Well, we finally know.

After keeping us in suspense over American Horror Story‘s season 6 theme in a Beyonce-like Lemonade mystique, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk finally revealed tonight that it’s My Roanoke Nightmare.

Well, now what the heck does that mean?

“Roanoke” refers to Roanoke Island in North Carolina, site of the famous “Lost Colony” of 117 English settlers who disappeared sometime between 1585 and 1587, leaving behind only the message “Croatoan” (the name of a nearby Native American tribe with whom the colonists had established relations) carved into a tree. The disappearance happened during the chaotic Anglo-Spanish war (during which the 1588 attack by the Spanish Armada occurred), preventing regular contact with overseas settlements. As a result, the final fate of the colony has never been firmly established, though current prevailing opinion holds that they may have integrated with, or have been attacked and conquered by their neighbors. In any event, the Lost Colony remains one of early America’s most enduring mysteries.

Word that the Lost Colony would supply the backstory for this season broke in early August when TMZ revealed photos from the Santa Clarita, CA-based AHS set that included a photo of a tree with the word ‘Croatoan’ inscribed on it. So it is that most of tonight’s episode takes place on Roanoke Island in an old, refurbished farmhouse.

Then again, Murphy and Falchuk could have called this season ‘horror movie mash-up’ as there’s an homage to a number of cult classics, just like those 24 trailers promised us throughout the summer. At TCA, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf said that only one of those trailers is accurate. Judging from tonight’s episode of genre pic callbacks, most of those teasers were accurate, and indeed, given the motif that Murphy and Falchuk have established, let’s assume we’ll see more.

M.I.A. tonight was Lady Gaga, who announced her return last spring on New York City’s Z100 and was seen with a centipede crawling on her face in the teaser. She was’t alone, as a slew of other announced AHS thespians also have yet to appear, i.e. Denis O’Hare, Finn Whittrock, Cheyenne Jackson, Even Peters, Matt Bomer and Jacob Artist.

Season 6 is a little bit The Hills Have Eyes, half Shining, a quarter Wicker Man, a dose of Italian supernatural horror (those raining teeth that disappear? A 2012 Italian movie The Haunting of Helena) and a dash of Saw (that pig guy hanging out in the woods). Many believed that Murphy and Falchuk were going to riff off of Stephen King’s The Mist, but so far, the N.C. weather forecast isn’t calling for fog with monsters loitering outside this house. No, it’s just freaky Colonial folks out in those spooky woods.

At PaleyFest last March, Ryan Murphy was rather vague on the season six theme, saying “we’ve been working on two ideas at once, which we’ve never done” while further indicating that “opera” and “children” could be prominent motifs. Well, so far it’s not those, though a quick image of a crying baby and a couple trying to have one might indicate that we’ll have some It’s Alive folded in soon. If anything in its structure, the format of AHS Season 6 is a true crime documentary.

With the warning label flashed up at the beginning “The following story is based on true events”, AHS rep player Lily Rabe and Andre Holland respectively portray Shelby and Matt. They met in a yoga class in Los Angeles, fall in love and are expecting a baby. However, out on a date, Matt is assaulted by a gang, knocked unconscious and has his orbital socket broken. And Shelby loses the baby. So, it’s off to the North Carolina woods for a calmer life, despite a bunch of The Hills Have Eyes hicks lurking around. The couple buy a 1792 farmhouse. While Matt and Shelby recount their story by looking directly into the camera, in flashbacks they’re played by Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding, Jr. (a casting we learned about four days ago).

Matt is a pharmaceutical salesman and has to go away on business to Raleigh which is two hours away. But as Shelby begins having Shining ghost hallucinations (Nurse Miranda and Nurse Bridget played by Maya Berko and Kristen Rakes) and is nearly drowned in a hot tub (not exactly Halloween II, but almost), Matt calls on his ex-cop sister Lee (True Blood‘s Adina Porter in first person camera, Angela Bassett in flashbacks) to move in and watch over Shelby. Lee is trying to stay sober and kick a prescription pill addition, but she still packs a gun despite the fact that she’s lost her badge (“I got hurt on the job”). Matt thinks it’s “the white trash gang” causing all this riffraff around the house. He doesn’t bother to tell Shelby about the dead animal left on his doorstep, which he decides to bury. Lee looks down on Shelby, and believes she’s making stuff up so she can get Matt to move them back to L.A.

But then the house begins to play games on Lee: rolling empty wine bottles at her, leaving TV sets on with Pig man outside in the woods, plus there’s a number of wooden stick figures (ala the Blair Witch-like compound symbols) hanging around the house’s spiral staircase. “Why would someone break into my house to play a home movie?” asks Rabe’s Shelby, while Holland’s Matt exclaims about those stick figures, “this wasn’t an act of vandalism, it was an act of terrorism”.

Also seen in tonight’s episode: Kathy Bates dressed in some colonial dress. She gets hit by a car that Paulson’s Shelby is driving. Shelby chases her into the woods and finds those hanging stick men on the trees. Shelby falls to the ground, looks up and sees the earth and the trees wobbling. She runs back and is circled by folks with torches. Then we see a glimpse of AHS alum Wes Bentley also clad in colonial get-up who appears to be the leader of this crazy, fire-bearing people in the forest. They also scalp folks, as we see a bearded guy, screaming and running away.

