‘American Horror Story’ checks out of the ‘Hotel’ and heads to Roanoke County

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Since “American Horror Story” aired in 2011, viewers have been fascinated with the dark, macabre themes of the show. Ryan Murphy, co-creator and writer of the show, has allowed viewers to get up close and personal with some of their worst nightmares.

Murphy kept the promotions for season six vague enough so the theme reveal was a surprise. He even released six different trailers for season six, teased at the various possibilities and rumors of the theme.

This was the first season to not release a subtitle before the premiere. Since “American Horror Story” has already involved a murder house, an asylum, a coven, a freak show and a hotel, the possibilities were endless for season six.

Last Wednesday when the first episode premiered, viewers discovered that the theme was “My Roanoke Nightmare,” which is based onthe 1590’s disappearance of the Roanoke Colony.

 In a brief history, Roanoke was founded by Sir Walter Raleigh because Queen Elizabeth I wanted a permanent settlement. The colony was struggling with relations to the local tribes so John White, governor of the colony, had to leave to return to England to ask for assistance. He left late in 1587 but was not able to return to the colony until 1590. The settlement is now referred to as the Lost Colony because when White returned, he found the settlement abandoned. There was no sign of a struggle or battle. The word “Croatoan” was carved into a post at the settlement and this is said to be the only clue.

In the first season of “American Horror Story” the word “Croatoan” also appeared in a story as told by a psychic. The psychic claimedthe spirits of the colonist who died there haunted Roanoke and the local tribes.

Season six of “American Horror Story” seems to be formatted differently compared toother seasons. The first episode read more like a documentary. It follows Shelby (Lily Rabe) and Matt Miller (Andre Holland) as they move from Los Angeles to Roanoke Island, North Carolina. The frames switch from Matt and Shelby talking to a camera, to what feels like reenactments. Different actors play Shelby and Matt in the reenactment, which leads to some confusion as a viewer.

The season six premiere was very different from some of the past season premieres. While the season five premiere was filled with dramatic gore, season six focused on setting the scene, which made it more chilling to watch. Murphy had told Entertainment Weeklythis season would be “more rogue” and “dark.”

The paranormal documentary stylethe show has adopted makes the situations feel more personal. The main characters are talking to the camera, making the show seem realistic.

If that isn’t enough to keep you up at night, just make sure to pay close attention to the title slide that says, “The following story is based on true events.”

Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Denis O’Hare, Evan Peters, Angela Bassett, Wes Bentley and Cheyenne Jackson will be returning to the show as main characters.

Lady Gaga is expected to join the season six cast, but her character has not been introduced yet. Both Matt Bomer and Finn Wittrock will also be recurring characters in season six.

“American Horror Story” season six episodes will be premiering on FX on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. and if you live on campus at Sonoma State University, you can access Xfinity on campus and watch the show by logging in with your Sonoma State account.