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The opening credits were created by Kyle Cooper and his company Prologue, who also created the opening scenes for Seven and The Walking Dead.

Development

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Ryan Murphy said about the opening credits "The title sequence is almost like a mystery. By the time you see the ninth episode of this season, every image in that title sequence will be explained. So for example, What are the jars in the basement? What is the mystery of the floating white Christening dress? Why is somebody holding hedge clippers that are bloody? Each time you watch it and you watch the week's episode you'll be able to say, 'Oh that's why that's in there!'"[1]

The font used for the AHS logo is called "Rennie Mackintosh", after the Scottish Art Nouveau artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Ryan Murphy had wanted "Frank Lloyd Wright" font, after the American architect famous for his use of stained glass. Since Frank Lloyd Wright was influenced by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Prologue company suggested the Mackintosh font. Kyle Cooper shot the basement scenes in the sub-basement of Mack Sennett Studios in Silverlake, California, a soundstage originally built in 1916. He decided to shoot the entire opening credits in the basement to provide the view of the infantata, who lives in the basement. The old pictures of children were included to show past owners who watched everything with innocent eyes.[2]

The song in the background was created by Cesar Davila-Irizarry, who is a friend of "Prologue" editor Gabriel Diaz, and musician Charlie Clouser, formerly of Nine Inch Nails and is called "American Horror Story". The song also gives clues to the show, for example, the ambient noises and the sound of dripping water along with a menacing voice whispering what sounds like "Hurt you", adapted by Lady Gaga for the trailer of American Horror Story: Hotel. (Maria).

Murder House

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Imagery featured in the Opening Credits are:

  • The basement
  • A hole in the floor (Infantata's hiding place and Violet Harmon's final resting place)
  • Bloody medical equipment (Dr. Montgomery)
  • A man with plastic wrap around his head (Joe Escandarian)
  • Flames (Larry, Lorraine and their daughters)
  • Old pictures of toddlers (from approximately 1890- 1930), some of them burning (some of these pictures are post-mortem pictures)
  • Jars with both human and pig fetuses (Dr. Montgomery and possibly a reference to Piggy Man)
  • A bride's photo (possibly the dead bride from You're Going to Die in There)
  • Chains (possibly Beau)
  • A dead man under plastic (Joe Escandarian)
  • Another presumably dead man sitting on an office chair under plastic (Joe Eskandarian)
  • A man with bloody hedge clippers (possibly Black Dahlia)
  • A baptism gown (Infantata)
  • Three skeletons (The Harmon family all dead)

Asylum

Imagery featured in the Opening Credits are:

  • Body in death chute with dark figure in background (Grace Bertrand's post-mortem abduction)
  • Bandaged person crying black tears (Possessed Jed Potter and Mary Eunice)
  • Man (possibly Oliver Thredson) behind crucifix (Bloody Face) (possibly referencing the Monsignor's crucifixion)
  • Man in wheelchair (Kit's final abduction)
  • Bloody gloves, possibly made of skin, picking  organs (Bloody Face, also Jed Potter's eating of the disemboweled cow, possibly a reference to the aliens taking out embryos)
  • Operation with Sister Mary Eunice standing over (Mary Eunice and Doctor Arden's plan to electroshock Jude) 
  • Nun climbing on top of bound patient (Mary Eunice's rape of the Monsignor) 
  • Doctor suffocating patient (Dr. Arden killing then reviving patient to attract aliens)
  • Girl walking backward on hands up the stairs (Sister Mary Eunice possession by The Devil
  • Girl upside down with free-flowing hair (Jenny Reynolds from The Origins of Monstrosity)
  • Man under bright lights (Alien Abduction)
  • Statue of Virgin Mary's face contorting into evil smile (Sister Mary Eunice's possession)
  • Insane people (scattered throughout sequence)



Coven

Imagery featured in the opening credits are:

