How ‘American Horror Story’ Has Redefined Horror On TV

To celebrate American Horror Story’s tenth season, we look at how the anthology series has reimagined and impacted the horror genre on TV. 

Natalie Daniels

AfterBuzz TV Host & Writer
Posted On: March 21st, 2021 6:12 pm pst

Maria Menounos
Keven Undergaro
AfterBuzz TV Founders

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV is the artist-friendly entertainment news platform that celebrates, discusses, interviews, promotes and reports on the widest range of stars, creators and content through video, audio and article publications.

How AHS redefined horror television

Credit: FX

American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy took to Instagram to share a clip announcing the title of the show’s upcoming season, “Double Feature.” As the anthology series gears up for its tenth season, we celebrate how it has transformed horror within the scopes of television.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ryan Murphy (@mrrpmurphy)

When American Horror Story premiered on FX in 2011, it experimented with an unusual format. Each season would have a new plot, and former actors from the previous season would play different characters. It was a new idea for mainstream television, where each season provided a standalone story rather than each episode while also connecting the overarching theme of horror. Now, television has pushed forward with various new anthologies like True Detective, Fargo, Legion, and Murphy’s projects like American Crime Story and Feud.

Since the end of The Twilight Zone, television hadn’t introduced many successful horror series that captivated audiences. American Horror Story changed the game with its unapologetic bloody in-your-face terror. The show’s first season, Murder House, attracted 5 million total viewers on its premiere night, proving to be one of FX’s highest ratings. Eventually, other horror series joined the TV scape, such as Slasher, Into the Dark, Hannibal, Ash vs. Evil Dead, and The Haunting of Hill House.

The show became not only a leader in TV horror but also made waves in pop culture. Many famous figures in Hollywood made appearances from cameos to series regulars. Award-winning actress Jessica Lange starred as American Horror Story’s leading lady for four seasons. Other celebrities like Billy Porter, Cuba Gooding Jr., Adam Levine, Patti Labelle, and Stevie Nicks also took part. American Horror Story embraced its influx of star quality by having stars like Lady Gaga, Angela Bassett, and Kathy Bates play main characters. This helped bring horror television to the mainstream conversation.

The series might spend its time focusing on spooky topics like haunted houses, asylums, and aliens, but the most impactful is its ability to connect to real issues. For instance, their witch-filled season titled Coven delved into topics surrounding racial tensions in Louisiana. Freak show addressed the meaning of what it means to be an individual and part of a family/community. Cult dealt with the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. election and the foreboding pessimism about America’s future. The show has also dedicated certain seasons to real-life figures like Madame LaLaurie, Richard Ramirez, John Wayne Gacy, and Valerie Solanas. While horror usually highlights typical scary movie tropes, American Horror Story embraced the terror of reality, making the show more uncomfortable and powerful to watch.

American Horror Story has evolved the horror TV genre in so many creative ways, and we can’t wait to see how the series continues with its new season!

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence

“We don’t just celebrate and cover the top shows, content and stars, we celebrate and cover ALL the shows, content and stars.”

Maria Menounos

About The Author:

Natalie Daniels is a Journalism major at Emerson College in Boston and an intern at AfterBuzz TV. With her love of entertainment news and positive storytelling, she is passionate about all things music, TV/ movies, and pop culture.

More News

Graham Norton
Lilly Collins hair
Christmas Playlist
Times Rihanna helped the world
TV Shows For Hannukah
Leonardo Dicaprio, Fergi, Willow Smith, Rob Kardashian, Ryan Seacrest
Azealia Banks, Frankie Grande, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift
Best fashion looks
Dan Levy, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Sarah Levy, Annie Murphy