‘American Horror Story’ Season 6 – Chapter 1 Recap
Warning! Spoilers ahead!
Welp, looks like we’ve got our theme! The new season of Ryan Murphy’s horror anthology American Horror Story began, unlike any season before it. Instead of descending upon a classic horror setting such as Jupiter, Florida or the LA Murder House, we are instead presented with what appears to be a documentary titled “My Roanoke Nightmare,” which appears to be the season’s theme. And here’s the truly unique part: our main characters appear to be both the actors recreating the horrific events and the subjects themselves.
The story begins with Matt (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and Shelby (Sarah Paulson), an LA couple that decides to enjoy a night out when she discovers she is pregnant, and he receives a promotion at his sales job. But their night of revelry quickly ends when Matt is knocked out during a gang initiation. He survives, but Shelby miscarries, possibly due to the immense stress of the situation. Quick note: the entire story is interspersed with the supposed actual Matt (André Holland) and actual Shelby (Lily Rabe), offering their first-person accounts of the events as they unfold.
Due to the violent incident, Matt and Shelby decide to move to North Carolina, where Matt is from. They stumble upon an old, vast house complete with round spiderweb windows and spiral staircase (yeah, Murphy’s fingerprints are all over this farmhouse). The spooky picturesque home was built in 1792. The couple falls in love with the house and spend their life savings to purchase it, outbidding some gruesome The-Hills-Have-Eyes-type locals.
But in no time at all, disturbing things being to happen. The couple hears twisted squealing sounds in the night and finds their trash rifled through. Shelby thinks she sees two women in a hallway. Matt finds a pig carcass on their front stoop and buries it. Then one night, Shelby appears to be attacked while taking a dip in their ancient above-ground pool. However, when police arrive, they find no evidence of foul play.
In North Carolina, Matt has adopted the life of a traveling salesman, meaning he has to leave Shelby alone while he travels, but he refuses to leave her defenseless. Believing they are being harassed by the outbid townies, he sets up a security system, cameras and enlists his newly-sober, newly-divorced ex-cop of a sister Lee (Angela Bassett) to protect Shelby while he travels.
One night, Lee and Shelby get in a shouting match over another unexplained minor disturbance. At the same time, Matt’s phone receives a notification while he is away on business. The notice states that his home security system has been breached. He can see the video feed of strangers with torches pouring onto his property.
Unaware of the visitors, Shelby and Lee are drawn to a sound in the basement. There they find an old television playing a home video of a man taping some type of squealing part-man, part-pig creature in the woods. Then, the basement door is slammed shut and they are trapped down there as they listen to the strangers move about the massive house.
When they emerge less than an hour later, the home is strewn with wooden stick figures (a la The Blair Witch Project) hanging everywhere. When Matt arrives back home, he watches the video and is convinced it’s a fake. He attempts to calm Shelby who demands that they leave. But Matt will not allow himself to be rattled.
Shelby’s response is to take the car and drive away aimlessly. Matt immediately calls her and tries to convince her to come back, distracting Shelby. She hits a woman on the road and stops to help her. The woman doesn’t appear to be hurt and gets up. She is wearing colonial garb and looks a heck of a lot like Kathy Bates. Shelby follows her into the woods but quickly loses her.
That’s when all hell breaks loose. Shelby finds herself once again surrounded by the Blair Witch-esque stick figures hanging from the trees as a thick mist rolls in. She notices that the ground appears to be shifting as if breathing. Finally, Shelby finds herself at the center of a group of apparent colonists, all holding torches. That’s when a screaming man runs forward. He appears to have been scalped. As in someone (or something) hacked off the top of his head.
A thousand questions remain…and we’re still missing numerous cast members, including Lady Gaga! Did Shelby time travel? Is the pig creature the season’s baddie? Is this house some hotbed of supernatural, time-traveling colonial activity?!
Until next week!