‘American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare’ Season 6: Episode 1 Recap
We lived in murder house.
We escaped the asylum.
We protected the coven.
We attended the freak show.
We checked into the hotel.
Unlike all seasons before, the plot behind the sixth season of American Horror Story, which premiered tonight (September 14), was enshrouded in secrecy; secrecy that, somehow, in today’s age of spoilers and set leaks, somehow remained a mostly tight-lipped surprise up until now.
Ryan Murphy seems to be offering a reality show ghost story narrative this time around, focused in Roanoke, North Carolina. Essentially, this season could be called American Horror Story: Into the Woods.
In a My Ghost Story-style dramatization, we are introduced to two key players from the Murphyverse: AHS vet Sarah Paulson as Shelby, an uptight gluten-free yogi who's so L.A. it hurts, and American Crime Story’s Cuba Gooding Jr. as Matt, a traveling salesman who seems quite aloof in his lackluster life. Except, returning player Lily Rabe also plays Shelby at times?
Before moving to Roanoke, Shelby and Matt lived a happy little green juice life, until Matt was chosen as a victim of a gang initiation ritual, in which he was clocked out cold. He was taken to the hospital and recovers fine after an ocular injury — but the stress was too much for Shelby, who loses her baby.
This is the catalyst to uproot their yuppie lifestyle for a more tranquil place. And what location's more obscure than Roanoke, right? During a romantic skip through the forest, the two lovers stumble across an abandoned house — like that’s not a warning sign — for sale, and of course, are enamored by the spider webs and chipped paint. They decide this is where they want to live. But their love of this creepy-as-hell house does not go uninterrupted, as local rednecks who look like they haven't showered since the Stone Age fight them for the house. Of course, the two LA hipsters outbid these men, who probably still pan for gold in their spare time.
It doesn’t take long for things to go amiss, because that's how American Horror Story works. As soon as they move in, good ol' Shelby begins to hear noises, which sound strangely like a pig being attacked.
Since hearing Babe off in the distance isn’t scary enough, Roanoke decides to make it rain on innocent Shelby. Except it isn’t raining water (or men, for that matter)...it's raining teeth. Yes, human teeth.
Matt, of course, doesn’t believe the fact his wife saw incisors and molars rain down from the heavens, but that doesn’t stop Shelby from dealing with some more spooky nonsense. While alone again, she sees two individual ghosts walking through the house, like it’s a casual Sunday stroll. As if all this isn’t enough to convince someone to get up on out of the damn house, Shelby takes a nice relaxing dip in the hot tub, only to be submerged under water by Kathy Bates, dressed in what seems to be ye olde colonial garb.
The police are called, and of course, there is not a shred of evidence to be found. Even Matt still has his doubts — that is, until he too begins to hear the same pig noises from earlier, which lead him to find a desecrated pig on his doorstep. Finally, he gets some sense knocked into him, and he installs a security system in order to protect them.
Since he's a traveling salesman, Matt must travel to make his money, so he leaves poor Shelby in the care of his sister Lee (played by Angela Bassett in the dramatization), a brass-balled, pill-popping ex-cop who was fired for, ya know, popping pills. So, yes, she's exactly who you want defending you against demons and other haunted enemies.
More scary stuff goes down in the house: While cooking, the knife that Shelby is using mysteriously vanishes from the table only to wind up in the meat she's cooking. Later, Lee is awoken by Babe screaming again, and greeted by an empty wine bottle rolling toward her from the dead of night. As Shelby and Lee argue, Matt’s phone goes off, showing him that his security system picked up on the fact that his house is being swarmed by colonial gang members with torches and butcher knives. Casual.
Mid-fight, the two damsels in distress hear the front door open, and decide to run down into the basement, which is always the number one place you do not go when being attacked by a group of colonial ghosts with machetes. As they find their way down to the basement, they hear more pig noises, and since they have no protection, Lee and her cop instincts kick in: she grabs a wrench in case she has to clock someone upside their head.
The pig noises seem to be originating from an old TV that is definitely not plugged in, which showcases a home video of a man with a pig carcass over his head. Again, so casual. As the two watch the video, they are locked in the basement, only to moments later reemerge upstairs and find the entirety of the house adorned with Blair Witch Project-looking voodoo demon stick dolls.
Matt finally returns to find his home dressed up like some demonic baby’s crib, but Shelby, rightfully (and finally!), has had enough of this ghost nonsense and decides to get up out of this crazy house. She steals the car and leaves Matt and Lee. While driving away (to God only knows where), she hits sweet, sweet murderous Kathy Bates with her car.
In her frantic state, Shelby gets out of the car (wrong move!) and watches as Kathy Bates shakes off being rammed with heavy machinery like a boss and walk off into the woods. Who knows why Shelby follows, but she does. And of course, she gets lost in the forest.
Since she can't find her way back to the road, Shelby stumbles into more haunted woodlands, complete with more voodoo demon dolls and ground that almost seems to be alive. But since Ryan Murphy really seems to want to put Shelby through the wringer, the piece de resistance of her night is running right smack into a man who's been scalped by the colonial ghosts, now surrounding her with torches and knives.
This is the creepiest American Horror Story has felt arguably since Season 2, and American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare seems to have injected the franchise with frightful vigor once again.
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