American Horror Story returns soon with season 11, which promises to be "the deadliest year yet" and a "season like no other", according to the teaser trailer that arrived earlier this month.


The latest anthology series from Ryan Murphy will be set in New York City, and while we await the blood, gore and fetish masks that will inevitably ensue, we take a look at the last 10 ASL horror series rated from our favourite and beyond - for fans and newcomers to the show.

Over the last decade the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning show has centred on multiple characters and locations, including a house with a murderous past, an insane asylum, a witch's coven, a desperate freak show circus, a haunted hotel, a possessed farmhouse, a cult, the apocalypse, a slasher summer camp, a bleak beach town and desert valley, and incoming - NYC.

Read on for our ranking - from best to worst - of Ryan Murphy's ASL seasons below.

1. The Murder House (season 1, 2011)

The cast of AHS Murder House
The cast of AHS Murder House FX

The Murder House includes Ryan Murphy's most favourite AHS episode of all time (the pilot, FYI), and it's a season that is particularly special to him as it was the first series that brought his anthology storytelling vision to life.

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"That first season sort of reinvented the anthological storytelling space that I loved as a kid and has ushered in a whole new way of MAKING television (creatively and economically) and I'm very proud of that," Murphy told EW.

Bloody and gory and featuring twists and turns that kept viewers sucked in, season one begins with couple Viviane (Connie Britton) and psychiatrist Dr. Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott) as they purchases a discounted property in a bid to heal their marriage and put their former troubles behind them. Their teenage daughter (Taissa Farmiga) soon forms a friendship with the unstable Tate (Evan Peters) in their sinister new home, and before long, the family discover that the previous tenants and their victims are also living in their house. Their home is harbouring many secrets, some of which connect to their sinister neighbour Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange), who won an Emmy for her performance.

2. Asylum (season 2, 2012)

AHS Asylum poster
The cast of American Horror Story: Asylum FX

Jessica Lange and Evan Peters returned for Asylum, set in a New England sanitarium which featured psychological horror and frights around every corner, and revealed the brutal injustices inflicted upon the mentally ill including aversion therapy which were a reality back in the 20th century.

We arrive at Briarcliff Manor, an institution for the criminally insane run by a doctor (James Cromwell), a nun possessed by satan (Rabe), oh, and a serial killer hiding in plain sight. Terror emerges when Paulson's journalist Lana Winters arrives at the sanitarium for a story, only to find herself committed by Lange's sexually-repressed Sister Jude.

Dylan McDermott, Zachary Quinto, Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe and Frances Conroy also came back for season two, in addition to Joseph Fiennes, Lizzie Brocheré, James Cromwell and Chloë Sevigny.

3. 1984 (season 9, 2019)

American Horror Story 1984

Brimming with slasher tropes and typical AHS twists and turns, 1984 is an ode to iconic horror flicks and their murderous iconic characters including Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddie Kruger and Friday the 13th's Jason.

Set in an alternate AHS universe, the series begins at Camp Redwood, with Emma Roberts as camp counsellor Brooke alongside Billie Lourd as aerobic instructor Montana Duke, Leslie Grossman as religious director Margaret Booth, Cody Fern as Xavier Plympton, Matthew Morrison as the attractive activities director Trevor Kirchner, and Gus Kenworthy as troubled olympian Chet Clancy.

The camp is soon under threat by a Vietnam veteran turned serial killer murderer (John Carroll Lynch), who has absconded from an insane asylum. And there's Zach Villa's original re-imagination of the Night Stalker, Richard Ramirez. Expect campy thrills and bloody gore aplenty.

4. Coven (Season 2, 2011)

Jessica Lange as Fiona Goode in AHS Coven
Jessica Lange as Fiona Goode in AHS Coven FX

Over 300 years have passed since the turbulent days of the Salem witch trials and those who escaped are now facing extinction. It's 2013, and Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga) comes to Miss Robichaux's Academy after a troubled life brought about by her abilities as a witch and comes to train under Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson).

The academy is haunted by its past secrets and those of surrounding New Orleans, bringing it face to face with witch supreme Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange), voodoo queen Marie-Laveau (Angela Bassett) and historical slave-owner Madame Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates). There's also a memorable cameo from Stevie Knicks.

Coven boasts the scene-stealing prowess of Gabourey Sidibe, Bates, and Bassett, and real horror comes from the atrocity of slavery in America's South.

