Description: Physical and psychological horrors affect a decomposing family, workers and residents of an insane asylum, a coven of witches, a cast of circus freaks, the employees and guests at a struggling hotel, a family who moved into a mysterious farmhouse, the members of a small suburb in Michigan, the surviving members of the Apocalypse and the counselors of a creepy summer camp in this haunting anthology series, focusing on the themes of infidelity, sanity, oppression, discrimination, addiction and exploitation.
Creators: Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy
Stars: Lady Gaga, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett
- Get committed
- The Asylum Is Open for Business. Check Your Sanity at the Door.
- You’re going to die in there.
- Wir Sind Alle Freaks
- Sarah Paulson’s reporter walk-through scene in “Asylum” was pulled directly from actual footage of Bill Baldini’s exposé piece on Pennhurst Asylum in Spring City, Pennsylvania. Baldini’s work led to the closure of Pennhurst and the release of all of its patients. Pennhurst is now the location of a seasonal haunted house and has been featured on numerous shows, due to the reported extreme paranormal activity in Pennhurst’s buildings.
- On September 2, 2014, creator Ryan Murphy announced that all of the seasons are connected to each other in some way.
- The character of Edward Mordrake (Wes Bentley) who appeared in “Freak Show”, was mistakenly believed to have been an actual person, but that was revealed as a hoax. The hoax story goes: He was a nineteenth century aristocrat who was said to have suffered a form of Diprosopus. He had an extra face on the back of his head, which could neither eat nor speak out loud, although it was described as being able to laugh and cry. Edward reportedly begged doctors to have his “demon face” removed, claiming it “whispered” to him at night. No doctor would attempt the surgery. He later committed suicide at the age of twenty-three. However, this story has been proven to be false. Mordrake was discovered to have been the fictional creation of Charles Lotin Hildreth, who fabricated his story for a sensationalist article in the Boston Sunday Post in 1895.
- Co-creator Ryan Murphy repeatedly tried to book Reese Witherspoon in guest spots, but she was always unavailable. He also pursued Michelle Pfeiffer.
- “Hotel” was based on the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles and both hotels have a similar history. Like Donovan, it was a well-known junkie hang out with many overdoses occurring throughout the years. Sally resembles the 1937 case of Grace E. Magro, who fell to the ground from her window. It was undecided whether she jumped or was pushed to her death. In season five, episode four, American Horror Story: Devil’s Night (2015), where Richard Ramirez “The Night Stalker” (Anthony Ruivivar) gets a room, the real Ramirez actually did spend time in the hotel frequently and used it as a stop gap between killings. And to link it all, Elizabeth Short “The Black Dahlia” (Mena Suvari) who appeared in “Murder House”, had visited the Cecil Hotel. It was noted as one of the places she was last seen.
- Evan Peters’ character, Tate, committed the school shooting in season one on the same day Kurt Cobain committed suicide.
- The Hotel Cortez was inspired by the Hotel Cecil which has a dark history that includes several suicides, murders, and was stayed at by serial killers, including Richard Ramirez a.k.a. the Night Stalker and Jack Unterweger. The Hotel Cecil made news in 2013 with the mysterious death of Elisa Lam (to whom season five is dedicated).
- Ryan Murphy and Jessica Lange became so close friends during season one that Murphy has consulted with Lange when writing the other characters. For example, Lange wanted to play a big drunk scene and sing in season two (therefore Sister Jude does these things), she also wanted to play an elegant woman wearing Chanel in season three (therefore Fiona dressed impeccably). Lange is also a photographer, and she was particularly attracted to the circus world, especially during the 1950s. Hence the character of Elsa Mars, owner of a freak show.