American Horror Story: Every Season’s Connection Explained


Summary

  • American Horror Story seasons connect, creating a shared world of intricate and terrifying narratives.
  • Characters from Murder House and Coven come together in Apocalypse, revealing connections between the seasons.
  • Characters like Billie Dean Howard and Lana Winters appear in multiple seasons, further linking the American Horror Story universe.


Despite being an anthology horror series, creator and showrunner Ryan Murphy has confirmed that American Horror Story seasons connect. American Horror Story‘s seasons are famed for their intricate, terrifying narratives, with American Horror Story: NYC (season 11) being the latest installment. Since airing on FX in 2011 with season 1, Murder House, American Horror Story has explored numerous elements of history, the horror genre, and has brought numerous, terrifying stories to audiences, and it has been confirmed that the AHS seasons connect and exist within a shared world.

Though subsequently becoming involved with different projects on Netflix, network television, and movies since Murder House first premiered in 2011, Murphy’s passion for the American Horror Story series continues to be apparent to this day. Whether through the care he takes to make clever series-to-series connections, or by keeping the universe richly developed, American Horror Story has become a trove of Easter eggs, callbacks, and AHS canon references for fans to unravel. The American Horror Story seasons’ connections make for interesting crossovers and imply future connections between new installments.

American Horror Story is available to stream on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.


Murder House & Apocalypse

Tate & Vivien’s Child Becomes The Antichrist

Young Michael Langdon with Constance Langdon in AHS Season 1

Ryan Murphy teased the American Horror Story connections between Murder House and Coven for a while before audiences got to see them in AHS Season 8, Apocalypse. While it has its own plot line that doesn’t fixate on the characters from Coven and Murder House directly, the post-apocalyptic wasteland created by Michael Langdon perfectly brings everything together.

Michael Langdon, who comes into his powers as the Antichrist, is the son of Tate Langdon and Vivien Harmon. The Harmon family moved into the Murder House in season 1, and Tate, a ghostly resident, raped Vivien before becoming romantically involved with her daughter, Violet. Medium Billie Dean Howard teased the unnatural birth of such a child and discussed a prophecy that would bring about the End of Days. At the end of season 1, Michael’s murderous nature was seen when he was still just a child.

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Coven & Murder House Cross Over In Season 8

Madison Travelled To The American Horror Story Season 1 Location

The witch students in black with Fiona in American Horror Story: Coven

American Horror Story seasons Murder House and Coven connected in other ways outside the inclusion of Michael Langdon. In Apocalypse, the witches’ purpose is to stop Michael Langdon and restore balance to the world in a match-up of ultimate good vs. ultimate evil. While there’s a lot involved within the season, there is a connection that is more of a theory than a direct link.

Potential Supreme Madison Montgomery, one of the witches that died in American Horror Story: Coven (but was then resurrected in Apocalypse) could be related to the original owners of the Murder House: Charles and Nora Montgomery, though this has never been confirmed. However, Madison did travel to Murder House with Behold during Season 8. This could be just a coincidence or another clever clue from Ryan Murphy.

Billie Dean Howard Works With The Spirits In The Hotel Cortez

Sarah Paulson’s AHS Season 1 Character Is Well Travelled

Billie Dean Howard, a medium who was first introduced in Season 1, traveled to the very haunted and connected Hotel Cortez in American Horror Story Season 5. Her goal was to commune with the different spirits who inhabit the place as part of her TV show, which is similar to shows like Ghost Adventures, except Howard has a genuine gift.

Billie Dean Howard wasn’t a major character in either season, but as the Cortez and Murder House (possibly a portal to Hell) are both located in California, it raises questions about whether she travels around to numerous haunted locations in the state. Perhaps some of these haven’t been revealed yet, or perhaps they have been and just haven’t been revisited yet, such as Camp Redwood in 1984.

Pepper & Sister Mary Eunice Travel From Asylum To Freak Show

One Of The Most Tragic AHS Characters Makes Multiple Appearances

Pepper and Ma Petite in American Horror Story: Freak Show

Pepper is a tragic character in American Horror Story. She certainly endured a lot during her time at Briarcliff in AHS Season 2, Asylum, and it was revealed how the American Horror Story seasons connect in season 4, Freak Show. Pepper was originally a part of Fräulein Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities. Pepper grew up in an orphanage and was adopted by Elsa to become a part of her troupe of performers. A kind, gentle soul, Pepper was wrongly blamed for the murder of her sister’s baby and ended up in Briarcliff as a result.