5. Apocalypse (season 8, 2018)

Sarah Paulson crying as Cordelia Goode in AHS Apocalypse
Sarah Paulson crying as Cordelia Goode in AHS Apocalypse FX

Boasting the most ambitious inter-season crossover yet, Apocalypse is a semi-sequel to both Murder House and Coven, and features exciting new characters thrust into an apocalyptic future before we see how witches must prevent this dark fate from having ever occurred as they go up against the antichrist, Michael Langdon (Cody Fern).

Michael brings about the end of the world through nuclear warfare, and it's all down to season 3's witches to stop him before the impending apocalypse hails down. We see closure for the coven and the welcome return of the legendary Jessica Lange as Michael's grandmother, Constance Langdon.

6. Roanoke (season 6, 2016)

Roanoke takes an unexpected turn away from prior AHS formats, which left fans and even cast member Sarah Paulson divided. Paulson admitted at the time: "I just don't care about this season at all… I felt really kind of trapped by my responsibility and my contractual obligation to do [AHS]."

The first half of the sixth run is a paranormal documentary series entitled My Roanoke Nightmare, which follows the events that traumatised a family that came to stay in a house built on the infamous 1580s Roanoke Colony disappearance. The second half features the fictional docu-series producing a spin-off show within the show, but soon turns into a found-footage horror. Confused yet ambitious, it at least concluded with a satisfying, final twist.

7. Freak Show (season 4, 2014)

Jessica Lange poses as Elsa Mars in AHS Freak Show
Jessica Lange poses as Elsa Mars in AHS Freak Show FX

A homage to 1932 film Freaks, and featuring a stellar cast including Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Michael Chiklis, Frances Conroy, Denis O’Hare, Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange, it starts off strong before going slightly off the rails.

Set in 1952 in Jupiter, Florida, the story follows one of the few surviving freak shows on its way out as its domineering leader Elsa Mars (Lange) pursues stardom at any cost. Paulson plays conjoined twins, Peters is a four-fingered 'Lobster Boy', and Bates is a bearded lady. Uncertain times make the group vulnerable to those out to exploit them, but John Carroll Lynch's Twisty the Clown poses a new threat. While it was praised by critics for being more sensitive than its source material (although that's not saying a whole lot) it was criticised for using disabilities as a tool for horror. However, fans did enjoy the silent killer and Finn Wittrock's unexpected relationship for an entertaining dollop of comedy-horror.

8. Hotel (season 5, 2015)

American Horror Story: Hotel
American Horror Story: Hotel FX

Based on LA's infamous Cecil Hotel, which was host to unexplained disappearances and bizarre antics which were recently turned into a docu-series by Netflix, the series may have focused too much on the deaths and violences that occurred at the Downton accommodation instead of concentrating on a solid plot.

Lady Gaga stars a femme fatale vampire hellbent on revenge, which won her a Golden Globe, and Wes Bentley plays an earnest detective aiming to piece together all the hotel's mysteries. Although the narrative is confusing to follow, a standout scene includes ghosts of famous serial killers at a dinner party which features Richard Ramirez and Aileen Wuornos slow dancing while Jeffrey Dahmer, the subject of Murphy's latest true crime series, enjoys canapés with John Wayne Gacy.

9. Double Feature (season 10.1, 2021)

Evan Peters

Double Feature has fun by putting two smaller stories into one season, back-to-back. The cast includes Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Lily Rabe, Finn Wittrock, Frances Conroy, Billie Lourd, Leslie Grossman, Adina Porter, Angelica Ross, Macaulay Culkin, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Neal McDonough, Kaia Gerber, Nico Greetham, Isaac Cole Powell, Rachel Hilson, Rebecca Dayan.

Red Tide features a struggling writer, his pregnant wife, and their daughter move to an isolated beach town for the winter. Once they're settled in, the town's true residents begin to make themselves known.

Death Valley focuses on a group of college students on a camping trip are swept up in a horrifying and deadly conspiracy decades in the making.

10. Cult (season 7, 2017)

American Horror Story
American Horror Story

American Horror Story attempted something new with Cult, which pitched itself as a reaction 2016 election of Donald Trump.

In the aftermath of Trump winning the US presidential election in 2016, a dangerous new cult is born headed by Kai Anderson (Evan Peters) and the life of the anxious Ally Mayfair-Richards (Sarah Paulson) is turned upside down forever. Peters gives a truly frightening performance as incel cult leader Kai, but the twists don't quite work with the show's attempts at political satire.

American Horror Story seasons 1 to 10 are available now to watch on Disney+ in the UKsign up to Disney Plus for £7.99 a month or £79.90 a year now.

Check out more of our Fantasy coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.


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