  • Sarah Paulson's titlecard is of Santa Muerte, also known as the Lady of the Seven Powers, implying Cordelia's ascendance to Supreme
  • Taissa Farmiga's titlecard is of dangling feet and the phrase spiritu dominado, which translates to "dominated spirit", foreshadowing Zoe's death. 
  • An unseen person is seen having their mouth sewn shut, implying the torture of one of Delphine's slaves. 
  • A being with the body of a man and the head of a horse is seen disappearing behind a tree. Other similar figures also appear, foreshadowing the appearance of Marie Laveau's lover, Bastien, who was transformed into a minotaur. 
  • A group of witches in white are seen dancing wildly around a witch, who is dressed in black and burning on a stake, foreshadowing the fate of Myrtle Snow, played by Frances Conroy
  • Lily Rabe's name disintegrates on her titlecard, foreshadowing the death of her character, Misty Day
  • Two figures are seen performing Voodoo magic similar to the ritual performed by Marie Laveau to resurrect the dead. 
  • Kathy Bates' titlecard is of a black cat whose gaze lingers; black cats are usually seen as bad omens and the familiars of witches. Delphine is quickly adopted into the academy as a servant, but longs to return to the ways of the old world. 
  • A Voodoo priestess is seen stabbing a Voodoo doll, while maniacally laughing, foreshadowing Marie Laveau's tortrue of Hank. 
  • Jessica Lange's titlecard is of a woman, possibly a witch, seducing a man; this could symbolize her manipulation of the Axeman in her scheme to remain Supreme
  • Witches are seen assaulting and ambushing one another throughout the opening, foreshadowing the coven's battle royale for the Supremacy

Freak Show

Imagery featured in the Opening Credits are:

  • Skeleton chimera of a human-shaped like an elephant being riding a bike
  • A clown hiding behind freakshow trailer (Twisty The Clown)
  • Man with short legs limping, supported by his hands (Legless Suzi)
  • Clown whose face is smiling, contorting into an evil laughing expression (Dandy Mott's psychosis)
  • Handicapped boy with deformed legs
  • Conjoined twins stuck onto dart board whilst darts are being thrown at them (Bette and Dot Tattler and Elsa Mars knife act)
  • Grady Stiles who was the real life Lobster Boy (reference to Jimmy Darling)
  • Clowns scattered throughout sequence
  • Demonic cymbal-banging monkey toy
  • A voodoo-like masked person wandering around
  • Man with nails fixated into his head using hammer to fix a signboard
  • A skeleton with a clown costume (Twisty as a ghost)
  • Woman swallowing a sword
  • Nude woman with a leg sticking out of her vagina (Desiree Dupree, who is intersex)
  • Balloon twister popping balloons
  • Person swapping heads with one of a conjoined twin (Dot's desire to be separated from Bette so that she and Jimmy can be together)
  • Clown in sweater vest missing the top of his head (possibly Dandy Mott)
  • Man whose top is zipped down, causing his eye pupils to roll inside his head and black blood to pour from his mouth (Behind Kathy Bates name card, foreshadowing how Ethel Darling loses her head in staged death)
  • Girl with a big circus hat (Elsa Mars)
  • Conjoined twins kissing each other (Bette and Dot Tattler discovering their sexuality)

Hotel

Imagery featured in the Opening Credits are:

  • Hand reaching out through a hole in a wall (Rudolph and Natacha's entrapment and escape from the hidden hallway)
  • Blood pool on carpet spreading towards a pair of high heel-clad feet, maid scrubbing at the bloodstain (Hazel Evers)
  • Someone hand-painting in blood on a wall
  • Demonic figure posing seductively and caressing a woman (possibly Elizabeth)
  • A very pale, blond-haired little boy (One of Elizabeth's blood-drinking children)
  • Woman being pulled inside a mattress and a monstrous creature breaking out from within a mattress (Claudia Bankson being killed by Gabriel on her mattress, Sally sewing victims inside mattresses)
  • The Ten Commandments written in illuminated signs (The Ten Commandments Killer)
  • Ghostly apparition wearing a white dress with blood splattering over her (Elizabeth's wedding and murder of Will Drake)
  • Young woman turning into a skeleton (possibly Alex Lowe becoming infected with the Blood Virus)
  • Lingerie-clad woman
  • A human skull being picked up
  • Woman screaming as someone paints on her face with lipstick (Liz Taylor fighting her true sexuality)
  • Child wearing a gas mask (Virus outbreak caused by the school children)
  • Hotel hallways and scenes shown through a door viewer (scattered throughout sequence)



Roanoke

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My Roanoke Nightmare

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Return to Roanoke

The sixth installment of the series, subtitled Roanoke, is the first and so far only season not featuring an opening credits.

