Few shows embody the mischievous spirit of Halloween like American Horror Story. The giddy frights, the scary delights. Unwilling to accept that this spooky holiday had indeed passed three days ago, "Chapter 8" of American Horror Story: Roanoke spent the whole episode subjecting the cast to all manner of torture, ghouls, and all around supernatural mayhem. It was like an hour-long haunted corn maze. There were so many scary things! With the hangovers of Halloween still lingering in our livers, it seems fitting to look at the scariest elements of American Horror Story: Roanoke "Chapter 8."
Here they are:
6. Being Trapped: Whether it was Audrey (Sarah Paulson), Monet (Angela Bassett) and Lee (Adina Porter) held hostage by the Polks or Dominic (Cuba Gooding Jr) and Shelby (Lily Rabe) finding themselves housebound by in the Roanoke manse the episode removed a lot of options for the remaining survivors of this bloody reality show. Options give hope, and these people were faced with literal and figurative but mainly literal dead ends! What's worse than feeling a will to survive while having one's agency taken away? In the case of admitted husband murderer Lee being a captive was made all the more frustrating by enduring the dimmest of the Polks: Cain Polk (Finn Wittrock). It's one thing to be trapped by a superior, but it's another to know the one thing standing between you and and the rest of life is a fussy, horndog screen junkie with the IQ of a jar of Christmas ears.
5. Being Chased: Perhaps worse than being stuck without any course of action is the moment right before being trapped or right after escaping imprisonment. The kind of moment Dominic and Shelby experienced while dodging wall scramblers, Piggy Men, and torch-bearing ghost mobs. The moment where there's hope for escape but just as much of a chance that certain death is right around the corner. Sure, having a shot at life might work out for the better, but in Dominic and Shelby's case, the adrenaline-fueled transitional state led the duo right back to the very point they'd started out. Which is to say they got to experience all the highs of potential victory before landing right smack dab in an even more terrible position than they'd started out with.
4. Forced Mutilation: Alright, so what my favorite British actress endured was basically what I feel every time I go to the dentist, which so far in life has been a grand total of six. Forget being trapped or chased, the forced tooth extraction and de-fleshing of Audrey and Lee were worse than the previous two items combined. Between the rusty equipment of the Polks, the suspense of imminent death, and the visceral pain, the forced mutilation these two endured was proof that the end was near whether they liked it or not.
3. Hillbillies: For city folk, the strange ways of the hillbilly are enough to make our skin crawl. The Polks were scary because they represent the most human form of monstrous violence without being supernatural. They inbreed. They eat humans. They have bad skin. They get a kick out of murder. And they want to inflict all this on more distinguished trespassers. They're basically the closest thing in this show to zombies. Still all these things don't amount to a jar of Christmas ears in the abstract, but when a proper lady like Audrey Tindall must acknowledge that Mama and her ilk are cut from the same genetic cloth (give or take a few incestuous chromosomes), it's unsettling. We don't like seeing the potential for terribleness in ourselves. I'm sorry, but we don't!
2. The Chens: OK, so literal creepy crawler contortionists that don't utter a peep and can stick to any surface regardless of the laws of gravity? These ghouls were tailor-made for scares. Admittedly the fun kind of scares, but that's why they've landed in the penultimate spot here. With their spider-like agility and belief in teamwork, the Chens are the closest thing American Horror Story: Roanoke has to actual monsters. Not gruesome impalers or swine-headed executioners, but the sort of otherworldly force that reduces you (me) into a screaming teenaged girl in a haunted house, out past curfew on a school night.
1. Being Self-Centered: While Audrey brought the funniest jokes in the season, such as her thoughts on Shelby's death ("...I feel as though a part of me has died with her,"), and Dominic isn't far behind with his lament about a potentially canceled first class trip to Thailand while facing certain death, there's nothing funny about being selfish. The morality lesson for Roanoke might as well be "focusing on yourself too much could get you killed." If Matt and Shelby would have heeded the intimidation of the Polks back when they were too blinded to see their dream home was more of a Murder House, then this whole terrible affair could have been avoided. Dominic could have had his spin-off. Rory and Audrey would be happily married. On that note, if none of the participants in this show had egos they'd all be sipping lattes in Santa Monica. Then again we wouldn't have seen Audrey use her dying words to talk about herself, and all the wonderful roles she had in store for her fans. Hindsight is 20/20. Point is, while there's nothing wrong with being personally proactive in this world, sometimes selfishness can lead to some truly terrifying places.
What did you think were the scariest things about American Horror Story: Roanoke "Chapter 8"?
American Horror Story: Roanoke airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.