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Source: FX

Don’t Be Scared, but Yes, ‘American Horror Story’ Plot Lines Are Based on Real-Life Stories



After eight seasons, American Horror Story has captivated audiences with its storylines, characters, and everything in between. However, what most fans of the series may not know is that a lot of the major plot points and roles that the actors are portraying are based on true stories.

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Season 1: American Horror Story: Murder House

Starting with Season 1, audiences were introduced to the AHS: Murder House, and some may remember a few nurses who were killed in said house. Creator and writer Ryan Murphy has stated that while the nurses in the show weren't based on specific people, their murders were. In 1966, Richard Speck killed, raped and massacred eight nurses in a Chicago dorm. 

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Yunge from the Desert is based on an online novel with the same title by Tong Hua. It is about love triangle of a girl named Yunge, a nobleman, and the emperor in the Han (206BC-220AD). Nearly premiering in the same month as Nirvana in Fire, Yunge was much outflanked by the latter. It was criticized for its poor knowledge of history. To some audiences, charming Angela Baby herself became the only appeal of the adaptation.

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Source: FX

Season 2: American Horror Story: Asylum

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In Season 2, TV viewers are taken inside an insane asylum, hence the title of the series, and were introduced to many interesting characters (we're looking at you, Pepper). Remember the weird alien twist in asylum that left us all scratching our heads in the end? Well, on-screen couple Kit and Alma Walker were based off real-life interracial duo Barney and Betty Hill, who reported that they were abducted by aliens in 1961. 

Source: FX
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"The Betty and Barney Hill story of the fifties, sixties, was one of the first abduction stories," producer Tim Minear told Entertainment Weekly. "It was an interracial couple, we weren’t taking from that specifically, but it was in the water, in our experience, the stories that we all knew. When Ryan first pitched out that first story, he pitched it in that order, and he was like, ‘And then we meet him at his farm, and then he’s abducted by aliens.’ And my jaw was on the floor, but it felt exactly right to me for the period." 

Season 3: American Horror Story: Coven

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Ryan and the rest of his writing team definitely has a knack for implanting real-life story lines into the AHS franchise. When Season 3's Coven aired, many non-historians may have found it crazy that the titular characters were based off of real-life people. 

For example, one of the deadliest and scariest characters in Coven was Madame Delphine LaLaurie. Kathy Bates' portrayal of the 19th century New Orleans socialite and murderer was hauntingly frightening. In her "Chamber of Horrors," she would slaughter slaves and smear their blood on her face like it was her favorite moisturizer. 

Source: FX
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"What is so smart about it, to me, is that he’s called it American Horror Story. That’s because, in the midst of all of this kind of ghoulish entertainment that’s on one level, and on another level he’s unearthing the horrors of our own history," Kathy said of her character. "That is such a clever way to spice up the soup. Genius, really."

Season 4: American Horror Story: Freak Show

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Source: FX

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Season 5: American Horror Story: Hotel

Everyone knows that Evan Peters is the name that is synonymous with the American Horror Story franchise. His portrayals of disturbed characters throughout the series has really shown he is not just a one-dimensional actor. 

However, our favorite Evan's AHS character (besides his portrayal as Tate Langdon in Murder House), would have to be his role as hotel owner James March in Season 5's Hotel. The character was loosely based on the person many refer to as the world's first serial killer, H.H. Holmes. With trapped doors and secret entrances, this horror hotel was not based off of Ryan's imagination, but in actuality a Chicago hotel in the 1800's nicknamed "The Castle." If you found yourself inside its walls, rumor had it employees and guests were disappearing...

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Source: FX

"When I met Evan he was 22, and now he’s 28, 29. I feel like he has wanted to play a darker, more mature character. I told him what I was thinking and the character is from the from the late ‘20s East Coast," Ryan told EW of Evan's Hotel role. "That character is very educated and at the time that meant he probably had gone overseas so there’s a little bit of that in there. I’m proud of him. He really has done his homework with that.

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Season 6: American Horror Story: Roanoake

Source: FX
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AHS: Roanoke had many moving parts to its plot line. Season 6 was based off of the historical colony of Roanoke that disappeared in the 16th century. The colonizers that came over and settled into what is now known as North Carolina were having a hard time surviving, so leader John White went back to England to ask for aid. Three years later, he returned to find his colony had vanished with only the word "Croatoan" carved on a fence. Many theories have surfaced throughout the years, and in true AHS fashion, Ryan put his own twist on an old-fashioned ghost story.

Season 7: American Horror Story: Cult

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While many of AHS' storylines have been rooted in the past, Season 7 took a turn and was set in present day. Specifically, the fact that Hilary Clinton lost her presidency campaign. Though the story of course had murder, violence, and a people-being-brainwashed twist, TV viewers made the connection between AHS and a real-life 2018 society.

Source: FX
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So, what is American Horror Story Season 8 about?

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Source: FX
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Fans of the FX series will see the return of major characters from Murder House and Coven. And yes, that means our favorite Evan Peters character Tate Langdon will be in the new installment. And Jessica Lange is also making her big return to the franchise. Plus, Emma Roberts' Madison Montgomery will also come back from the dead. Though some may be scratching their heads as to how this crossover will happen, don't fret. Many of the lead actors, such as Sarah Paulson, will be tackling two roles. 

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Catch the premiere of AHS: Apocalypse tonight on FX at 10 p.m. EST.

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