The eighth season of the American horror anthology television series American Horror Story, subtitled Apocalypse, features the witches from the New Orleans coven as they battle the Antichrist and attempt to prevent the world from ending. The season is presented as a crossover between Murder House, Coven, and Hotel. The ensemble cast includes Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Adina Porter, Billie Lourd, Leslie Grossman, Cody Fern, Emma Roberts, Cheyenne Jackson, and Kathy Bates, with all returning from previous seasons, except newcomer Fern.
Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk for cable network FX, the series is produced by 20th Century Fox Television. Apocalypse was broadcast between September 12 and November 14, 2018, consisting of 10 episodes. The season was announced in January 2017 and received positive reviews from critics, with many considering it an improvement over previous installments. In April 2019, the Television Academy announced that, for the first time in the series' history, a season would not qualify for the Limited Series categories, and would instead be moved to Drama. Apocalypse would go on to receive five Emmy Awards nominations, including Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for Jessica Lange.
American Horror Story is an American anthology horror television series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk for the cable network FX. The first installment in the American Story media franchise, each season is conceived as a self-contained miniseries, following a different set of characters and settings in the same fictional universe, and a storyline with its own \"beginning, middle, and end.\" Some plot elements of each season are loosely inspired by true events. Many actors appear in more than one season, often playing a new character. Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, and Lily Rabe have returned most frequently, with each appearing in at least nine of the first eleven seasons, followed by Frances Conroy, who appears in eight, and Denis O'Hare appearing in seven. Other notable actors such as Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Emma Roberts, Adina Porter, Finn Wittrock, Jamie Brewer, Billie Lourd,and Leslie Grossman appear in five of the eleven seasons.
Set in the titular year of 1984, the season follows Brooke Thompson (Emma Roberts) as she travels to a remote, newly reopened summer camp, known as Camp Redwood, to work as a counselor following a terrifying encounter with serial killer Richard Ramirez, \"The Night Stalker\" (Zach Villa). Those traveling with Brooke include preppy Xavier Plympton (Cody Fern), athletic Chet Clancy (Gus Kenworthy), easy-going Ray Powell (DeRon Horton), and spunky Montana Duke (Billie Lourd). Upon arriving at the camp, they encounter its owner, the deeply religious Margaret Booth (Leslie Grossman), who was once a camper there, and who has her own experience surviving a killer. Other residents of Camp Redwood include its nurse Rita (Angelica Ross), activities director Trevor Kirchner (Matthew Morrison), and camp chef Bertie (Tara Karsian). Not long after the counselors settle into their first week, news breaks that deranged murderer Benjamin Richter (John Carroll Lynch), also known as Mr. Jingles, has escaped a local insane asylum and is presumed to be heading for the camp, where he has a violent history. However, as the season progresses, more secrets unveil about the counselors, as well as flashbacks detailing the history of the camp, including Richter's abusive mother Lavinia (Lily Rabe).
Murphy then explained the process of planning a series' season takes about a year. \"We come up with story first and then we come up with the characters,\" he said. \"It is a repertory company, so we'll move people around and sometimes there won't yet be a role for somebody. Like when we started [the second season], I really had no idea that Dylan [McDermott] would be the person to play Sarah's son, but the deeper we got, I thought, that would work great.\"
Principal photography for the fifth season began on July 14, 2015, in Los Angeles, California, where the story also takes place. Murphy revealed a six-story hotel set was being built on the Fox lot. A dummy set of the hotel was built at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con, showing an Art Deco-style building from the 1920s, inspired by the old Hollywood era.
