American Horror Story: 6.01 Chapter 1

American Horror Story Season Six is finally upon us. The Roanoke Nightmare theme proves very promising already!

So here we have it, finally after months of speculation and second guessing from all the sinister ambiguous trailers, season six is now upon us. The theme is ‘My Raonoke Nightmare’, possibly inspired by events that supposedly took place at the Raonoke Colony in North Carolina. The colony is also known as The Lost Colony, due to colonists that moved there vanished completely during the Anglo-Spanish War, with no conclusive evidence as to what happened to them. Creators Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy take on this folklore myth and bring it to the present day and do so by introducing a filming style that is a montage of investigative TV documentary; mixing ‘real-life’ interviews with corresponding re-enactment scenes.

Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr play the re-enactment scenes of couple Shelby and Matt Miller, whilst Lily Rabe and Andre Holland play their real-life interviewees. The details of their story is that Shelby looses her baby during pregnancy and Los Angeles proves too dangerous for the pair when Matt gets attacked randomly in the street. After a visit to the East coast, where Matt grew up, a picnic in the woods proves to be a game changer as they stumble across a grand farm house in the middle nowhere. Matt falls in love with the house, so much so that he goes to it’s auction the following day. Selling at a suspiciously low price, Matt bids for it and wins. Shelby is hesitant about the whole thing but never voices her thoughts, however Matt senses her reluctance.

Murphy and Falchuk, straight off from the first moments of the couple moving in, introduce the fear factor by creating a relentless barrage of disturbing sounds such as shrieking screams, violent bangs or there is things flying at them out of nowhere or dead bloody pigs on their doorstep. We don’t see any of the perpetrators of these occurrences in the episode, but only a glimpse the very end, when Shelby driving in the dark hits a woman flying across the dirt road, who appears to be Kathy Bates’ character. The woman gets up and walks into the woods, Shelby runs after to find herself in the middle of what looks like some sort of satanic ritual.

The acting is still very much on par with what we have been accustomed to with the series. Paulson, Gooding, Rabe, Bassett all exceed in their delivery of their parts; thoroughly convincing; filling in the shoes of their roles with great ease and subtlety. We get an immediate sense of the protagonists’ personalities, the dynamics of their relationships, but also the desperation within them, possibly their subconscious warning them of major ominous events that are about to unfold.

The creators, manage to also give great depth to their characters by expanding on their back story, giving an explanation of how they got to their current predicament. Such as Bassett’s Lee, we are given a series of flashbacks to her past: her descent into alcoholism, loosing her job as an investigator, her husband filing for a divorce, loosing her children; all this explains her tragedy and how all this will play out in the episodes to come, especially when a supernatural element is added to the mix.

The grand farm house in the middle of this expansive dusty forest is simply beautiful, giving great promise for all the mayhem that is about to be unleashed within it. Built more than three hundred years ago; its is impressive with its large spiraling staircase, an intricate glass dome, period features, its faded exterior and its unkempt garden; all incredibly eerie yet visually stunning.

Hopefully Season Six is as good as its predecessor, Season Five’s remarkable Hotel. The episode gives a hint of Season’s One Haunted House,with the presence of ghosts and dead people; but the setting is more familiar with Season’s Three Witches in the natural surroundings of New Orleans. Chapter ones’ fast pace and thorough narration provided by the interviewees and the re-enactment scenes, gives us a clear indication of what the season will be out and reservedly we can say that The Raonoke Nightmare has great potential. So let’s wait and see!

Daniel Theophanous

Updated: Sep 17, 2016

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