American Horror Story Wiki
American Horror Story Wiki

American Horror Story is dedicated to exploring classic horror tropes, but it has other themes unique to the show or carried over from the oeuvre of its creators.

Murder and Violence

Otherwise known as the meat and potatoes of American Horror Story.


Whether through force, drugs or deception the real-life horror of non-consensual sex is an often-recurring theme.

Rape Babies

On American Horror Story, the progeny of unwanted coitus tend to be a bit touched.

Copycats, Re-Creationists, and Tours (Oh My!)

The American fascination with transcendent violence and just plain weirdness was an inspiration to show creators Murphy and Falchuk while developing the series[5]. It has been reflected in every season so far.

  • The Eternal Darkness Tour is a disruption to the Harmons' lives, but also a path to understanding the strange events in their home. AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • The Harmon's home is invaded by fans of R. Franklin, a multiple murderer. AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • Leo and Teresa Morrison spend their honeymoon touring "the twelve most haunted places in America and screwing their brains out in every single one". AHSW-Asylum-Full
  • Devon leads his brothers in the dark lark of roaming the ruins of Briarcliff Manor, each dressed as Bloody Face, and things get really fun when they discover the Morrisons. AHSW-Asylum-Full
  • Johnny Morgan takes up his father's mantle as the true Bloody Face copycat of his era. AHSW-Asylum-Full
  • Visitors and residents of New Orleans can tour the LaLaurie Estate, once home to a very violent and evil woman. AHSW-Coven-Full
  • The American Morbidity Museum exhibits (deceased) human oddities procured with few questions. AHSW-FreakShow-Full
  • Dandy Mott, while developing his own MO, pays homage to his inspiration by wearing the clown's prosthetic fright mask during kills. AHSW-FreakShow-Full
  • John Lowe takes up his mentor's mantle as the Ten Commandments Killer to finish his works in the present day. AHSW-Hotel-Full
  • My Roanoke Nightmare and Return To Roanoke are TV re-creations of the events at the Roanoke House. AHSW-Roanoke-Full
  • Kai Anderson plans a "Night of 1000 Tates" (later downgraded to 100) inspired by Charles Manson's murder of Sharon Tate. AHSW-Cult-Full
  • Three weird townies dress up as Mr. Jingles and invade Camp Redwood to prank people. AHSW-1984-Full

Masked Assailants

Nothing creates mystery like a hidden face.

  • A full rubber suit hides the identity of Vivien's rapist and the killer of Chad and Patrick. AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • Two generations of men and a couple of impostors terrorize a community as Bloody Face. AHSW-Asylum-Full
  • Who is the hooded figure that threw acid in Cordelia's face? AHSW-Coven-Full
  • The Zodiac Killer makes an appearance on Devil's Night. AHSW-Hotel-Full
  • Some sort of man with a pig head (or a man wearing a pig's head) appears on the home movie footage.AHSW-Roanoke-Full
  • All the members of the cult dress up in clown clothes. AHSW-Cult-Full
  • Butchy May dresses up as The Zodiac Killer while committing SCUM murders. AHSW-Cult-Full
  • A man wearing a rubber suit haves sex with Gallant, and also spied on Emily and Timothy. AHSW-Apocalypse-Full
  • Keith, Larry and Pete had put Mr Jingles masks on to scare people. AHSW-1984-Full
  • Big Daddy scared a lot of people all over New York City. Portal s11


On American Horror Story people are as likely to die by their own hand as fall prey to a murderous ghost/psychopath/witch.

Murder within the Family

Family members can be just as deadly as anyone else in American Horror Story.

Let's Talk About Sex

It's not all "death death devil devil evil evil" on American Horror Story. OK, actually it is, but often it is specifically directed at those doing the nasty.

Deadly Sex

On American Horror Story, it is rare for any relationship to reach the post-coital cuddling stage.


This may not be peculiar to American Horror Story, but a standard trope for any drama.

