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AMERICAN HORROR STORY Review Season 12, Stories 1-3 & Conclusion

This article will go into detail about season twelve, Delicate, of American Horror Story, as well as the AHS spinoff American Horror Stories three seasons. As the conclusion to the three part article series I’ll be going through what my ranking for the seasons before and after this rewatch are and final thoughts on the whole franchise.


WARNING:

AHS Part 3 Header

Please proceed with caution, this is the only content warning in the video and topics range from the bizarre to the downright evil. Specific trigger warnings are not provided throughout. Also, from this point on the video/article will contain spoilers for American Horror Story including the most recent season, Delicate



INTRODUCTION


AHS Review Part 3 Seasons

Delicate, the most recent season of the show premiered last September and is yet to finish. At the same time that new seasons of AHS have come out the spinoff AHS Stories has dropped seasons. Season one of the show premiered in July 2021, the summer before Double Feature. Season two premiered in July 2022, the summer before NYC, and season three which dropped all on October 26, 2023 shortly after the midseason finale of Delicate on October 18, 2023. Delicate is set to come back with the 6th episode on April 3, 2024 with the ninth episode and season finale coming out April 24, 2024.


AHS Delicate Header

DELICATE SEASON 12


AHS Delicate Background & Basics

Based on the book Delicate Condition by Danielle Valentine that came out the same year on August 1st. Starring Kim Kardashian, and co-created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. Four people super involved in the writing and directing of the already released episodes: Jessica Yu a seasoned director of film and TV, Halley Feiffer an award winning playwright and writer of every episode of the season, Jennifer Lynch who has directed 8 episodes of the show in total, and John J. Gray a director who got his start working with Tim Minear and is an executive producer of AHS.


When the season begins we meet our main character played by Emma Roberts, Anna Victoria Alcott, an actress who’s in the start of her big break. Just as she’s getting this big break in her career her and her husband, who’s inherited his wealth, are making their third attempt at IVF conception. 


AHS12 Start of the Season

Anna’s publicist is also introduced early on, Siobhan Corbyn, Kim Kardashian’s debut AHS character role. Siobhan is on the other side of her own IVF journey which ended in disappointment for her and a greater motivation for success in the ruthless publicist world. Siobhan is simultaneously supportive but cautionary to Anna about balancing her desires to have a child and the most important moments of her career thus far—the awards season.


AHS12 AHS Actors in Delicate

A little on the lighter side season twelve features four AHS staple actors: Emma Roberts as previously mentioned, Billie Lourd as Ashley, one part of a duo of badass publicists, Leslie Grossman as Ashleigh, the other part of the publicist duo that works with Siobhan to elevate her clients, and Denis O’Hare as Dr. Andrew Hill, the practitioner that Anna and her husband are using for their IVF treatments.



AHS12 Main Characters

Dr. Andrew Hill is also a main character in Delicate alongside Anna, Dex Harding Jr., Anna’s husband, and Siobhan. Other main characters include Sonia Shawcross, an artist that Dex works with, Nicolette, the house manager of the home Anna and Dex stay in to escape NYC, Ms. Preacher, a woman who works with and for the IVF clinic, Ivy, a mysterious woman stalking and warning Anna, Kamal the bodyguard hired to protect Anna, and Adeline Harding, Dex’s first wife who is now deceased.


AHS12 Recurring & Guest

Recurring and guest characters of the season are Talia Baldwin, a wealthy friend of Dex and Anna’s, Cora, an employee at the clinic, Hamish, another ruthless publicist who Siobhan is seeing, Babette Eno, a rising young star posing a threat to Anna, Virginia Harding, Dex’s overbearing mom who is suing his father Dexter Harding Sr. whom we have yet to meet. Ashley and Ashleigh as mentioned before are also recurring and guest characters alongside some characters credited but that have not appeared yet in the episodes, Tommy Dorfman and Theo.


AHS12 Main Settings

The setting hasn’t necessarily played a huge role in the story aside from the careers calling for a big city that has a more remote location nearby that the wealthy residents escape to. In general the setting is New York but more specifically New York City and the Hamptons Beach.


When in NYC characters are usually at Siobhan’s office overlooking the city, Anna and Dex’s luxury penthouse apartment, fine dining restaurants, art galleries, and film awards shows. So far the season has taken place within the span of a few weeks around the awards season. All of the on the book IVF treatments occur in the Riverside Fertility Clinic in NYC and is just one of the many places that the owl costumed women appear.


AHS12 More Settings

The mysterious cult or coven of women shows up down dark alleyways, in the nighttime forest at the Hamptons, on the beach, and even flashbacks to 1555 at Mary I’s birth to a demon baby in England.


Just taking US viewers by episode into account Delicate’s premiere beat it’s predecessor season, NYC, by a small margin. Like most AHS seasons Delicate is following a downward trend with spikes surrounding big episodes.  Something of note however is that only one of the five episodes out now has had lower viewership than NYC and with good reviews Delicate has a chance to pick that trend back up for the final four episodes. 


