about what the theme of the current series was going to be, as each season is independent of the last.

The show seems to seriously be changing its pace this season by imitating the style of paranormal television shows and the true story of a group of colonists who mysteriously vanished from Roanoke, NC.

The most noticeable difference between this season and previous seasons is in the formatting of the show. American Horror Story: Roanoke is written in a documentary style, with the main characters Matt and Shelby Miller (played by Andre Holland and Lily Rabe, respectively) describing events while “reenactors” (Cuba Gooding Jr. plays Matt and Sarah Paulson plays Shelby) recreate the story.

This new style is a very effective way of telling the story. The only downside is that viewers can tell that the narrators survive the haunted events. This ruins some of the more suspenseful moments in the show and is something of a spoiler.

In addition to the new formatting, the writing of the show is on point, weaving in the traditional aspects of a horror story — such as a big deserted house the bank cannot wait to get rid of — with new twists and turns — such as Matt’s discovery of a dead, bloodied pig on their porch.

The show also discusses racial issues. Matt and Shelby originally think the strange events at their farmhouse are merely an attempt by their hillbilly neighbors to scare the interracial couple away.

There is one scene that is particularly poignant in which Shelby (played by Paulson) screams at her husband that the neighbors are racist, begging him to call the police. Both Paulson and Gooding do a phenomenal job at displaying the confusion, anger, and hurt that victims of racism experience.

The acting for season six is on par, especially for the actors who play Matt and Shelby. While all four do a phenomenal job, Holland and Rabe’s performances as the “story-telling” versions of Matt and Shelby are especially notable. The pair do an admirable job of creating Matt and Shelby’s emotions without the added benefit of scenery and staging.

This season is also said to have actor Evan Peters in it, which created a ruckus when he was not in either of the first two episodes. His name even trended on Twitter during episode one because so many people were asking where he was. He is still yet to be seen but it is keeping viewers watching just to get a glimpse of his red hair this season.

Overall, American Horror Story: Roanoke seems to be living up to its fans’ expectations, pushing the boundaries of past seasons' scares and taking frights to the next level to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

If this trend continues through the rest of the season, American Horror Story: Roanoke may end up being the best season yet.