American Horror Story made its long awaited return a month earlier than usual. Wednesday night’s [September 14th, 2016] premiere finally unveiled the theme for this season; Roanoke. Roanoke, not to be confused with the city in Virginia, was the first colony established before the original 13 colonies. The colony was formed off the coast of North Carolina in the 1500s. Around 1590 the colony and its inhabitants disappeared without explanation. New evidence in regards to the phenomena is still be discovered today.
AHS: Roanoke is setup like a true crime/paranormal retelling documentary or reality show. It also has similar tones and style to horror movies like The Amityville Horror, The Conjuring and The Blair Witch Project. Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr. play the reenactment actors for Shelby and Matt; the couple who experienced this trauma. Shelby (played by Lily Rabe) and Matt (played by Andre Holland) are an interracial couple who moved back from L.A. after Matt was attacked in a gang initiation game called Knockout. Shelby was pregnant at the time and unfortunately due to stress or being shoved by the thugs who attacked Matt, lost her child. In an effort to rebuild their life and start fresh they moved to North Carolina and bought an old farm house.
After purchasing the house things really start to go awry for the couple. During a hailstorm Shelby sees human teeth falling from the sky onto the home. She later encounters to twin female ghosts. In need of relaxing Shelby heads to her hot tub and is held underwater by 3 mysterious figures with torches. She calls the police but nothing is found. The next night Matt encounters a slaughtered pig on the front porch. Not wanting to frighten Shelby he buries the pig in the backyard and installs security monitors, thinking it is the Red Necks who wanted the house trying to scare them out.
Matt is a traveling salesman and must leave Shelby behind to head to Raleigh. He asks his sister Lee (played by Adina Porter, reenactment played by Angela Bassett) to come stay with Shelby until he returns. Lee is a former police officer who was removed from the force because of a prescription pill addiction and subsequently lost her husband and daughter because of it as well. The two women hear someone in the house and retreat to the basement where they believe the noise to be coming from. Unfortunately for them they are locked down there and watch a video of Piggy Man (remember him from season 1? He terrified Eric Stonestreet in Murder House).
Back at his hotel Matt is watching American Crime Story (you see the O.J. Simpson car chase in the background on the TV, a little nod to Cuba as he played O.J. in the show) and gets an alert on his phone from the security cameras. He sees what he deems as a lynch mob with torches approaching his home. He frantically tries to contact Shelby and Lee but to no avail. He immediately rushes home. Eventually Lee and Shelby are able to exit the basement and encounter creepy stick figure humans hanging from the ceiling. There were hundreds of them!
Matt makes it home in record time and just as quickly as he returns Shelby takes off in the car. When she answers Matt’s call, while driving, she hits a person (Kathy Bates). Bates’s character gets up with a meat cleaver in hand, and heads into the woods. Shelby chases after her. Mistake number 1. The lady has a MEAT CLEAVER! What are you thinking?!
Shelby then gets lost in the woods and the world around her goes berserk! The trees and the ground start moving and she once again encounters the human stick dolls. Moments later she is surrounded by the ghost of colonists and one of them has been scalped. She screams in terror.
Connections to other seasons:
Show creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have said all the seasons are connected. It was made more apparent by this anthology promo released in wake of the season 6 premiere:
Back in the very first season of American Horror Story Billie Dean (played by Sarah Paulson) told the story of 117 settlers who disappeared in 1590. In season 3, Coven, Violet (played by Taissa Farminga) tries to use the word “croatoan” to banish Chad (played by Zachary Quinto) to which he replies “I mean, really? The Roanoke spell?” It looks like season 6 will be connecting the mythology of the show and showing us a more unified AHS universe. What other links to Freak Show, Asylum and Hotel are there? Stay tuned to find out!
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