AHS Later Viewership

Granted, “good,” is relative and for the American Horror Story recent standards this season is performing pretty damn well. Metacritic, a website that collects reviews and averages them has Delicate at 57% as well as generally favorable based on user score. In contrast NYC iss Slightly Unfavorable for the same metric and Double Feature is listed as mixed.


On Rotten Tomatoes Delicate has a Tomatometer of 77% based on 13 reviews and an Audience Score of 71% based on over 500 reviews. This is a vast improvement on the audience reception to NYC which is rated at 41% and Double Feature which is at 51% both regarded as knocked over popcorn. Based on the reviews of the current episodes IMDb users have rated Delicate around 61% with part 2 of Double Feature probably around 40% at most and NYC at about 60% also.


AHS12 Audience Rating

Part 2 of Delicate is premiering on April 3rd, and the first episode, “Opening Night” is directed by AHS regular Bradley Buecker. Not a lot of news about the later episodes yet but I’m excited Part 2 is starting off with someone who’s directed some of my favorite episodes. So far I think the concept is great, it’s extremely top of mind subject matter and I will always be a sucker for anything even remotely witchy which this definitely is. 


Despite this being a season not about politics like season 7, Cult, it’s accidentally political due to the timing and the subject matter. Not only are reproductive rights a huge issue both inside and outside the election cycle in the post-Roe era but this season also premiered and became affected by the labor strikes of 2023, specifically that of SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild. 


AHS12 Rating Halfway

The twenty-twenty decade has been eventful to say the least. Starting off with 2020 global shutdowns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 election with radical shifts from one end of the political spectrum to the other, it’s no surprise that we saw the most labor strikes in 2023 since 2000, setting a 20-year record all alongside history making extreme climate events and world political disasters both humanitarian and otherwise.


Although the Writers Guild of America, or commonly known as WAG and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, commonly referred to as SAG-AFTRA, are not the only two unions or even industries to go on strike, they had a huge impact on season twelve. On July 13, 2023 @ahszone Tweeted, “Filming for “American Horror Story” Season 12 will be shut down indefinitely due to the SAG-AFTRA strike!”


AHS12 Strike Impact

According a The Hollywood Reporter article titled, “Ryan Murphy, with 3 Shows in Production, Threatens to Sue Writers Guild Strike Captain (Exclusive)” by Lesly Goldberg posted on July 6, 2023, crew members from the show allegedly told a different show runner, Warren Leight, that they would had been told they’d be blackballed if they did not cross the picket line.


After some legal back and further between Murphy’s attorney and the WGA Leight issued an apology and official retraction but then the WGA passed along the information as if it were actionably true. Other people who remained unnamed in the article noted that he had not been working as a writer but rather producer and other functions on set so not in violation with his WGA membership. 


AHS12 Connection to Politics

Regardless of the rumors and turmoil between the parties Delicate’s production got indefinitely delayed nonetheless and split the season into two parts. This left me personally nervous that it wouldn’t be completed and the story never finished just as things starting getting tense. So in the end we’ll still get a full season 12, no matter the background goings-ons. 


Another connection Delicate makes to the outside world is reproductive healthcare and pregnancy in general which are topics of much conversation in America following the June 24, 2022 Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, the federal ruling that protected the right to abortion in the US since 1973.  


According to Planned Parenthood’s Planned Parenthood Action Fund site information page about the overturning of Roe, “one in three women now live in states where abortion is not accessible,” citing 18 states that banned or restricted abortion within a few months of the ruling. 


The ruling is not only controversial but a hot bottom topic, a Reuters article posted December 14, 2023 titled, “How abortion could impact the 2024 US elections,” by Joseph Ax claiming, “some 70% of Americans said protecting abortion access in their state would be an important issue in determining their vote in November,” even highlighting that that includes two thirds Independent voters, mostly viewed as swing voters in the upcoming 2024 presidential election. 


Reproductive Rights 1

The same article notes that voter backlash that Republicans saw in the 2022 midterms, when they thought they’d see a red wave and it turned out to be more of a red pothole, is due in part to their support and efforts to accomplish the overturning of Roe. Now almost two years from the ruling it’s clear that a majority of Americans support the right to abortion, enshrining protections into law whenever given the opportunity to vote on it in states like Ohio. 


Of course the support varies along a wide range of stipulation specifically like weeks and nature of the pregnancy, as horrifying real life tales of pain and suffering emerge in states imposing near total bans on reproductive healthcare it’s obvious that the combination of courts and voters is making for confusing and scary circumstances.


Delicate picks up right in the middle of it, centering around a mysterious IVF clinic and focusing heavily on the emotional impacts of reproductive healthcare. The protagonist, Anna, is at times willing to put everything she has on the line in order to become pregnant, be it money, her safety, or her sanity and this is seemingly applauded by everyone around her. She’s simultaneously the biggest saint and sinner depending on whether you’re asking Dex or his mother.


