American Horror Story S1-7
The first seven seasons of this chilling series are now on Showmax. Because it’s an anthology series, you don’t need to have seen previous seasons to understand each one, so you can dip into whichever season takes your fancy. Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, the show is a stylish thriller with one main aim: to scare viewers. So – watch at your peril.
Season 1: Murder House – Starring Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott as Vivien and Ben Harmon, who relocate with their daughter to a restored old mansion, where they soon meet their meddling neighbours, including Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange). They also encounter the ghosts of everyone who’s ever died on their property.
Season 2: Asylum – Set in 1964, this season plays out at Briarcliff Manor, an institution that treats the criminally insane. Jessica Lange stars as the nun who runs the asylum, alongside Joseph Fiennes as Briarcliff’s founder. The patients and staff at Briarcliffe are victim to supernatural forces that range from demonic possession to alien abduction.
Season 3: Coven – The Salem Witch Trials are the background for this season, which focuses on the descendants of the survivors in the year 2013. Those with sorcery in their bloodline are being viciously stalked by voodoo practitioners and witch hunters, and so girls like Zoe Benson are sent to an all-girls boarding school in New Orleans that aims to protect those with the unique genetic trait. But this turns out to be the most dangerous place for Zoe and her fellow pupils.
Season 4: Freak Show – In 1954, Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) is the struggling owner of a freak show in Florida. She dreams of finding a home for her “monsters”, but not only are they being overlooked in favour of television, they are also being targeted by dark forces that are starting to infiltrate the small town of Jupiter.
Season 5: Hotel – The retro Hotel Cortez in downtown LA was initially built as a secret torture chamber, and as, Detective John Lowe suspects, it has also been the site of various grisly murders in the present day. Starring Lady Gaga as the founder of the hotel’s widow, fashionista-turned-vampire Elizabeth Johnson.
Season 6: Roanoke – In the 1500s, the Roanoke Colony mysteriously disappeared – and moved to a plot of land in North Carolina. On this same land, a renovated farmhouse stands in 2014, and the family who lives there are haunted by the ghosts of the farm’s previous inhabitants. They become the subject of a wildly popular documentary, and three years later, they agree to return to the farmhouse along with the actors who played them, for a follow-up. But no one is prepared for the dark entities that once again stalk the land…
Season 7: Cult – In the wake of Trump’s election as US President, Ally Mayfair-Richards finds herself at the mercy of her long-buried phobias and paranoia. Is she really being attacked by masked assailants who only appear when she is alone, or is she hallucinating? And how are they connected to the sinister alt-right politician Kai, who is ascending to great heights of political power in her town?
IMDB rating: 8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 76%