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American Horror Story: “My Roanoke Nightmare”

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Article by Catie Witzel

Photo Courtesy of horrornewsnetwork

From FX’s original announcement of American Horror Story Season 6, fans were aware that this season would be drastically different than previous seasons. American Horror Story is always cloaked in mystery and suspense. Season 6, “My Roanoke Nightmare” is no exception to this and mirrors past seasons while having its own spin on the series. Locals were upset to learn that the Roanoke of the season’s title referred to Roanoke N.C instead of our Roanoke, VA.

        In the past the theme and location of each season was made apparent in the season’s announcement as well as the widespread marketing campaign that can be found across various mediums. This season’s theme and location were kept a secret until the first episode premiered on Sept. 14. Multiple trailers were released and were designed to throw fans off from guessing the actual theme of the season. This worked up to a certain point considering many fans heard the rumor of the then-alleged Roanoke theme, and were confused by the trailers.

The sixth season has a different format style than the previous five seasons. It has a unique documentary-style format that is reminiscent of shows found of the investigation discovery channel. The format provides AHS the opportunity to double cast the main characters, played by the ‘real’ versions who provide the concerned voice over and the actors in the reenactment of their story. This also provides slight comic relief about the differences in the appearance of the actors portraying the same person. The format also leads the audience to question what the characters are hiding as well as the direction the show will take. In past seasons the audience had more of a clue as to what would occur within the rest of the season, however, with the theme and change in format the audience is left questioning how the season will unfold.

In first episode, we meet Shelby and Matt Miller who sit down for a documentary called “My Roanoke Nightmare. Through the combination of their voice over testimonies and re-enactment their story unfolds. The couple’s story begins with their already tragic fate. They move from Los Angeles to Roanoke, N.C after Shelby suffers a miscarriage due to stress from a gang-related attack. Trouble starts the second they discover an old farmhouse, which is in good condition for being previously abandoned. As they bid on the house, Matt jokingly asks why the price is so low and the locals at the auction all exchange a knowing glance. From then on the two along with Matt’s sister experience a host of unusual paranormal occurrences on their property, especially in their house. At first Matt suspects that the occurrences are local racists trying to drive out the interracial couple. It isn’t until after a few events that he realizes there is more to what they’re facing than appears at first.