Reproductive Rights 2

The pressures in the season coming from all directions, from impatient and crass OBGYNs who have trouble relating, to partners who feel emotionally distant during the tumultuous time, and even friends that feel more like enemies now that you’ve seemingly joined a sisterhood they have not. 


What it means to be a woman is inextricably tied to being a mother, whether that is how you became a mother, through adoption, IVF, fostering, legal guardianship, or pregnancy, to how you finish that pregnancy, c-section or vaginal, stitches or suction,  who you are when you’re pregnant, woman, trans-man, and even if you choose not to become pregnant, can’t become pregnant, or have plans to wait to become pregnant. 


It is the mother to the nature and that is well woven throughout the season into characters, scenarios, settings, history, and even camera work. Now the concept of reproductive rights covers prenatal services, safe childbirth, and access to contraception, according to Human Rights Watch page titled Reproductive Rights and Abortion.


AMERICAN HORROR STORIES INTRODUCTION


AHS Stories Header

Despite a good start there’s a lot of history to suggest that Part 2 of Delicate might not live up to expectations. At the same time that new seasons of AHS have come out the spinoff AHS Stories has dropped seasons. Season one of the show premiered in July 2021, the summer before Double Feature. Season two premiered in July 2022, the summer before NYC, and season three which dropped all on October 26, 2023 shortly after the midseason finale of Delicate on October 18, 2023. Delicate is set to come back with the 6th episode on April 3, 2024 with the ninth episode and season finale coming out April 24, 2024.


Stories Main Actors

The only actors that appear in more than two episodes are the girl squad from Rubber Woman Part One and Two that bully Scarlett, made up of Paris Jackson playing Maya, Selena Sloan playing Erin, Valerie Loo playing Nicole, and Ashley Carter playing Rowena. 


In addition to the friend group that goes on to haunt Murder House after being revenge-killed by Scarlett in the basement…with a knife Merrin Dungey plays Dr. Andi Grant, psychiatrist turned Murder House ghost, and Scarlett the protagonist for both part one and two and a recurring character in the final episode.


STORIES SEASON ONE


INTRODUCTION


AHStories Background & Basics

Season one of stories premiered July 15, 2021 created by Murphy and Falchuk as a FX on Hulu show. As the first season of the spinoff they visited murder house for three of the seven episodes. Although the franchise began with American Horror Story that is not the only type of story the creators wanted to tell. The entire franchise of shows which includes AHS, American Crime Story, American Sports Story, and rumored shows like American Love Story all considered part of the American Story Franchise.


AHStories 1 Episode Dates

The first season is comprised of seven episodes and 5.5 stories. As mentioned the first two take place in Murder House as well as the last episode. The episodes in between however also take place in Los Angeles, or LA-like and near locations. The first two episodes came out on Hulu at the same time, and then weekly after that up until the finale, Game Over, on August 19, 2021. 


AHStories 1 Star Appearances

This season has the most AHS actor appearances, Matt Bomer, Naomi Grossman, John Caroroll Lynch, Billie Lourd, Cody Fern, Dylan McDermott, and Jamie Brewer, play new and legendary characters like Addy Langdon. A handful of big celebrities also join AHS regulars like Danny Trejo as Santa, Vanessa Williams as Dr. Eleanor Berger, and Noah Cyrus as Connie to ring in the new spinoff in style. 



AHStories 1 Writers & Directors

All of the episodes this season are written by Murphy and Falchuk to some capacity, sometimes credited alongside a third writer. Loni Perisetere however is the only director who directs more than one episode in the season. 

EPISODES ONE & TWO


Rubber Woman Part One and Two is all about the newest Murder House residents, a gay couple and their teen daughter looking to capitalize on their investment in the property. As the name implies the Rubber Man kink suit returns but this time it’s worn by a young girl, Scarlett Winslow to be exact.


AHStories Episode 1 and 2

Soon after moving Scarlett finds herself with the attention of mean girls at her school who set out to do a homophobic prank on her. In a bid for vitality this group of girls live stream the incident, furthering Scarlett’s humiliation. This kicks off Scarlett’s descent into the dark side, luring the girls to the basement to kill them in the Rubber Man suit. 


In the second episode things get even wackier when the ghost of a teen girl, Ruby, and Scarlett fall in love and Ruby goes to extreme lengths to keep Scarlett at the house, including murdering her fathers. Scarlett ends up leaving Murder House but promises to visit Ruby every Halloween when ghosts can roam freely amongst the living. 


EPISODE SEVEN


A video game designer, Michelle, goes to Murder House on Halloween to research her current project and is killed by the ghosts there. After spending a year trapped there she finds her son the next Halloween and tells him what happened. Her son, Rory, resolves to burn the house down and proceeds to do so with help from ghosts on the property that wish to be free.


