• Graveyard Shift

The Most Heartbreaking Moments In ‘American Horror Story’

List RulesVote up the heart-wrenching moments that made you shed a tear.

For a show that's supposed to be all about terror, gore, and the dark side of human nature, American Horror Story has proven time and again that it can break viewers' hearts just as easily as it can make their hearts pound. Over the course of 10 seasons, the show has depicted families falling apart, the consequences of absolute power, and even the end of the world.

The sadness of some of these storylines sticks with viewers for years. Whether it's Violet Harmon discovering her fate in Murder House or Doris Gardner finding out she's not all that talented in Red Tide, it's impossible not to feel some level of sympathy - and maybe even empathy - for the show's many characters.

  • 1

    Violet Harmon Discovering Her Corpse

    Photo: FX

    In perhaps the biggest twist of American Horror Story's first season, the episode "Smoldering Children" reveals that Violet Harmon has been a ghost since the end of the sixth episode. The audience learns Tate was unable to save Violet after she overdosed on pills, and he hid her body to protect her from the truth.

    As Tate takes Violet further and further into the basement of Murder House, she finds her own body, its arms contorted and its mouth filled with flies. Violet's reaction is so visceral and filled with intense grief that it borders closer to tragedy than horror.

    American Heartbreak Story?
  • 2

    Lana Seeing Wendy's Body

    Photo: FX

    Just as Lana thinks she's escaped the torment of Briarcliff Manor with the help of Oliver Thredson, she's confronted with the new horror that Thredson is Bloody Face.

    Chained to the floor of Thredson's basement, Lana experiences a brief glimmer of hope when she sees her girlfriend Wendy lying on the floor. Lana's anguished wails as she discovers that Wendy is dead are almost more upsetting than what went on at Briarcliff.

    American Heartbreak Story?
  • 3

    Twisty’s Backstory

    Photo: FX

    Despite Twisty's murderous rampage through the town of Jupiter, FL, it turns out that he's a "good clown" by his own account. Twisty was once a popular clown whose career was ruined by a group of jealous carnies. After attempting to take his own life, Twisty ends up only disfiguring himself and becoming the murderous clown the town comes to fear.

    If it weren't for all of the horrible crimes Twisty commits throughout Freak Show, the viewer might feel bad for the clown who just wanted to make people laugh and forget their problems for a while.

    American Heartbreak Story?
  • 4

    Pepper’s Backstory

    Photo: FX

    Pepper, the meatloaf-loving "pinhead" from Asylum, returned in Freak Show with her own tragic storyline.

    As the freak show closes, Elsa returns Pepper to her alcoholic sister and brother-in-law, who are less than excited to have her around. They eventually frame her for the murder of her infant nephew, which results in her being sent to Briarcliff Manor.

    In what might be one of the saddest scenes in AHS history, Pepper holds her hand to cheek while she cries over a magazine with Elsa on the cover.

    American Heartbreak Story?