  • Ben's affair with Hayden is the impetus that brings the Harmons to California and the Murder House. AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • Hugo's affair with Moira spells death and a ghostly eternity for them both. AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • Patrick's infidelities lead Chad to attempt spicing things up with a certain rubber suit. AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • Larry's dalliance with Constance leads his wife to take her life and that of their children. AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • With so much temptation in the house (Moira, Hayden and Elizabeth), Ben must constantly resist straying again from his vows. AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • Vivien restricts her cheating to fantasies of Luke (unless you count her "willing" coupling with Tate). AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • Regardless, Ben is convinced by Hayden to believe that Vivien's relationship with Luke is more than just a wet dream. AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • Shelley's constant affairs lead her husband to have her committed to Briarcliff Manor for nymphomania. AHSW-Asylum-Full
  • His belief that Alma is still alive with the ETs doesn't stop Kit from planting his seed in Grace. AHSW-Asylum-Full
  • Even if unmarried, Carl's trysts with Shelley break a trust not dissimilar to infidelity. AHSW-Asylum-Full
  • Though not in control of her body, Sister Mary Eunice's rape of Timothy Howard was cheating on her marriage to Jesus. AHSW-Asylum-Full
    • It is unknown whether Pope Paul VI would have pardoned the Monsignor's tumescence, without which the rape wouldn't have been possible, or if it would have been considered a violation of the priest's own vow of celibacy. AHSW-Asylum-Full
  • Josephine LaLaurie forces Bastien to cheat on his beloved Marie Laveau. AHSW-Coven-Full
  • Hank cheats on Cordelia with Kaylee before putting a bullet through her head. AHSW-Coven-Full
  • Paul has a secret affair with Elsa and a secret-secret affair with Penny. AHSW-FreakShow-Full
  • It is unlikely that Desiree is the first wife on whom Dell has cheated or that Andy is the first man with whom. AHSW-FreakShow-Full
  • Desiree is no stranger to cheating either. AHSW-FreakShow-Full
  • The Ten Commandments Killer strikes on an extramarital couple in another hotel. He deliberately kills the wife by impaling her, and chops off the man's eyes and tongue alive. AHSW-Hotel-Full
  • John Lowe kills his ex-partner after finding out he had sex with his wife Alex. AHSW-Hotel-Full
  • Even after being raped by Scáthach, Matt Miller willingly goes back for round 2 - something Shelby is none too happy about. AHSW-Roanoke-Full
  • Not even a president is safe from having his wife cheat on him. DoubleFeature Logo
  • Patrick Read was not the most faithful partner neither to Barbara or Gino. Portal s11


American Horror Story doesn't have anything against showing this common but rarely-seen-on-TV activity.

  • Ben witnesses Moira masturbating and retreats to his bedroom to do the same. [6] AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • Vivien's masturbatory fantasy of security guard Luke is interrupted by thoughts of Ben and Rubber Man. [7] AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • Rudy, a chronic masturbator, can be seen engaging in his favorite activity throughout the second season. AHSW-Asylum-Full
  • Shelley steals a cucumber from the kitchens, and later hints it is not because she is hungry. AHSW-Asylum-Full
  • Dr. Thredson encourages Lana to masturbate in front of Daniel as part of her aversion therapy. [8] AHSW-Asylum-Full
  • Queenie masturbates in an effort to either seduce or magically soothe The Minotaur. [9] AHSW-Coven-Full
  • Winter masturbates Ally in the bathtub. AHSW-Cult-Full
  • Kai masturbates in front of Harrison Wilton. AHSW-Cult-Full
  • Margaret Booth believes that "self-abuse" stain the soul. AHSW-1984-Full
  • Barbara Read had an intimate moment thinking about her ex-husband. Portal s11

Troubled Wombs

On most shows, pregnancy usually means a cute new cast member to boost ratings. On American Horror Story it always portends trouble.