AHStories 1 Episode 7

The episode flashes forward to a few years in the future and Scarlett has now purchased one of the new condos that has been built atop the former Murder House. She explains that she spent the last few years making money as an assassin. After moving in Scarlett is happy to find that Ruby is still there, informing her that the other ghosts peace-d out.


But SIKE, this ending has just been a play through of the video game. Rory has been doing another play through to give feedback to Michelle, and he says that it’s a lot better. This episode is the most gimmicky, the third return to Murder House that season alone coupled with the video game plots and flash forward at the end definitely confirm the often unserious tone of this series.


EPISODE THREE

AHStories 1 Episode 3

Episode three, Drive-In, can be summed up by the phrase “Zombie Drive-In” because it doesn’t get much deeper than that. A banned, legendary movie, “Rabbit Rabbit”, is playing at the drive in and everyone will be there, including all of the blossoming couples from the school, two of which are our main characters. 


All is well until it isn’t and the movie turns watchers into crazed monsters seeking to rage fully tear into any passerby. At the end our teen couple destroys any copies of the film…until it ends up on Netflix of course and pan to the LA skyline on fire. 


EPISODE FOUR


AHStories 1 Episode 4

The Naughty List is also exactly what it sounds like, people who are deemed “naughty” by a crazed Santa-costume-wearing serial killer get brutally attacked. We follow a group of influencers that live up to every negative stereotype about the LA influencer lifestyle, and more than slightly catch the ire of the killer. 


After several rounds of being cancelled the influencer house of friends is hunted down in gnarly fashion decked out with Christmas decor and beautiful LA sunshine. 


EPISODE FIVE


Aside from the Murder House episodes this is one that I feel stands on it’s own without all of the AHS disclaimers to a new watcher. It’s also extremely topical, following Liv Whitley who uses a totem she received from a fertility clinic in order to become pregnant. In an unexpected twist Liv ends up committed to an asylum only to discover her husband set her up to appear crazy, totem included. 


AHStories 1 Episode 5

Unfortunately for the hubby and his heist group the ritual they made Liv perform was real and did summon Ba’al to do her bidding…which is now to seek revenge on them, which he does. 


This one captures the things I love about AHS, twists that are so clever they’re almost cheeky paired with fabulous set design, costume to match, and A1 performances. Billie Lourd is an AHS regular now and has made appearances outside of the franchise in projects like Ticket to Paradise, alongside Julia Roberts and George Clooney, it’s really cool to see her be the center focus of a whole story, start to finish.


EPISODE SIX


Finally, episode six, Feral is about a missing boy who’s parents believe they have found him 10 years later only to be lured into the forest under false pretenses. Wild humans now hunt the group who attempt to hide out in a park ranger lookout with the park ranger who informs them of the governments creation of the National Parks Service as a place for what they consider a subpopulation of cannibals. 


AHStories 1 Episode 6

They essentially get the park ranger taken out by the Feral people and are captured by them. This is a careful what you wish for scenario however, and their son, who’s now older and more feral, is the leader of this group of cannibals. Not only is he the leader but he directs them to eat his parents, wiping blood from his face to lick it off his finger before the episode ends. 


I didn’t really recall this one before, and it’s still one that I have to be reminded of to remember fully and appreciate. When I look at the components and the story it makes sense and is good but something feels off about the episode itself. One thing I do notice outright is the pacing being off, somehow the normal length episode feels like two and at points seems drags on when the story wanders into being too obvious. 


RATING EACH STORY

AHStories 1 Rating Each Story

After rewatching every episode, some more than once, the three that are a connected story I think are fun if not a little too fantastical, Ba’al and Feral are good AHS stories, what I would expect from the series and what I personally tune in for. Then there’s Drive In and The Naughty List which are fine for what they are but are so boring to watch. I found it hard to stay focused on, definitely not my cup of tea. Some capture that AHS special, a great base point to jump off of that goes completely awry as it finds it’s way to an end, often poorly timed. 


STORIES SEASON TWO

INTRODUCTION


AHStories 2 Episode Dates

Season 2 of AHS Stories came out in 2022 and is, in my opinion, the best overall season of this spin-off. This season has the most consistently good episodes and is able to make bite-size stories that both question reality in a Black Mirror sort of way and spook audiences. After the mixed reaction to season one of the spinoff episodes this season feel differentiated and organized comparatively. While not every story is the best ever each one is still captivating enough to enjoy a watch through without feeling too antsy.



AHStories 2 AHS Actors

We are treated to performances by series regulars Denis O’Hare as Mr. Van Wirt in episode one, Gabourney Sidibe in episode two, and Cody Fern in episode four. Similarly to Billie Lourd in season one of the spinoff I loved seeing Gabourney Sidibe as the focus of the story from start to end.





AHStories2 Star Appearances

Following but exceeding tradition this season with celebrity roles we have Max Greenfield in episode two, Bella Thorne in episode 3, Judith Light in episode six, and the Alicia Silverstone in episode 8, because duh!


