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American Horror Story: Best Performances in the Series, Ranked – MovieWeb

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American Horror Story’s recurring cast members consistently deliver critically acclaimed performances season after season. Here are the best.
American Horror Story is one of the most unique and defining shows in modern television history. Each season dives into a unique horror subgenre and establishes a new premise in which its characters will fight, quiver, and die at the hands of various antagonistic entities. It’s anthological format, wildly creative stories, and exciting twists have vaulted it into a fan-favorite of TV-lovers; however, American Horror Story would be nothing without the consistently stellar performances of its long-recurring cast members.
American Horror Story‘s cast has dominated the Best Actor/Actress (both Leading and Supporting) awards at the Emmys and other major awards shows nearly every season of the show’s decade-long run. Because it’s an anthology series, its cast has the unique opportunity to shine in a new role every season, and this format has produced tremendous results even for supporting cast members. Jumping between various horror genres is one of the series’ greatest strengths as it tells stories that always have culturally relevant underlying themes and symbolism. Although some American Horror Story seasons have obviously been better handled than others, the acting performances have always been solid across the board.
Related: Why American Horror Story Fans Need Evan Peters in Season 11
As season 10 recently concluded, along with the series’ spinoff American Horror Stories, revisiting American Horror Story‘s best acting performances gives an interesting look at how far the show has come and what characters were most memorable throughout the series. Here’s American Horror Story’s best acting performances, ranked.
Though Kathy Bates plays many memorable characters throughout American Horror Story‘s seasons, her role as bearded-lady, Ethel, is among the most compelling in the show’s history. Whereas Jessica Lange’s Elsa Mars is the leader and brains of Freakshow, Ethel’s sympathetic and courageous presence is the heart. She thrives as an unsullied symbol of this season’s message, that judgement, ignorance, and a lack of compassion are the prevalent evils throughout society.
Denis O’Hare has often occupied a transformative role when cast in American Horror Story seasons; however, Hotel is O’Hare at his most daring and memorable as the transgender bartender, Liz Taylor. In a season filled with sadistic characters, Liz Taylor occupied the crucial role of a sympathetic diamond in the rough, a necessary reprieve for the overwhelming amount of disturbing material, gore, and macabre featured throughout the season. Though Hotel was criticized for its patchy storylines, O’Hare’s performance is a clear bright spot that will coax fans into revisiting the season for years to come.
Roanoke’s documentary turned reality TV show storyline is a unique format that worked relatively well for the season’s complex plot. Despite not appearing in the first half of the season, Adina Porter’s Lee Harris is among the season’s strongest performances. As a former drug-addict and survivor of the initial horrors at Roanoke, Harris is portrayed as an embattled fighter. Throughout the season, her story deepens and becomes more sympathetic with every difficult choice made in desperation or in an attempt to protect her loved ones. In Roanoke, Porter proves she should be an American Horror Story staple for the rest of the series’ run.
Lily Rabe’s innocent-to-a-fault nun, Sister Mary Eunice, is a standout character in one of American Horror Story‘s best seasons to date. Sister Eunice is too good for the corrosive and corrupted asylum that houses murders, Nazis, monsters, and the devil himself. Because of this, she falls victim to the asylum’s horrors, becoming possessed — this is where Rabe’s performance elevates above other series standouts. Rabe’s ability to shape-shift from purity to evil is astonishing and makes for a fully formed characterization of the evils explored throughout Asylum.
A late addition to the American Horror Story recurring roster, Finn Wittrock has quickly cemented himself as a fan-favorite and one of the strongest performers across the talented cast. His first casting as Dandy Mott in Freakshow was his largest role until taking the lead in the series’ most recent season, Double Feature. The two-villain dynamic of Freakshow worked perfectly as a plot twist and statement about the underlying message of the season overall; the more beautiful character, Dandy Mott, is seen as less threatening until “the blood is on the wall,” and Twisty (John Carroll Lynch) is revealed as just another misunderstood “freak.”
Related: Endings of Every Season of American Horror Story Explained
American Horro Story: Cult is the politically charged, election-based season that features Evan Peters’ Trump-like cult leader figure, Kai Anderson. Manipulative, unpredictable, and downright terrifying, Peters brings the character to life with his eccentric and violent performance. Though this season departs from the more supernatural terrors usually explored by American Horror Story, it’s realistic and poignant understanding of horrors that can reach every corner of the country is a startling statement from the show’s producers. Peters waves those fears in the audiences faces with a Joker-like countenance and the dyed hair to match it.
Angela Bassett’s American Horror Story debut as the Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau, was a role made for the veteran actress. First an antagonist to the witch’s Coven, Laveau is forced to team up with them against a greater threat to all magical beings. Bassett’s portrayal of the tormented Laveau is rich and sympathetic enough to steal the spotlight from more prominent characters in the season. Since Coven, Bassett has been a staple in future seasons, and her role as Marie Laveau is a huge reason why.
Jessica Lange won an Emmy for portraying Supreme Witch Fiona Goode in American Horror Story: Coven. Lange’s most powerful character throughout the series turns to villainy as her powers falter, and she loses her grip as the head of the Coven. Lange is best at keeping characters nuanced through the changes they endure throughout a season and her consistent effort to be both convincing and sympathetic made Fiona Goode the most memorable of her long list of A+ American Horror Story characters. Lange has been missed since leaving the show in season 4, but fans are holding out hope for a return sooner or later.
Lana Winters is a role that will define Sarah Paulson’s career for the foreseeable future — not because she hasn’t had standout roles since (there are plenty), but because she captivated audiences so strongly in her first American Horror Story lead. Playing an investigative reporter, Paulson is unintentionally admitted to the Asylum and must face its evils from within, simultaneously unraveling the mysteries occurring around her. Paulson’s performance solidified Asylum among the best seasons of American Horror Story and opened the door to many more starring roles in subsequent seasons.