  • When your husband cheats on you with one of his students, a miscarriage is not so strange to happen. Vivien Harmon knows. AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • During Vivien's heteropaternal pregnancy, Michael "murders" his twin antepartum. AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • Constance's cursed uterus produced at least three "abnormal" children. AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • Pregnancy for both Alma and Grace results in an unscheduled visit to the extraterrestrial gynecologist. AHSW-Asylum-Full
  • Fearing what may come of the product of her rape by Thredson, Lana attempts a "home abortion" with a wire coat hanger. [10] AHSW-Asylum-Full
  • Cordelia's infertility leads to her dabbling in forbidden magics. AHSW-Coven-Full
  • Desiree Dupree suffers a miscarriage that leads to the discovery that she is all-woman. AHSW-FreakShow-Full
  • As if being attacked by a street gang was not enough, Shelby Miller suffers a miscarriage shortly after. AHSW-Roanoke-Full
  • The extraterrestrials swept four people up in their decades long hybrid conspiracy. DoubleFeature Logo
  • Delicate has this as its central plot. Portal s12

Three-Way Relationships

Either as a one-time thing or as an actual romantic polygamous relationship, three-way relationships are featured in multiple seasons of American Horror Story.

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Striving for acceptance and harmony while the body count rises.


It is practically a mission of co-creator Ryan Murphy to challenge the homophobic worldview and its predecessor in ignorance, racism.

  • Marcy's comments reveal a touch of both racism and homophobia. AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • Comments from Tate and Joe Escandarian regarding gay ghosts (ghaysts?) Chad and Patrick aren't exactly politically correct either. AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • The Eternal Darkness Tour shows the death place of Sal Mineo, who was rumored to being murdered due his sexual orientation. AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • Lana and her girlfriend Wendy suffer much for their homosexual love. AHSW-Asylum-Full
  • Kit's interracial marriage to Alma suffers its own indignities. AHSW-Asylum-Full
  • Cruel slave-owner Delphine has trouble reconciling her centuries-old worldview with a black president and serving as Queenie's personal maid. AHSW-Coven-Full
  • Cora's young son is lynched in objection to President Kennedy's integration of "blacks" into schools. AHSW-Coven-Full
  • It is perhaps the goal to work against the trope in Freak Show, as its gays have little to redeem them. AHSW-FreakShow-Full
  • Dell's fear of being outed is enough for him to murder a sweet little doll woman. AHSW-FreakShow-Full
  • Dell was extorted to kill by another member of the Disloyal Fellowship of Despicable Homosexuals, Stanley. AHSW-FreakShow-Full
  • Andy seems pretty cool for a detached gigolo, but he is either dead or residing limbless in the Magic Bus. AHSW-FreakShow-Full
  • Liz Taylor receives transphobic/homophobic comments from her former friends when they discover she is transgender. AHSW-Hotel-Full
  • Matt Miller believes the raids and unreliability of the local police result of racism towards interracial marriage. AHSW-Roanoke-Full
  • Vinny makes Harrison cleans sperm from the sauna's floor just because he is a homosexual. AHSW-Cult-Full
  • Under the command of Mac Marzara, the NYPD did not care even a bit about the community, overlooking all the murders around New York City. Portal s11

The New Abnormal

Another "mission" of Ryan Murphy and Co. is to redefine our perspective of those with birth defects or disabilities, both through their creation of characters and their hiring of actors.

  • Jamie Brewer and Katelyn Reed are actors with Down Syndrome who respectively play the adult and child Addie.
  • The monstrous Beauregard is actually a gentle and loving boy.AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • The falsely accused "pinhead", Pepper, is "reborn" as an intelligent guardian of Grace.AHSW-Asylum-Full
  • Jamie Brewer returns as Nan; a vibrant and sexually active clairvoyant.AHSW-Coven-Full
  • Acceptance of those with physical defects, both congenital and environmental, is a central theme of Freak Show, which featured many actors with no need for special makeup effects. AHSW-FreakShow-Full
  • Our favorite pinhead returns with a husband. AHSW-FreakShow-Full
  • Jamie Brewer makes another appearance as the living embodiment of Chester Creb's ventriloquist dummy. AHSW-FreakShow-Full
  • Bartholomew is the forever baby son of The Countess. AHSW-Hotel-Full
  • Jamie Brewer makes her fourth appearance as Hedda. AHSW-Cult-Full
  • The lovely Beauregard makes another appearance in the crossover. AHSW-Apocalypse-Full
  • Rose is presented to us alongside her siblings. AHSW-Apocalypse-Full
  • Jamie Brewer returns as Nan in the crossover. AHSW-Apocalypse-Full