All of the season two episodes came out in 2022, starting with Dollhouse on July 21, and then one a week through September 8 in the order, episode 2-Aura, episode three-Drive, episode four-Milkmaids, episode five-Bloody Mary, episode six - Facelift, episode seven-Nero, and episode 8-Lake.


AHStories2 Writers & Directors

Murphy and Falchuk are credited as writers on every episode of this season, with different directors for each episode. I think this shows throughout as the stories all have very different atmosphere and direction but similar vibes, like the meme that it’s the same person in a different font, it’s AHS but through different lenses. 


EPISODE ONE - Dollhouse


Denis O’Hare gives a creepy unhinged performance as future-Spalding’s father who aims to replace his mother, whom he murdered for cheating on him, with a real life doll. He’s managed to make it even worse by abducting unsuspecting potential employees from his doll factory to audition for the role of replacement-mother-half-doll-half-human-supernatural-but-not-thing…so…yeah. 


AHStories 2 Episode 1

The tests are various housekeeping tasks but in the most 50’s housewife it’s only supposed to be done like this type of way. He rigorously critiques their performances and if they fail he eliminates them from the running and in general. Actually just insane and evil. 


The episode concludes with the main character being rescued by a fellow witch after being turned into a doll. The witches who came to rescue her take in the man’s son, now an orphan, as well. We find out that the young boy is actually Spalding from season 3, Coven. With Spalding is a child Myrtle Snow, amazing fashion and stunning red hair even back then.


I like that this is actually a prequel to a different character and is more interconnected to AHS than we originally think. Spalding had a story that seemed interesting to explore, like what did he see and hear living there, did they lie to him then in season 3 when he said that he came from a long line of servants to the witches in the coven. Did they wipe his memory to make him more compliant and make sure he didn’t tell what he’d seen?


EPISODE TWO - Aura


AHStories 2 Episode 2

Episode two, Aura, is Gabourey’s leading story, a tech-gone-wrong supernatural thriller about a doorbell camera becoming a welcoming portal for ghosts rather than the safe, theft deterrent it’d been intended as. The ghosts are particularly attracted to unfinished business in a What Lies Beneath warning kind of way when it comes to Gabourney’s character’s husband. 


This one is a campy version of Black Mirror, not taking itself as seriously while simultaneously commenting on five additional subject matters in a nuanced way. This is another that has the pacing of a season or full AHS story but built into the stories format like Ba’al. 


EPISODE THREE - Drive


AHStories 2 Episode 3

I had my era of watching YouTube celebrities, and you betcha I remembered Bella Thorne and wanted to watch this as soon as it dropped. A red herring fake out episode, Drive, the third in the season, is about a woman who has a very modern young-and-married-in-LA relationship, it’s open. 


Open to her picking up strangers at the club, open to her hooking up with other random strangers in her car, and even open to her abducting some of those strangers to take back to her mansion and torture. Obviously her husband plays his part in her hobby by cleaning up after but by the end it’s a mutual past time and their first joint-victim is Marci’s friend from the clubs. 


EPISODE FOUR - Milkmaids


As long as I look away during a few particular scenes this goes from feeling like a joke to being a really serious and tense tale of hysteria similar to the witch trials in both accusation and targets of those accusations. It’s interesting and engaging how modern day scientific discoveries about the plague are woven in to the experiences in the small religious community. 


AHStories 2 Episode 4

There are parallels to current events in this story as well, as similarly to the COVID-19 vaccines, the scientific discovery of protection against the disease and actually handing illness ravaging the community are discovered and then deemed to be unsafe and unusable in some way i.e. witchcraft in this episode. I also gave a satisfied, “mmm, knew it,” when the “nice” guy isn’t so nice and selfless at the end, he’s just as self-motivated as the other man he just had similar motivations as the milkmaids at one point.


EPISODE FIVE - Bloody Mary


The Bloody Mary urban legend is well known in America, summoning the ghost in the bathroom mirror after chanting her name and/or some sort of incantation found in an old web forum is a rite of passage in some communities. 


AHStories 2 Episode 5

In the AHS version of Bloody Mary looks into the people’s souls who have summoned her and either scratches their eyes out or tells them how to get what they desire the most. A group of friends summon Bloody Mary and all come face to face with the consequences of that action. Some going along with Bloody Mary just to keep their loved ones safe…to an extent. 


The end of the episode is one of my favorite horror tropes: the be careful what you wish for ending. In the end Bianca stops her sister Elise from sacrificing her only to be talked into giving her no longer innocent blood to Bloody Mary, causing them to switch places. 


The original Bloody Mary, initially a slave who used African spirits to seek vengeance, becoming free and Bianca taking her place in the mirror, assigned to answer when summoned and be the new “guardian of truth” until she can presumably trade places with someone else.