So to date on AHS the themes have been Murder, Asylum, Coven, Freak Show and Hotel. What’s clear is that each has a different pace, style and timing, with last last year’s Hotel being largely inspired by Gaga and the freakish gothic aura she exudes in her music videos. Part of the fun this season will be guessing which horror faves Murphy and Falchuk are giving a nod to.

Previous ArticleNext Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Hollyoaks are set to launch a powerful new mental health storyline for Alfie Nightingale as he starts hearing a voice and is diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder.

The teenager has been struggling to cope with life since the loss of his soulmate Jade Albright and his loved ones started to fear that he was exhibiting odd behaviour when he worked on a robot to replace Jade.

But in coming weeks, when a voice in Alfie’s head starts communicating with him and ordering him to do things, it becomes clear that things are extremely serious. And Hollyoaks has been working with the charity Mind to ensure that it represents the condition with sensitivity and accuracy.

The storyline, which will form part of the soap’s award-winning #DontFilterFeelings campaign

In episodes due to air at the beginning of April, Alfie will freak out when a voice in his head tells him not to trust his family and when he tries to ignore it and goes stargazing with Ellie, he is continuously plagued by the voice which is warning him off.

It is just the beginning of a difficult journey for Alfie who will be given the diagnosis, which involves patients experiencing psychotic symptoms not dissimilar to schizophrenia and the mood symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Richard Linnell who plays Alfie said: ‘I feel deeply honoured to have been trusted with such a strong and complex story for Alfie. We’ve been working closely with both Mind, and talking to people who have been kind enough to share their personal experiences of the condition.

‘It’s going to be a tumultuous road ahead for Alfie and in telling a deeply truthful, powerful story we hope to continue to break down the stigmas surrounding mental health as a whole.’

A spokesperson for Mind added: ‘We are so pleased that Hollyoaks are tackling the mental health condition Schizoaffective Disorder and have enjoyed working with them over many months. We know that when done well soap storylines can have a really positive affect on a huge audience, changing attitudes and encouraging people to seek help.’

As part of the #DontFilterFeelings campaign, which has included other storylines such as Scott’s depression and Lily’s self harm, Hollyoaks also sought the help and advice of mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin, who helped to create the acclaimed Channel 4 documentary Stranger On A Bridge.

He said: ‘It was a real privilege to work with Hollyoaks on this storyline. The soap has done fantastic work in increasing understanding and reducing stigma attached to mental health issues in the past. The team I worked with were wonderful.

‘I really hope this storyline will make an impact on public perception of Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder, which has for too long been misconceived and feared. I’m so pleased Hollyoaks have been brave and bold enough to tackle this sensitive subject.’

The storyline kicks off on Wednesday 4th April at 7pm on E4.


Hollyoaks bosses are planning a sexual abuse storyline for show newcomers Ollie Morgan and Buster Smith.

A dark new plot will see football coach Buster abuse his position of power to groom Ollie, who was introduced as Luke Morgan’s teenage son two months ago.

Brody reacted with hostility when Damon’s dad Buster showed up in the village after Maggie’s death which implies that he may have been a previous victim of the manipulative football coach.

Up until now, Buster has settled into the village well, setting up sporting opportunities for youngsters and embarking on a romance with Marnie Nightingale. But his true colours will be revealed when he takes advantage of his position of power.

When he starts opening up to Buster about problems at home, Buster will start to groom him in secret and Hollyoaks are working with Survivors Manchester to ensure that the difficult story is tackled in the correct and appropriate way.

The Hollyoaks team have been working closely with the Survivors Manchester charity while creating this storyline. The charity previously consulted on John Paul McQueen’s male rape story in 2014.

Duncan Craig from Survivors Manchester said: ‘It is once again an absolute pleasure to be working with Hollyoaks on another hugely important storyline that is so topical and relevant. Working with producers, researchers, script writers and the cast, we have been able to develop a story that is rooted firmly in the present day and will show the intricacies of grooming and the difficulty in speaking out as a young male.

‘The team at Hollyoaks has again 100% committed to working with us to ensuring the male survivor sat at home watching the story will feel he is understood, as a survivor led organisation, this is important part of this work.’

Aedan Duckworth who plays Ollie, added: ‘It’s a privilege to have been given this challenging storyline for Ollie. To ensure I accurately depict Ollie’s situation I have had guidance from Survivor’s Manchester and support and advice from Gary Lucy during the filming process.

‘I hope to continue to raise awareness around this subject and encourage those who may have found themselves in a similar situation, to reach out and seek the support they deserve.’

Meanwhile, show boss Bryan Kirkwood commented: ‘While the backdrop of this story is football, the issue itself is far broader and we hope it will encourage all children and young adults to speak out if they ever find themselves in Ollie’s situation.

‘As with all our issue stories we want to encourage parents to open a dialogue within the home about subjects that are difficult to talk about. We are in a unique position of being able to talk to a bright and engaged audience about important issues without lecturing them.’

Hollyoaks will launch the story on April 16 on E4, as Buster starts to get close to Ollie and Brody confides in Luke’s ex-wife Scarlett about his own past.