The story is infinitely more tragic following all the deaths in American Horror Story: Freak Show. In a scene that includes Sister Mary Eunice, during Pepper’s admission to Briarcliff, she is told that Pepper sliced off the baby’s ears and drowned it. In Freak Show, Pepper always showed a maternal and even domestic nature, referenced through her marriage to Salty, another “freak” with microcephaly, and her caring for the tragic AHS character Ma Petite.

Lana Winters From Asylum Appears In Multiple Seasons

A Recurring AHS Cast Member Plays A Recurring Character

Sarah Paulsonb as Lana Winters in AHS: Asylum

Lana Winters, who is arguably one of the most iconic characters in American Horror Story history, tends to pop up all over the series’ timeline just via her nature as a reporter. While most prominently featured in Season 2, Asylum, Lana makes an appearance in Roanoke — and her show does, too — when she interviews Lee Harris.

Another connection that Lana Winters shares is a brief mention in season 7, Cult, when the journalist asks to interview Ally Mayfair-Richards, but is denied the opportunity — a moment that underscores why Cult is arguably the best AHS season. Perhaps this has something to do with Sarah Paulson playing both Ally and Lana, but the actress has doubled up on roles and characters before, so it might have just been an Easter egg or a way to show Lana Winters is still going strong in modern years, as Cult took place after the 2016 US Presidential Election.

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Hotel Cortez’s Function Is Revealed In Apocalypse

The Deadly Guest House Is Important For Armageddon

Michael Langdon in American Horror Story Apocalypse

The hard-to-escape Hotel Cortez, the connecting point of Season 5, Hotel, has a bigger significance than just warranting a whole season, showing how the American Horror Story seasons connect. Not only is it one of several locations in the series — such as Camp Redwood and Murder House — where the dead don’t stay dead, but it is also revealed to be of integral importance by none other than Michael Langdon during Apocalypse. Apparently, the Hotel Cortez isn’t just a haunted hot spot. It’s also a sort of purgatory, just like American Horror Story: 1984‘s Camp Redwood.

1984 Connects To Asylum’s Briarcliff Manor

A Serial Killer Turns The Terrifying Sanitorium Into A Tourist Spot

The cast of American Horror Story Asylum in one room with many beds

Though a relatively minor American Horror Story seasons connection, it’s revealed in 1984 that serial killer Margaret Booth has taken to purchasing true crime locations and turning them into cash cows. 1984 and Asylum‘s American Horror Story timelines are directly connected through this new business venture of Margaret’s. She purchases Briarcliff because she sees it as a decent investment, just like Charles Manson’s ranch and the site of her own murders, Camp Redwood. As true crime is very profitable, there’s no reason why something like this wouldn’t be a gainful business even outside the American Horror Story universe.

Roanoke Connects To Coven Through The First Supreme

Scathach wearing her crown in American Horror Story Roanoke

Coven introduces the concept of a Supreme through Jessica Lange’s character, Fiona Goode. Fiona is a determined, powerful leader — albeit a selfish one — who will stop at nothing to keep her power and hold over the coven intact instead of being replaced by a younger model as her body starts to fail her. However, as witches are not immortal, throughout the American Horror Story timeline, there have been many Supremes. In Roanoke, audiences were introduced to Scathach (Lady Gaga’s character), who started the entire line of Supremes that eventually led to Fiona and Cordelia sparring at Miss Robichaux’s Academy in Season 3.

Asylum Connects To Freak Show Through Dr. Arthur Arden

American Horror Story Season 2 And Season 4 Have Another Huge Connection

Dr. Arden in American Horror Story

One of the darker ways American Horror Story seasons connect is in Dr. Arthur Arden from Asylum, who ended up having a significant role to play in Season 4, Freak Show, even though he only made a brief appearance. One of the biggest mysteries surrounding his character, who was a major player in Season 2, was whether he had connections to the Nazi Party. This was brought up when a woman who claimed to be Anne Frank was admitted to Briarcliff and said she knew him as Hans Gruper.