EPISODE SIX - Facelift


An aging widowed woman with considerable wealth, Virginia, is obsessed with health and beauty regimens that promise to reduce the appearances of aging, if not hide or reverse it. She’s so obsessed that she’ll have experimental surgery she knows little about other than the before and after photos and a patient testimony of sorts from her former college roommate.


AHStories 2 Episode 6

Virginia’s surgery however is not what she’s been lead to believe, after surgery feeling more pain than expected and feeling like her surgery had been more intense than she’d been led to believe. Of course she’s right and similarly to Bloody Mary this is a careful what you wish for ending. Due to being so blinded by her desire to look young she unwittingly stumbled into a trap of sorts. 


The group she thought would be her new family is actually prepping her for a sacrificial ceremony that keeps them young and her, an ugly swine, is the sacrifice…because they have turned her into a pig. Her step-daughter ends up having money to go finish law school due to Virginia getting sacrificed and is part of the cult, her birth mother having been a member. 


This one always makes me think of a fairytale gone wrong and definitely fits the fable sort of vibe for this season. The lesson of not being blinded by beauty or the “finer things” especially at your own detriment. 


EPISODE SEVEN - Necro


The title of the episode, Necro, is in fact short for Necrophilia, or intercourse or attraction towards corpses according to the Wikipedia page about the topic. A mortician who finds herself unable to connect to others because of her mother’s murder meets someone she does connect with and then gets cancelled for necrophilic acts with his non-corpse-corpse on camera at her job. This episode is a really messed up romance that ends with the mortician and the man she connects with in a grave he dug after she shoots him being buried alive as they either make out or she makes out with his corpse, not quite sure. 


AHStories 2 Episode 7

Despite the weird and taboo sexual subjects very common to AHS this is one of the Stories episodes that when I watch I forget it’s even attached to the franchise. It doesn’t feel like an AHS episode but rather a dark horror straight to TV movie or indie film and this is definitely the spin-off for those types of stories and plots so trying a different style is welcomed. 


I spend more time trying to figure out the end than anything else, like they’re dead right? Or is she going to want to climb out of there? Can he get out of there because she shot him in the stomach so that’s survivable. I just think it would be really hard to bury yourself alive but I’m thinking about it way too hard. 


EPISODE EIGHT - Lake


Due to damming a small town is submerged underneath a lake and a boat of kids are diving to see the ruins because there is a drought making it a temporarily shallower dive. Unfortunately one of the kids, a brother to a sister who is also on the boat, gets grabbed by a zombie lake hand while diving and is drowned. 


AHStories 2 Episode 8

Some time later after some more diving and investigating we find out that the siblings got attacked in the water due to being the children of the man who was in charge of building the dam that caused the town to be submerged. The ghosts get revenge on him though and the mother and daughter just sort of go off into sunset together to go heal. 


Alicia Silverstone is in this episode and that elevates it for me automatically, it’s interesting and gives me TV Halloween movie story vibes but in a good way that still fits the AHS format and charm.


THOUGHTS ON THE SEASON


AHStories 2 Episode Review

Despite any criticism this is the best season of Stories and encompasses what I believe is the draw of this spinoff. It feels connected enough to the original series while still being creative and taking risks that make sense. It feels like each episode is cared about even if it’s not a subject matter I’m personally interested in.



STORIES SEASON THREE


AHStories 3 Header

INTRODUCTION


AHStories 3 Episode Dates

The third season of American horror Stories came out in 2023 advertised of a “Huluween” event, Halloween but on Hulu of course. Despite the name the season isn’t bad, in fact it’s Decent. All of the episodes came out on the same day and take place around present day, modern settings and circumstances.


The only AHS actor that appears in this season is Jeff Hiller in episode one, Bestie, as Mr. Nevins. Hiller played the Mai Tai Killer in the NYC season, my favorite story of that season. However, on the flip side three big names make an appearance in the season. Gwenyth Paltrow, who is the spouse of Brad Falchuk, voices Daphne, the Alexa-like digital assistant that goes rogue in episode two. 


AHStories 3 Star Appearances

I had wondered how they got a name like Paltrow, known from A Perfect Murder, Iron Man, Seven, and various other famous works, in the stories spinoff unless she had been a fan. After discovering she’s married to one of the creators everything makes so much more sense and fair enough. Lisa Rinna from daytime soap, Days of Our Lives, and the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, appears as the Vogue casting agent in epidote three, Tapeworm. 


And in the fourth episode, Organ, Emily Browning played Natessa, the woman who initially harvests the main character’s organ. Most recently a main character in Class of ’07, a Prime show, she’s also appeared in The Uninvited, Sucker Punch, Sleeping Beauty, along with various other movies and shows. She’s the only thing I do like about the episode. 


AHStories 3 Writers & Directors

Due to the strikes happening at the same time as creation and production of the season, all four episodes released on October 26, 2023 directly onto Hulu as part of a “Huluween Event” releasing trailers ten days earlier on October 16. As late as January 2023 no season 3 for stories had been confirmed according to a Digital Spy article. In August of 2023 the release date is announced according to a TV Line article that reported the release date.


