Each week, CinéSéries.com looks back on the secrets of a cult series. Today, we are interested in “American Horror Story”, the flagship anthology series of its creator, Ryan Murphy.
American Horror Story, a horror anthology that quickly became cult
Two years after the release of the first season of Glee, its creator, Ryan Murphy, unveils his new series, in a totally different register. American Horror Story is an anthology show in which each episode features a horror story who juggles fear, gore and political correctness. Historical figures or urban legends are also mentioned there, and the series tackles many other subjects such as psychology, sex or societal taboos.
And American Horror Story is an anthology, Ryan Murphy is used to working very regularly with the same actors, and many of those who appear in the series therefore return in several episodes to play different roles. Among them, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates ou Emma Roberts are among those that can be seen there most often.
We invite you to discover here four secrets about the series launched in 2011.
The connection between American Horror Story and The Walking Dead
The different generics ofAmerican Horror Story, immediately recognizable as part of the universe created by Ryan Murphy, participate in the myth of the series. In addition to being striking thanks to their aestheticism, they are important because they contain clues about the plot of the upcoming episode. And the credits in question have a link with another rather recent series that has also become cult, sincethey are the work of genre specialist Kyle Cooper.
And the latter is also at the origin equally disturbing opening credits of The Walking Dead. Cooper has therefore left his mark in the world of series by signing the outstanding credits of two different cult series in a few years. For cinema, he also worked on the credits of Seven, whose aestheticism recalls that ofAmerican Horror Story.
The ax man really existed
Episode 3 of Season 6 ofAmerican Horror Story introduced the terrifying character of the ax man, a serial killer who sowed terror in the streets of New Orleans at the beginning of the 20th century and who resurrected in the episode. The character played by Danny Huston, saxophonist in life, returns to terrorize the inhabitants of the city in the series.
But one thing makes the character even more terrifying: the ax killer really existed. In the 1900s, a serial killer caused panic in the streets of New Orleans by murdering several people with an ax. The letter sent to the police advising the townspeople to hire jazz musicians on pain of assassination, seen in Murphy’s show, is also real. The saxophonist’s strange request also inspired one of the biggest hits of the time, The Mysterious Axeman’s Jazzby John Davila.
The hotel in season 5 is based on an actual location
In addition to presenting terrifying characters, sometimes inspired by people who really existed, American Horror Story also sometimes highlights equally scary places whose inspiration also comes from real life. In the first episode of season 5 of the series, many mysterious deaths occur in the same building, the Cortez hotel in Los Angeles. Gold, it is based on a real establishment, the Cecil hotel, also based in the City of Angels.
During its history, the Cecil hotel has been the scene of several suicides and murders. Two serial killers, Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger, also stayed there, in 1985 and 1991 respectively. It is therefore understandable why the place would be a good inspiration for Ryan Murphy’s series. And one of the two killers, Richard Ramirez, nicknamed “the Nightstalker”, is also represented in the fifth season of the show. He thus appears in the fourth episode, played by Anthony Ruivivar.
The mansion ofAmerican Horror Story appeared in many other series
The house of horrorAmerican Horror Story, immediately recognizable thanks to its unique architecture, is a major element of the series. Having been the scene of bloody acts in the past, it is now the home of the Harmon family, and is almost a character in its own right. The real name of the place is Rosenheim Mansion, and it is located in California.
What if the house told you something when you saw it in the first season ofAmerican Horror Story, is that you may have seen her in another series. Due to its unique architecture, the Rosenheim mansion has been used many times for small screen productions. We have thus seen him in many series with a more or less macabre plot, such as Alfred Hitchcock presents, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Bones.