His experimentation on different patients at Briarcliff certainly revealed that Dr. Arden had a dark side, but Anne’s identity — and Arden’s — was left ambiguous after she was lobotomized. In American Horror Story‘s complete timeline, Elsa is revealed to have lost her legs in a snuff film, and it was confirmed that her legs were removed by none other than Dr. Arden years before she ever arrived in Jupiter. Even more interesting was the confirmation that he was going by the name of Hans Gruper.

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The Mott Family Is Connected To Roanoke

A Hidden Freakshow Connection Is In American Horror Story Season 6

Promotional image of Finn Wittrock as Dandy Mott in AHS: Freak Show

The events of Roanoke primarily take place at a farmhouse purchased by Matt and Shelby Miller. That farmhouse is the focus of My Roanoke Nightmare, a docu-series about the terrors they endured and that are connected to the Roanoke colonists who mysteriously disappeared in North Carolina. The farmhouse was once occupied by Edward Philippe Mott, an ancestor of Dandy Mott and his mother, Gloria, who were trying to purchase Elsa’s show during Season 4.

Twisty The Clown Appears In Cult (In Comic Form)

The Terrifying Killer Clown Has An In-Universe Legacy

One terrifying character who was already a major feature of American Horror Story is the killer clown, Twisty. Twisty premiered in Season 4 and was featured in comic form in American Horror Story season 7, Cult. Ally and Ivy’s son, Oz, was seen reading comics that feature the tragic villain, although his mother does not approve. Indeed, Ally Mayfair-Richards’ fear of clowns is a prominent feature of the seventh season, along with the clown cult that is headed by Kai Anderson.

Richard Ramirez Visits The Hotel Cortez & Stalks Camp Redwood

One Of Many Murderers Keeping The AHS Universe Connected

American Horror Story Richard Ramirez Night Stalker

Richard Ramirez connects to two seasons: 1984 where he plays a major role, and Hotel, where he appears as a guest of hotel proprietor James March for his Devil’s Night celebrations alongside other prominent serial killers. While the history behind the character’s inclusion was a bit murky at times, Ramirez’s existence in both seasons is yet another connection that the 12 seasons of American Horror Story all share.

Doctors operating on an alien in American Horror Story Death Valley

Season 2’s Asylum included an extended plot thread about aliens that ended quite cryptically, with Evan Peter’s Kit Walker abducted for the final time on his 40th birthday to close the season’s extraterrestrial loop. While Murphy’s commentary in 2012 following Asylum‘s release suggested the alien presence in the series was an allegory for divine intervention, these same extraterrestrials have since been hinted at in American Horror Story: Double Feature.

The season’s seventh episode, “Take Me to Your Leader,” grants a first look at little gray aliens that appear identical to the ones featured across Asylum. In addition, the Asylum storyline happens concurrently with Double Feature‘s alien developments, with Asylum’s Kit narrative taking place in the 1960s parallel with American Horror Story: Double Features‘ Eisenhower alien plot even down to the mirrored technology used by the aliens in both seasons.

American Horror Story: NYC Had Several Easter Eggs

Season 11 Contained Many Franchise Nods

American Horror Story Season 11 NYC Big Daddy Theo Death

American Horror Story: NYC saw several Easter eggs, including two actors who hadn’t been on the show for nearly a decade. Zachary Quinto returns as Sam, who finances and sells his boyfriend Theo Graves’ (Isaac Powell) controversial artwork. In addition, Broadway sensation Patti LuPone plays a singer named Kathy Pizazz who runs a bathhouse. However, one way the series shows how American Horror Story seasons connect is with the return of Asylum‘s Angel of Death.

While not played by Frances Conroy this time around, the Angel of Death shows up in AHS season 11, episode 5, “Bad Fortune”, which sees Gino getting a tarot card reading from Kathy Pizazz. The same 3 cards keep popping up (Judgement, The Devil, and Death), and in a jump scare moment, the Angel of Death pops up behind Kathy, threatening Gino.

Another disturbing Easter egg is Zachary Quinto’s Sam having a similar untoward proclivity as his Dr. Thredson/Bloody Face character in Asylum: necrophilia. In Asylum, Dr. Thredson painfully reveals that after he killed Lana’s partner Wendy (Clea DuVall), he sexually assaulted her corpse. American Horror Story: NYC episode 6, “Fire Island”, sees a flashback of Sam during a threesome, in which Billy dies by being suffocated during a sex act. Both Sam and Patrick unknowingly continued the act, not finding out Billy was a corpse until far too late. It’s definitely a disturbing one, but this is just one more way the American Horror Story seasons connect.

