By Abbey Gingras
Viewers of FX’s “American Horror Story” are used to the weird and unsettling, but show creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have outdone themselves with the confusing and mysterious sixth season.
The anticipation reached a fever pitch yesterday as fans waited for the premiere at 10 p.m. The theme, which changes with each season, remained a mystery. Guesses ranged from “The Mist” to “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” to a more general play off classic horror films. Previous seasons were Murder Houses, Asylum, Coven, Freak Show and Hotel. While each had a unique time period, setting and selection of horrors, the style and actors remained the same.
Already, season six seems different. For one, the first episode — simply titled Chapter 1 — was filmed like a found footage or true crime documentary. Cuba Gooding Jr. and Sarah Paulson played dramatized versions of Matt and Shelby, who in “real life” are Lily Rabe and André Holland. It started off with the beloved scary movie warning to viewers that the footage was inspired by true events.
Matt and Shelby move to an isolated (read: creepy) farm house on Roanoke Island in North Carolina. Yup, that Roanoke — the lost colony one. They win the house in an auction for far less money than a house of that size should cost, which means they clearly didn’t watch season one to realize that meant something was very wrong. Connie Britton, where are you when we need you?
Immediately, weird things start to happen. Shelby goes outside to find teeth raining from the sky and is later almost drowned in a hot tub outside her house while Matt is away. Realizing Shelby is too anxious to stay at the house alone while he goes away for work, Matt invites his recovering alcoholic sister Lee (Angela Bassett in the reenactment, Adina Porter in the present) to stay.
I won’t spoil everything that goes down in the episode, but it’s clear we’re in for another weird and wonderful season. But the question still remained last night — will “My Roanoke Nightmare” be the theme of the season? Viewers of Chapter 1 didn’t get an opening theme song with credits, usually the giveaway to theme. It was only when the West Coast had finished watching that FX released the official season trailer and title. “American Horror Story: Roanoke” is underway.
Will the season live up to past greats like Coven and Murder House, or fall short of expectations like Freak Show? With Lady Gaga, Evan Peters, Kathy Bates and other veterans returning, it promises to at least be entertaining. It remains to be seen if the true crime documentary style will serve the show well, but I have no doubt it will if Chapter 1 is any indication.
“American Horror Story: Roanoke” is on FX at 10 p.m. on Wednesdays