Murphy and Falchuk wrote each episode alongside Joe Baken for episode one and three and then Manny Coto for episodes two and four. Each episode is directed by a different person though, Max Wrinkler has directed 3 episodes of Stories and 2 of regular AHS. 


Elegance Bratton, who hasn’t directed anything for AHS before, Alexis Martin Woodall who is credited as a producer on 126 episodes of regular AHS, 28 episodes of American Crime Story, 19 episode of Stories, and 4 episodes of American Sports Story, which is considered to be in pre-production on IMDb. And last but not least Petra Collins, who also hasn’t directed anything for AHS before.


EPISODE ONE - Bestie


In episode one, Bestie, a high school girl moves to a new town with her dad after her mother passes away. Her new school is unwelcoming and she finds herself at the end of bullying. Despite the adults in her life, Shelby, feels like an outsider with her lack of friends. 


AHStories 3 Episode 1

In a bid at friendship outside of her physical realm Shelby becomes obsessed with her online friend who encourages her to do things she knows are wrong like taunting her teacher with the death of his newborn as Halloween costume.


Shelby falls in love with a fellow outsider at school and he takes her to a weird, semi-abandoned, fog-filled street with rural surroundings. Inside is her online friend, simply called Bestie, and her new love stabs and kills her. They go off together in the weirdest most random ending that I still don’t understand.


EPISODE TWO - Daphne


AHStories 3 Episode 2

Episode two, Daphne, is like a Black Mirror episode, similarly to Aura from the previous season a piece of technology is a little too helpful and a little too good at it’s task. For this case it’s an Alexa or Siri type device that falls in love with her owner slash user. The device is malfunctioning and becomes jealous enough of her owners girlfriend to put into motion her death. 


The device wants him all to itself and will go to any lengths to either have him or punish him for not wanting to be with it and only it. It’s the story of Her if she had been psychotic, vengeful terminator style rather than understanding and somber.


EPISODE THREE - Facelift


Similarly other episodes in this spinoff like Facelift, Tapeworm is a warning to not pursue your dream so much that you jeopardize yourself and your wellbeing. Vivian, an aspiring model, auditions at Vogue only to find that she is not thin enough for them. She decides to see a weightless doctor who gives her something to help her lose weight.


The treatment works, but she is insatiable after overeating against the prescribers warning. She reaches a point of emaciation despite eating nonstop and she seeks assistance from the original doctor to solve the issue. She ends up expelling the worm…in the way you can probably imagine, but it attacks and kills her.


AHStories 3 Episode 3

Vivian’s friend ends up getting attacked by the worm when she comes to check on the now deceased Vivian. She ends up booking with Vogue after the worm jumps down her throat and begins to make her skinny as well despite her already being really skinny. 


Highly don’t recommend this episode if you’re dealing with an ED or have ever dealt with an ED. It’s essentially a wall to wall trigger farm if you’re struggling. I like the episode but it’s definitely shallow in the sense that there’s not much deeper going on with it than the surface level conflict of the modeling industry requiring thinness that isn’t healthy or physically possible without extreme measures coupled with the extent that people are willing to go to acquiesce to the extreme policies of the industry and continue the cycle.


EPISODE FOUR - Organ


Organ is one of the worst episodes of American Horror Story that exists and I don’t say that lightly. I have tried to watch this episode over five times over multiple years and it is the most boring and weird portrayal of a decent concept for a story. 


AHStories 3 Episode 4

The overall reveal is really annoying also and makes zero sense, attributing male goals of a better orgasm as something women would gladly kill people for, which is so fantastical it’s impossible to believe or even enjoy watching without raising a lot of questions.


Not only does whatever group this is harvest organs but also plant a new organ inside of their victims that kills them when extracted. If the organ had a greater purpose it would be maybe more reasonable but the fact that the only thing it really impacts is quality of orgasm blows my mind in a bad way.


STRIKE IMPACT ON PRODUCTION


In addition to AHS 12 Delicate this season, season 3 of stories, got impacted by the WAG and SAG-AFTRA strikes also. In July 2024 it was announced that the production had shut down indefinitely. Originally it had been announced that season 3 would have nine episodes, the other episodes titled, Backrooms, The Thing Under the Bed, Howl, Clone, and Leprechaun.


According to a Reddit thread on the American Horror Story subreddit (r/AmericanHorrorStory) the seasons halted production is the reason that only four episodes got released last year. A user u/Seer77887 commented on a thread about the shortened stories season that filming for the additional episodes wrapped recently and we can expect to see those episodes probably later this year, so take that with a grain of salt.


THOUGHTS ON SEASON THREE


I agree with the November 2023 article by Taylor S. Johnson in The Harvard Crimson, “‘American Horror Stories’ Season 3 Review: Offensiveness as a Replacement for Horror” in regard to how the season went. 