In its place, however, animated frames have been used to divide the season into two parts, each consisting of five episodes. The two halves are respectively "My Roanoke Nightmare" and "Return to Roanoke," mimicking the in-universe documentaries.

Cult

Imagery featured in the Opening Credits are:

  • Angel statue with a lyre and a shaking hand (Judgement House)
  • Bees on a honeycomb and a hand being dragged through them (Kai Anderson controlling the actions of the cult)
  • Scenes of Bloody hands being washed in a sink (Murder)
  • Scenes of bees and honeycombs (The Cult)
  • Holes in a neck and millipedes crawling amongst them (Ally's Trypophobia dream)
  • A man putting on a Donald Trump mask (Kai Anderson preparing for world domination after Trump wins)
  • A porcelain statue of George Washington in colonial attire and a porcelain woman with a flowing dress and a bell (representing Kai's want to be President and traditional values)
  • Men in hazmat suits carrying a coffin and clowns emerging from it (The coffin murders)
  • Man in hazmat suit carrying a dead dog in front of a carousel (Hazmat suit: Fake chemical trucks scaring citizens, Dead dog: death of loyalty at the end of the series or possibly resembling the planted dead birds on Ally Mayfair-Richards's lawn)
  • Tear gas (Police Raid)
  • Clowns sitting on a bus (Twisty the Clown)
  • A clown juggling knives (SCUM murders)
  • Men in hazmat suits (Fake chemical trucks scaring citizens)
  • Female clown in a top hat crying blood (Female members of the cult feeling persecuted and oppressed)
  • A carousel with clowns on the horses (The Cult)
  • A butcher with a bloody apron, drawing their butcher knife around their stomach (Ivy Mayfair-Richards cutting Harrison Wilton up in the butchery as part of SCUM)
  • A bloody American flag (The election being influenced by murder)
  • A magician pulling out a skinned, bloody rabbit from his top hat
  • Someone putting on a Hillary Clinton mask and wagging their finger (Ally opposing Kai and SCUM)
  • A couple covered in blood kissing (The sacred conception of the miracle child between Winter Anderson, Kai Anderson and Detective Jack Samuels)
  • A man wearing a beekeeper's mask (Harrison Wilton's work as a bee-keeper)
  • Hands in chains doing a "pinky promise" (Kai's pinky promise ritual)

Apocalypse

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Imagery featured in the opening credits are:

