If there's one TV show I look forward to returning every year, it's American Horror Story . That's because every season might as well be a brand-new show — just with the same crop of actors we already know. American Horror Story: Roanoke is using the mockumentary format, complete with "talking heads" that represent real people, and "re-enactors" that portray the characters in their own ghost story. The story in question is about Shelby and Matt, a couple who move into a haunted house in what was once the Lost Colony of Roanoke. The haunted house theme isn't new to AHS: its very first season was subtitled Murder House and took place in a house in Los Angeles. Now, one Reddit user is connecting American Horror Story: Murder House to Roanoke in a way that might crack the code on this whole documentary format.
It's more than just the haunted house theme that connects Roanoke to Murder House — there are a ton of details that tie these hauntings together, even though they're not in the same location. In "Chapter 2," it was revealed that a pair of killer nurses used to inhabit the home, while, in Murder House, a pair of nurses were murdered by serial killers in the home. In both Murder House and Roanoke, the residents rip down the wallpaper to reveal some murderous message underneath, and both the wives in Season 1 and Season 6 suffer a miscarriage that causes them to leave their home and move to the haunted house.
Are these things tropes of haunted house stories, or is there a reason the situations seem so similar? Reddit user BenjiAnglusthson has a theory, and it's pretty genius:
My theory is that it's all a hoax made up by the three amigos for money/a reality show similar to the countless hoax family hauntings through the 20th century. And we all know they could use the money. [Furthermore,] they aren't very original. Most of their fake story is just a rehash of a famous haunted house in Los Angeles known as "The Murder House." Like, for example: a girl was murdered [by an older man] in the "Murder House" wearing a nurse outfit... [Roanoke] just switched the roles! And in researching that house they probably saw crime scene photos of Mr. Montgomery's shelves of morbid jars and decided to use this too! Lee probably would have had access to more extensive photos while she was on the force...Too bad that once they finish filming "Roanoke Nightmare" they're probably gonna find out soon that the stories they copied are true!
This might sound like a crazy theory, but actually, it makes quite a bit of sense. Not everyone believes that the documentary framework is just to switch things up — after all, why frame something as a documentary when we clearly know that the show is using actors on both sides? It doesn't make a ton of sense. However, there's one big way it might: if the real horror story we're seeing is between the "real people" who are attempting to fraud the world with a haunted house hoax.
Perhaps the real Shelby and Matt (played by Lily Rabe and Andre Holland in the talking head portions) will eventually be followed outside of the documentary series and into the "real world." Maybe after lying through their teeth about their experiences in Roanoke, they end up experiencing very real horror — and the real version of American Horror Story begins.
One big thing that people noticed is that American Horror Story lacked an opener for this season. It's a little odd, considering that every other season has had an insanely creepy theme that features eerie images inspired by the new season. This one doesn't even open with American Horror Story: Roanoke; instead, the show is introduced as the "show within the show," My Roanoke Nightmare. It seems likely that, perhaps, American Horror Story hasn't officially "started," that what we're seeing now is almost like a prequel to the real story.
If that really is the case, then, when the documentary portion fades away and we go into the "real world," it's quite possible we'll get a traditional intro — and more traditional season.
One big clue from an American Horror Story actor suggests that the format won't be the same forever. Cuba Gooding Jr. was asked in an interview with Vanity Fair whether his version of Matt would ever meet Andre Holland's version, to which he replied with a very sketchy answer:
I'm just trying to phrase this so I can keep myself safe. Because I don't want anybody get mad at me. Because they never give you information. When I go, 'Who's playing the real Matt?' They go, 'André' and I go 'from The Knick? Oh my god, I love that guy, I can't wait to see him.' Well, I can't continue this line of talking. If I continue this line of talking, I might give something away.
There's no reason why Holland and Gooding Jr. would ever meet if the series were to continue with the documentary portion, which seems to support BenjiAnglusthson's theory: that Shelby and Matt will step out of the documentary at some point and encounter the real-world horrors they've made up, perhaps interacting with their "other halves" along the way.
Could BenjiAnglusthson be right? Are Shelby and Matt straight-up lying about their haunting for cash? If so, it might be one of the biggest American Horror Story twists to date — especially if these alleged liars end up in a crazy horror story they didn't invent.
Images: AHS World/YouTube (2)