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‘American Horror Stories’: Ryan Murphy Unveils New Chapters Of Fear & Frights In ‘AHS’ Spinoff Teaser

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Ryan Murphy ushers in new chapters of the American Horror Story franchise in a teaser for the upcoming Hulu anthology series, American Horror Stories.

“Every episode brings you a different nightmare,” Murphy tweeted on Wednesday.

Murphy, who has been teasing American Horror Stories with posters on his social media accounts, dropped the teaser on Twitter. The brief snippet follows a rubber woman on a journey that revisits some of the most memorable locations in the AHS franchise.

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American Horror Stories is a weekly hourlong anthology series that will feature a different horror story in each contained episode. The spinoff will premiere exclusively on Hulu July 15. Earlier this month Murphy revealed that Kevin McHale, Dyllón Burnside, Charles Melton and Nico Greetham will star in the series.

During a panel for Ratched in August 2020, AHS and American Crime Story star Sarah Paulson said that she will direct some part of the series.

The tenth installment of the flagship series, American Horror Story: Double Feature, will debut on FX Wednesday, August 25.

During the May Upfront presentations, FX Chairman John Landgraf said that American Horror Stories will commence in July and conclude on Halloween. The series is executive produced by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Alexis Martin Woodall, John J. Gray and Manny Coto.

New horrors and fears await viewers in the American Horror Stories teaser – watch it below.

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‘Descent Into Darkness: My European Nightmare’ Is the Most Messed Up Found Footage Gem You’ve Never Seen

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وقت القراءة المقدر: 8 دقيقة (دقائق)

