In its nine-season run, American Horror Story has proven time after time that it's not afraid to make viewers squirm. From a house that kills people to a barbaric mental hospital to the Antichrist, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk are always looking for new ways to shock fans.
While the showrunners' bold choices have all been intentional to some degree, some episodes went too far, even by the standards of diehard fans. One scene that sparked considerable controversy for AHS was Hotel's Addiction Demon, which many found too gruesome, even by the show's standards. Below we'll examine some of the most controversial episodes of American Horror Story, and you can decide for yourself if the show went too far.
Apocalypse: 'Return to Murder House'
While fans were excited for the return of Jessica Lange in "Return to Murder House," some were upset by its portrayal of Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan. AHS portrays LaVey as having faked his own death to meet Michael Langdon and proclaim him as the Antichrist. LaVey also initiates a human sacrifice where a woman's beating heart is cut out of her for Michael to feast on.
The Church of Satan issued a swift rebuttal after the episode aired, explaining that the real Anton LaVey didn't believe in a Christ or an Antichrist, and that human sacrifice had no place in their beliefs. When Kathy Bates tweeted about reading the Bible after the episode aired, the Church of Satan replied to her directly, pointing out the intense violence in the Bible, and that the Satanic Bible focuses on self-empowerment.
The Church and its followers generally felt like they were exploited and used for the sake of entertainment, without any real consideration from AHS writers.157360Did the show go too far?
Hotel: 'Checking In'
Echoing back to Rubber Man in Season 1, the Addiction Demon in Season 5's premiere proved to be one of AHS's most despised creations. The Addiction Demon appears in the episode for the seemingly sole purpose of violently assaulting a hotel guest who was taking drugs with Sally.
Ryan Murphy admitted it was the most violent scene he'd ever shot, but defended the scene by saying he did it to show what people with addiction go through psychologically. While Murphy's motives for the scene may have been sincere, the Addiction Demon scene is largely believed to exist solely for shock value. Fans are certainly still talking about it.184442Did the show go too far?
Asylum: 'I Am Anne Frank'
The two-part episode of Asylum titled "I Am Anne Frank" sparked outrage for its portrayal of Anne Frank and the Holocaust. In part one, viewers are presented with a woman who claims she's Anne Frank and that she survived the Holocaust. While Sister Jude is initially skeptical of the woman, her story becomes more plausible when she identifies Dr. Arden as a former SS surgeon who performed inhumane experiments on prisoners in the concentration camp. Just as we begin to accept the idea of Anne Frank still being alive, we find out she's actually a woman named Charlotte Cohen Brown who is suffering from psychosis.
Critics and fans alike felt that the handling of Frank's story was in poor taste and the gruesome Holocaust flashbacks were unnecessary. AHS has always incorporated historic characters and events, but perhaps the story of Anne Frank should have been left alone.121530Did the show go too far?
Coven: 'The Replacements'
Coven's third episode has been called out for its portrayal of sexual assault and bestiality. First, we see Queenie hook up with the Minotaur who has been sent to kill Delphine. While the act is consensual, fans found it too graphic, even by AHS standards.
Later in the episode, Kyle is returned to his mother only for viewers to discover that she's been molesting him his entire life. Kyle becomes overcome with rage and kills his mom with an old sports trophy. While Kyle's revenge could be read as a victim taking control, viewers mostly felt that the episode's gratuitous use of bestiality and sexual assault were unwarranted in an already controversial season.87392Did the show go too far?