Delicate Lacks Notable American Horror Story Connections So Far

American Horror Story Season 12 Hasn’t Connected To The Wider Franchise

2023’s American Horror Story: Delicate is the 12th season of the show, which has been split into two batches of episodes. However, so far, it hasn’t had any major connections to previous seasons — something that felt like an oversight according to many viewers. There were hints before Delicate arrived that it could cross over with season 3, Coven, though these have yet to come to fruition. However, with the second half of American Horror Story season 12 arriving in 2024, there’s still a chance it could include more connections with the wider universe of the franchise.

How Does American Horror Stories Connect To The Original Show?

The Anthology Spinoff Has A Few American Horror Story Connections

A blended images features the doll and latex suit of American Horror Stories

The AHS spinoff American Horror Stories also connects to many of the original show’s previous seasons, though not as implicitly as they connect. American Horror Stories Season 1, episode 1, “Rubber(wo)Man Part One” — the pilot episode — is actually a return to AHS season 1’s Murder House. Things also go down similarly to the first season of the original show, complete with a new family moving into the Murder House, and that family hoping to turn the creepy mansion into a bed and breakfast.

The Murder House’s legacy of consuming new families is maintained in American Horror Stories‘ two-part Rubber Woman pilot, as the family’s 16-year-old daughter dons the infamous latex suit and gets possessed by its properties. Moreover, a version of Roanoke’s knife-wielding Piggy Man also appears in the spinoff. A serial killer Santa Claus similar to season 2’s Leigh Emerson, is featured in American Horror Stories season 1, episode 4, “The Naughty List,” while episode 5 “BA’AL” heavily features witchcraft.

While these American Horror Stories and AHS connections are creepy enough, perhaps the weirdest connection the spinoff makes to the original series is the fact that American Horror Story is a television show that exists within the universe of American Horror Stories. With American Horror Stories featuring episodic horror instead of season-long story arcs, it’s easy to see why AHS creator Ryan Murphy followed through with a second season. As the spinoff continues, considering how American Horror Stories already connects to AHS, more of these connections are bound to be established with the show’s future installments.

Smaller Connections Between American Horror Story Seasons

There Are Dozens Of Minor Easter Eggs Throughout American Horror Story

A split image features Elsa in a Campfire Gold Coffee commercial in AHS: Freak Show and ashes from a coffee can in AHS: Hotel

Small American Horror Story connections exist between seasons as well. Those connections can be something as simple as a single character making multiple cameo appearances or a similar item appearing across multiple seasons. For example, the Campfire Gold coffee brand makes multiple appearances in the franchise with Elsa Mars filming a commercial for the brand in Freak Show and another’s ashes being placed in a coffee can of the same brand in Hotel.

There are also recurring lines in the franchise and surnames that pop up again and again. Jessica Lange’s characters often ask, “Cat got your tongue?” to characters they might be taunting. Repeated lines have begun to hold significance for fans. Last names like Howard, Goodman, Drake, and Snow all appear in multiple seasons, suggesting characters might be related just like fans theorize about the Montgomery family and Madison. Viewers who love spotting the Easter eggs and connections have learned to be on the lookout for even the smallest of American Horror Story connections.

Over the years, Ryan Murphy has tried hard to show how the American Horror Story seasons connect. However, the crossovers have become more subtle in later seasons. American Horror Story: Apocalypse by far saw the biggest crossovers, outright bringing many characters from other seasons into the fold. Other installments, like Roanoke, were a little more demure in their Easter eggs. Either way, it doesn’t seem likely that a crossover like Apocalypse is going to happen again, but as American Horror Story goes on, there will assuredly be more connections made to previous seasons.

American Horror Story NYC Poster

American Horror Story

Release Date
October 17, 2012

Cast
Denis O’Hare, Emma Roberts, Dylan McDermott, Joseph Fiennes, Gabourey Sidibe, Taissa Farmiga, James Cromwell, Angela Bassett, Zachary Quinto, Sarah Paulson, Jamie Brewer, Evan Peters, Lizzie Brochere, Kathy Bates, Jessica Lange, Michael Chiklis, Connie Britton, Lily Rabe, Franches Conroy

Genres
Horror, Anthology, Thriller, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Mystery

Writers
Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy

Network
FX

Streaming Service(s)
Hulu, Disney+, Netflix



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