Fundamentalists and Fanatics

Religious beliefs can be quite problematic when brought to their extreme and fanatics thrive in the horror genre.

Family Dysfunction

There's no "fun" being put into these dysfunctional American Horror Story families.

  • Ben and Vivien are too tied up with their own issues to notice Violet's suicidal depression. AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • Though extremely protective, Constance lacks compassion and competence in dealing with the physical and mental disabilities of her children. She is despised by Tate, she is emotionally abusive to Addy, and she allows Larry to kill the disfigured Beau. AHSW-MurderHouse-Full
  • Nothing may have swayed Oliver Thredson and Johnny Morgan from a life of murder, but abandonment by their mothers certainly didn't help. AHSW-Asylum-Full
  • Fiona and Cordelia had a love-hate relationship. Mostly hate. AHSW-Coven-Full
  • Kyle Spencer's mother was a little too hands-on. AHSW-Coven-Full
  • An infant Jimmy Darling was nearly killed by his father and spent his formative years with an alcoholic mother and a bunch of hedonistic human oddities. AHSW-FreakShow-Full
  • Penny's combative relationship with her strict father leads to a horrific punishment. AHSW-FreakShow-Full
  • Donovan hates his mother, Iris, as much as she loves him. AHSW-Hotel-Full
  • The pain of a lost child has brought John and Alex Lowe to the brink of divorce. AHSW-Hotel-Full
  • Lee Miller's addiction to painkillers and alcohol is not an easy pass to "mother of the year" award. AHSW-Roanoke-Full
  • We don't even know where to start with Mama Polk and her "babies"... AHSW-Roanoke-Full
  • Joining a clown cult for being angry with your wife can not be considered a good example for one's own child. AHSW-Cult-Full
  • The feeling of disdain between The Gallants cannot be hidden. AHSW-Apocalypse-Full
  • Lavinia's love for her youngest son was evident, and so was her hate for her first-born. AHSW-1984-Full
  • Alma didn't quite like her own mother. DoubleFeature Logo


The supernatural is one of the most common elements in the American Horror Story universe. There are numerous portrayals of supernatural and occult phenomenon on the show.

The Not-So-Sweet Hereafter

Haunted places are featured in almost every season, and killing the nasty people only makes things worse.

Black Magic Woman

"Girl Power" takes a supernatural turn with these American Horror Story ladies - often with fatal results.

  • A coven of Salem witches is at the center of an endless bloody feud with Voodoists in New Orleans until the witch hunters decide to (fail to) impose their patriarchal endorsement. AHSW-Coven-Full
  • Witches don't need any man to save them. AHSW-Coven-Full
  • Merging the Old Gods with the New World by one murderous witch causes mayhem for the colonists, and inhabitants of Roanoke, in North Carolina. AHSW-Roanoke-Full
  • Not even the AntiChrist can hinder a hellbent coven of witches. AHSW-Apocalypse-Full
  • Warlocks have an old-fashioned idea about equal rights. But at least, they have style! AHSW-Apocalypse-Full
  • Voodoo is much more than stick pins into dolls... Until it is. AHSW-Coven-FullAHSW-Apocalypse-Full

Bring out the dead!

Dr. Frankenstein and his experiments have been very successful in the American Horror Story universe.


Oh yes. We have these classic bloodsuckers in American Horror Story too.

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