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AHS introduces new ‘true story’ narrative on screen

Dark, scary woods; dead, bloody pigs and human teeth falling from the sky all set the stage for your new nightmares in season six of “American Horror Story,” in which the words “Based on True Events” float eerily over the screen.

The series began on Sept. 17, when creators finally unveiled the new season to fans who have been curiously waiting for the past several months.

AHS put out no traditional advertising for the show and never released the theme or cast, leaving fans wondering what its 30-second adverts could possibly be leading up to.

When creators refused to release any details about the show, fans decided to call the season, “My Roanoke Nightmare,” because those are the words that flash during the brief title sequence.

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American Horror Story
Photo courtesy of FX.

Each season of AHS is different, but season six takes on a whole new persona, applying a narrative technique it has never used before. Episode one incorporates a reality show theme, a la “Celebrity Ghost Stories,” with half of the characters describing the events and the other characters acting them out.

Lily Rabe, a longtime AHS veteran, and Andre Hollans play the characters describing their terrifying ordeal, talking to the camera as if they’re in an interview. Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr. play an interracial couple who’ve moved out of LA and into the South. Their characters act out the events.

Things turn from bad to worse, causing Paulson’s character, Shelby, to flee the house and eventually get lost in the woods, where the earth moves mysteriously and people in cloaks with pitchforks and torches are sure to cause trouble. That’s where the episode comes to a close.

AHS remains shrouded in mystery, leaving fans with enough questions to keep them watching for the next episode.

Will Roanoke remain the setting? If so, what’s with the reality-show theme?

Reality horror shows change topics each episode, covering a variety of terrifying subjects. This leads some viewers to believe that season six will cover a variety of scary based-on-a-true-story type stories.

Perhaps they’re trying to appeal to our society’s tendency to consider a story that is true even more terrifying than a story that is pure fiction. Maybe, the creators of AHS have simply decided there’s enough horror in real life to use as inspiration. Either way, the intrigue of it all has inspired me to finally hook up my cable.

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