I’m always looking to be shocked. I want to be shaken to my core, changed by what I’m seeing, and unable to keep off my brain once the imagery has seeped inside. That’s what I look for in my horror films—and to be honest, it’s been a while since I’ve been surprised or even genuinely scared while immersing myself in the genre. And then along came Rafaël Cherkaski’s Descent Into Darkness: My European Nightmare, a found footage nightmare he wrote, directed, and starred in.
I first saw the movie during the 2020 virtual edition of Unnamed Footage Festival — an incredible festival I encourage you to check out — and was immediately intrigued by its sharp spiral into depraved territory. It’s a great feeling (you know, as a horror die-hard) when a story keeps you anticipating how gruesome and debased it might become. I couldn’t stop watching until I knew. The terrifying French film is, without question, a found footage masterpiece. But the fact remains that it is highly under-watched. Because of its lack of exposure, a lot of genre fans have yet to experience the horror of this film, and what it seeks to teach us. Something tells me it would be on a lot more “best of” lists and the subject of even more essays if they had. It’s the most messed up found footage gem you’ve never seen, so strap the hell in.
Descent Into Darkness: My European Nightmare follows a bright young man named Sorgoi Prakov, a journalist from a fictional Eastern European country who has just arrived in Paris to film a documentary about the “European dream.” You know, like the American dream. Same difference, basically. However, a series of bad decisions and unfortunate incidents set Prakov on a path of self-destruction, mayhem, destitution, and madness as his project is devastatingly thrown off the rails.
The 2013 horror story has a pretty simple premise, yet its specificity is what sets it apart from just being your typical documentary-gone-wrong. The very real spiral its main character is forced down by the also very real circumstances of the film is something a lot of people are a stone’s throw away from. The tendency to imagine yourself in the same position while watching makes things infinitely more terrifying. Add the kind heart and specifically generous spirit Prakov brings to the piece and it’s hard not to sympathize with the disturbing turn of events he deals with.
The film is a cautionary tale that presents us with several lessons we can’t help but learn, mainly because the end is so brutal that no empathetic and sane human could justify the means, nor could they imagine how to make their way out of such a mental and emotional struggle unchanged. Unfiltered panic coupled with alienation can warp your brain and throw you off course, even more so if you have a mental illness you’re keeping at bay.
For an hour and a half, Descent Into Darkness fights to prove that a little kindness can go a long way— especially for those who are struggling in ways we have never and may never fully comprehend. Further, it’s an indictment on normal folks and the way we treat unhoused folks who have come onto hard times usually through no fault of their own. There is a specific and nearly existential horror in the way we alienate houseless and financially insecure people, making them feel less than for their struggles. Prakov’s sanity waxes and wanes on his descent into darkness. Those tides stem from whether or not he has been shown kindness as he struggles to get back onto his feet and make his way home.
Descent Into Darkness shows how the mental toll of those struggles and the alienation manifests inside him, and it really is far from pretty. It’s incredibly dark, but so is how we treat unhomed individuals in developed countries. Their plights are deeper and more insidious than we could imagine. But this film does a great job of helping us see that baseless physical and emotional destruction firsthand.
Aside from its smart yet simple story, Descent Into Darkness also shines through its more technical aspects. The directing—expertly tackled by lead actor Cherkaski—is incredibly smart. The filmmaker focuses on Prakov’s buttoned-up optimism at the beginning of the film and truly takes audiences down a spiral through more than just the script. The beginning of the movie definitely has a professional tinge to it to match Prakov’s initial intentions. But as we travel further down the rabbit hole, Cherkaski’s direction becomes more erratic and unpredictable. He uses quippy camerawork and fiercely smart editing by his editing team — one particularly beautiful cut between daylight and nighttime comes to mind—to support the main character’s degradation into psychosis. It’s done in such a way that the pacing of the film ends up feeling perfect, too.
You know when a film’s story feels like it’s moving unrealistically fast, or even just achingly slow? It takes you out of the story, where you need to be firmly planted throughout the runtime, and tends to ruin the experience. The way Descent Into Darkness is shot and edited, with an almost staccato mindset as the film progresses, aids in supporting the story and evens out its pace. The result is a perfectly timed, eerily orchestrated nosedive into hell.
Aside from the crucial behind-the-camera brilliance that makes this film an underappreciated gem, it’s important to highlight one of the main reasons to watch this movie if you haven’t yet: the acting. Cherkaski is electric as Prakov and perfectly balances the character’s desperate innocence—which quickly bleeds into wild depravity.
In 2010’s Black Swan, Vincent Cassel’s ballet company director character is unsure if he can trust Natalie Portman’s Nina Sayers with the lead role in “Swan Lake,” because she excels at the virtuous white swan, but may not have the bite to also play the black swan. Cherkaski doesn’t have that issue. He is the white swan and the black swan in equal measure, which makes you as sad for him as you are for the victims of his senseless violence. It’s a really natural performance. Cherkaski makes for one of the most convincing, menacing, and downright evil antagonists in found footage—maybe even horror in general.
There’s a lot to love in Descent Into Darkness, which feels like an oxymoron when you type it or say it out loud. But it’s truly a special horror film that both shocked and changed me when I was lucky enough to catch a special cut at a film festival. It’s a movie that proved to me there’s magic in horror, that it can do crazy things and that those crazy things can make you feel renewed. It’s a movie that made me appreciate filmmaking that much more. Descent Into Darkness is underappreciated, underseen, and undervalued in an oversaturated genre. So, it makes sense that it would’ve been overlooked. Do yourself a favor and change that. Pop a little popcorn, dim the lights. Just don’t expect to feel like you haven’t, too, descended into darkness when it’s all over.

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‘Captive Audience: An American Horror Story’ Review: More Shocking Than Fiction

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وقت القراءة المقدر: 2 دقيقة (دقائق)

Too smart for “true crime” and far more artfully constructed than standard-issue nonfiction, “Captive Audience” revisits the case of Steven Stayner, who in 1972 disappeared without a trace and then resurfaced seven years later, with a fellow kidnap victim in tow. Those with long memories will know right off where else the Stayner family saga is going, but others will be utterly shocked—which is supportive evidence in the case being made by director Jessica Dimmock. “If you have an experience and it doesn’t become a story,” says Steven’s mother, Kay, “it dies.” Which, coming as it does near the end of episode 3, is a statement as startling as any other in this three-part series.
The word “story” is repeated at least a dozen times in the opening moments of “Captive Audience,” mostly by TV anchors and correspondents, framing the Stayner case as it led the news circa Dec. 4, 1972: a 7-year-old boy, vanishing on his way home from school in humble Merced, Calif., stoking the worst fears of parents, inspiring exhaustive searches and then, as all such stories do when they aren’t solved, going cold. The very sympathetic Kay Stayner, who says she never stopped believing her son would return, concedes that when the police contacted her in March 1980, she immediately expected the worst. “I had all this hope for all these years, and at the end I thought it was going to be bad news.”

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