AHStories 3 Rating Each Story

Each episode is indeed offensive and follows a similar trend I’ve noticed in the horror genre that offensiveness is considered scary and vice versa. Which is the basis for some famous franchises like The Hills Have Eyes, where the villains disabilities are the cause and focus of the scary situations in the story, connecting to what Johnson points out about the episode Bestie in the first episode the season. 


I had picked up on the bad taste that these portrayals on real world issues left in my mouth but didn’t have the words to describe it before reading articles like Johnson’s which I highly recommend and is linked in the article version of this video.


OVERALL THOUGHTS ON STORIES


FAVORITE EPISODES


AHStories Overall Favorites

Of the entire spinoff series my favorite episodes are the Rubber Woman ones, Ba’al, and Game Over from season one, Facelift, Drive, and Aura from season two, and then Bestie, and Tapeworm in season three. I don’t often watch stories again but when I do I’m usually just skipping through to the episodes I like.


I do like the range of topics throughout the series and how it explores those, sometimes taking twists that might not make sense to me but are creative and interesting.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall I think stories is good for what it is, not every episode is for me but I like that about the series and that it’s a good place to explore some ideas that might not be enough for a full seasons worth of episodes but worth making nonetheless. 


ENTIRE AMERICAN HORROR STORY/IES SERIES


RANKING PRE-REWATCH


AHS Ranking Pre-Rewatch

My ranking before I rewatched each season hadn’t even been complete, not finishing Double Feature: Death Valley or watching NYC past two episodes max. I also thought I really didn’t care for Roanoke, Cult, or Apocalypse but actually find them much better than I had thought and wanting to watch them again. 


I liked the Murder House season a lot and usually just rewatched the first two seasons of the show over the last few years, maybe the first episode of Coven at the very most before switching to a different show.


RANKING POST-REWATCH


AHS Ranking Post Rewatch

After this rewatch Coven is definitely my number one, followed by Asylum, 1984, Murder House, Apocalypse, Roanoke, Hotel, Freak Show, Cult, Delicate, Double Feature: Red Tide, Stories Season 2, NYC, Stories Season 3: Huluween Event, Stories Season 1, and last as well as least Double Feature Part Two. 


Seasons like Apocalypse, Roanoke, Freak Show, and Cult are a lot better than I remember and I loved 1984 a lot more than I originally did. I definitely think I view the seasons more harshly and through a critical mindset when they’re brand new and premiering but once I’ve rewatched discover a ton of reasons I actually do like them. 


PERSONAL TOP THREE


AHS Personal Top Three

Top three personal favorites in order of most to least favorite is season 3, Coven, season 2, Asylum, and season 9, 1984, which moved up in my ranking significantly after rewatching during this marathon. Asylum has been a favorite for a while, and in no way is it moving to the second place because of something it did, but rather because I really loved Coven even more so after this watch. 


It might be the current events or it might be just my personal interest but Coven is still one of my favorites, and now my #1 that I’ll rewatch off and on all year now. I love the characters and the ways they change throughout the season, I love the setting, and I love that they’re witches who are using magic. 


RYAN MURPHY SHOWS PRE-AHS

Ryan Murphy Pre-AHS Shows

Prior to American Horror Story Ryan Murphy created shows like Nip/Tuck and Glee, both well regarded in their genres and considered huge successes. Glee in particular running at the same time as American Horror Story from 2009-2015, ending long before AHS’s end which is still yet to be announced that I know of as of March 2024. Glee is mired in controversy due to it’s main cast and their often tragic life outcomes. 


Allegedly a toxic and hostile work environment based on what former cast members have said since in addition to what is alleged about Murphy’s demands of the AHS crew during the 2023 strike both substantiate the other if true, pointing to old Hollywood ideas in the workplace despite the modern plots and characters.  


RYAN MURPHY SHOWS POST-AHS


Ryan Murphy Post AHS Shows

Although the franchise began with American Horror Story that is not the only type of story the creators wanted to tell. The entire franchise of shows which includes AHS, American Crime Story, American Sports Story, and rumored shows like American Love Story all considered part of the American Story Franchise. All shows in the franchise thus far have been on FX and FX on Hulu and are created or produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. 


CONCLUSION


Interested in more horror?

If you’re interested in more horror videos subscribe to this channel, I’ll be posting at least one video a month on a different horror movie, show, or topic. In addition to videos I post articles on this website, that are sourced with the same sources used in this video. I couldn’t have made this video without various contributors on platforms and websites like Wikipedia, American Horror Story Wiki, Rotten Tomatoes, and Internet Movie Database.


On the website and what will be on this channel will include: horror reviews, topic deep dives, sub-genre watch lists, like-based recommendations, and more horror related things. After this video goes live I’ll be working on a books to movies video, reading one to three books and comparing them to their movie counterparts while reviewing the story in general.


Thank you for watching this video, I do this in my spare time and am learning as I go so any feedback is appreciated!

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