  • Snakes slithering around the screen; Satan is usually represented by snakes and appeared in the form of a serpent to Adam and Eve. This could also possibly be connected to Timothy and Emily , as they are somewhat of an inversion of Adam and Eve in that their union produces the second Antichrist. 
  • Burning candles, which are shown reversing and rejuvenating, symbolizing the theme of time travel, as well as the end of something or the restoration of something. Mallory also performs Tempus Infinituum, a form of magical time manipulation long thought impossible. 
  • Nuclear testing documents and Geiger scales; the whole world is destroyed by the Cooperative's nuclear bombs. 
  • Nuclear explosions, out of which some appear a goat's skull. The world is destroyed in order for Michael to remake it in his father's image. 
  • A black scorpion; this could possibly symbolize Sarah Paulson's role as the antagonistic Wilhemina Venable, or her character's alignment with the Cooperative. In promos, a black and white scorpion appear fighting; Langdon could be considered the white scorpion since his true form appears as a demon with a white face and black eyes, while the witches are usually seen wearing black with white accents, so the black scorpion could also represent Paulson's predominant character, Cordelia Goode
  • Adina Porter's titlecard appears as a Columbine blooming red. The Victorian meaning of a Columbine is to win, and they are also associated with deceit and desertion. Porter's character, Dinah Stevens, is deceitful and only plays for the winning side, which is evil. Langdon also helps Stevens' career bloom. 
  • Folk art of witches and demons. 
  • Billie Lourd's titlecard is a young witch striking down her accusers. Lourd's character, Mallory, is the next Supreme, who ultimately defeats Michael, her powers reemerging when pushed to do so. 
  • Leslie Grossman's titlecard is of two people having sex, only for one of their faces to become burned out. This could symbolize how Coco's husband, Brock, is deformed when abandoned in the nuclear wasteland. 
  • Cody Fern 's titlecard is of a candleflame being snuffed out; this could symbolize how Michael destroys the world, or how easily he's killed in the final episode. 
  • Emma Roberts' titlecard is of witches having their heads wiped out, foreshadowing the ultimate fate of Madison Montgomery.
  • A statue of an angel with a hand held forlornly over its eyes is also shown, possibly signifying devestation at the state of the world following the titular apocalypse. 
  • Cheyenne Jackson's titlecard is of a male figure burning, foreshadowing the first death of John Henry Moore.
  • Kathy Bates' titlecard is of a serpent preparing to strike; serpents are symbolic for rebirth, as they shed their skin. Miriam Mead is technically reborn in the form of an android and is loyal only to Michael and Satan. 
  • A microscope hovering over a small suburb, implying the presence of a higher order, the Cooperative
  • Imagery from the openings of Murder House and Coven
    • The reappearance of the winged demonic figure, which shares similarities with the silhouette of Satan. Joan Ramsey theorized that the witches gained their abilites from Satan, who is also the spiritual father of Michael Langdon and the overarching villain of the series. 
    • Thaddeus Montgomery's christening gown rising up, which could symbolize the return of characters from Murder House.
    • Pictures of children with their faces blackened out, symbolizing Langdon's loss of innocene and accepting his role as the Antichrist. 

1984

Imagery featured in the Opening Credits are:

  • A 1987 aerobics video by Kathy Smith with blood splat effects (Montana meeting Richard Ramirez in an aerobics class and Xavier inviting Brooke to Camp Redwood after meeting her there)
  • Scenes around Camp Redwood's lake
  • Close-ups of ears (Margaret Booth cutting off ears to frame Benjamin Richter)
  • Scenes of bloody knives and blood pouring into drains (the murders committed by Margaret Booth, Benjamin Richter, the Night Stalker and Lavinia Richter  )
  • Camcorder filming a man stalking through a cabin (Margaret Booth slaughtering all occupants of a cabin in 1970, Richard Ramirez trapping Brooke, Chet, Ray and "Rita " in a cabin)
  • Keys landing on the ground (the first Camp Redwood massacre and Benjamin Richter gaining the name "Mr. Jingles")
  • 80s dance and fitness crazes and waterskiing (the 1984 Summer Olympics taking place during the events of the show)
  • Axe dragging along the ground (Benjamin Richter in Slashdance)
  • A person swimming on the lake while a woman wanders around the dock. (Bobby swimming with his distracted brother in-charge.)
  • Bloody American flag and Statue of Liberty
  • Someone listening to a Walkman
  • Bloody hand (Brooke, Ray, and Xavier all feeling responsible for someone else's death)
  • Wine glass smashing and exploding a bag of fake blood
  • Couple on a beach
  • Stock footage of Ronald Reagan
  • Someone getting into a car (Ray Powell's accidental killing of a pledge at his fraternity, Benjamin Richter and Richard Ramirez driving away from Camp Redwood together)
  • Someone setting fire to a pile of corpses stacked beside the lake (Xavier's attempt to burn down Camp Redwood)
  • Floating woman in the lake (Dead body found in the lake by Brooke in the second episode. Chet's and Bobby's deaths.)
  • Woman with a hammer
  • Screaming woman bent backwards over a roller
  • Video tape unspooling and blood dripping down the screen.

Gallery

References

  1. Clues in American Horror Story Haunting Opening Credits, The Ossuary, Best-Horror-Movies.com, 28-9-2011, http://ossuary.best-horror-movies.com/m/news/view/89162/-Video-Clues-in-American-Horror-Story-Haunting-Opening-Credits
  2. "Main Title design: American Horror Story", Brief. The International Journal of Media Marketing, Promotion and Design, Fall 2011, p. 64, 28-9-2011, http://www.scribd.com/doc/69750568/Top-Chef-Just-Desserts

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