The second season, American Horror Story: Asylum, received critical acclaim from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 84% of 220 critics gave the season a positive review. The site's consensus is: \"American Horror Story: Asylum crosses boundaries to shock and scare with sexy subplots and some innovative takes on current social issues.\" It scored 65 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 23 reviews, indicating generally favorable reviews. James Poniewozik from Time stated: \"AHS: Asylum feels like a more focused, if equally frenetic, screamfest. It's also gorgeously realized, with a vision of its '60s institution setting so detailed you can smell the stale air and incense.\" Maureen Ryan of The Huffington Post said: \"It's to the credit of Asylum's writers, directors and cast that the emotional pain of the characters often feels as real as their uncertainty and terror.\" Verne Gay from Newsday gave the season a C grade, stating it \"has some good special effects, just not much of a story to hang them on.\" Linda Stasi of the New York Post thought the season was \"over the top,\" adding: \"I need to enter [an asylum] myself after two hours of this craziness.\"
The third season, American Horror Story: Coven, received critical acclaim from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 85% of 221 critics gave the season a positive review. The site's consensus reads: \"A noteworthy ensemble cast combined with creepy storytelling and campy, outrageous thrills make American Horror Story: Coven a potently structured fright-fest.\" It scored 71 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 24 reviews, the second-highest score for any season, after Roanoke, on that site. In their post-season reviews, The Michigan Daily gave Coven a B+, saying, \"And while its conclusion, appropriately titled \"The Seven Wonders\", never quite matched the high standard it set for itself throughout the season, Coven's reputation will nonetheless remain a solid one.\" Not all reviews were positive, however, with criticism focused on both the story and character arcs in the second half of the season. The A.V. Club gave this season the low rating of a D+, with critic Emily VanDerWerff remarking: \"It lurched drunkenly from idea to idea, never settling on one long enough to build anything of worth.\"
The fifth season, American Horror Story: Hotel, received more mixed reviews from critics, in comparison to its predecessors. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 64% of 214 critics gave the season a positive review. The site's consensus is: \"Favoring garish style over effective storytelling, the fifth American Horror Story strands a talented cast at Ryan Murphy's Hotel.\" Hotel scored a 60 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 24 reviews, indicating mixed or average reviews. Some praise the season for its increased amount of horror elements and experimentation, while many believe that Jessica Lange's departure negatively impacted the show's ratings and the overall character of the series moving forward. Dan Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter gave a positive review, writing, \"Early on, Hotel hasn't hooked me with its storytelling, but it's always fun to see what the series does with its repertory acting company and with new additions. Throw in the normal grotesquerie and visual panache, and that should keep me going for a while, even if all of the humor appears to have been funneled into Scream Queens.\" On the other hand, Matt Zoller Seitz of New York Magazine found the season \"confusing, tedious, annoyingly precious, and often ostentatiously brutal\", but also praised it for being \"darkly beautiful, deeply weird, and (sometimes) exhilarating.\" Although Scott D. Pierce from The Salt Lake Tribune praised the production design and the cinematography, he said \"the storytelling is derivative; the scares are non-existent; and it's all about style without much substance.\" Mike Hale from The New York Times complained that it \"suffers from the absence of Jessica Lange\". IGN's Matt Fowler gave a rating of 5.9 out of 10, criticizing the season as \"mediocre\" and concluding \"all weight and meaning is gone.\"
On May 11, 2020, Murphy revealed that a spin-off series named American Horror Stories was being developed; it would feature self-contained anthological episodes, instead of a season-long story arc as featured in American Horror Story. It was set to air on FX. On June 22, 2020, it was announced that American Horror Stories would stream on FX on Hulu instead. On August 4, 2020, it was announced that Sarah Paulson was set to be a director on the series. The first season featured actors who have appeared in American Horror Story. Matt Bomer, Gavin Creel, Sierra McCormick, Paris Jackson, Belissa Escobedo, Merrin Dungey, Selena Sloan, Ashley Martin Carter, Valerie Loo, Kaia Gerber, Aaron Tveit and Celia Finkelstein star in the first two-episode story. Other American Horror Story alums that appear in the series include Naomi Grossman, John Carroll Lynch, Charles Melton, Billie Lourd, Chad James Buchanan, Cody Fern, Dylan McDermott, Jamie Brewer, Denis O'Hare, Matt Lasky, Gabourey Sidibe, Max Greenfield, Austin Woods, Seth Gabel, Rebecca Dayan, Cameron Cowperthwaite, Spencer Neville and Teddy Sears along with newcomers Rhenzy Feliz, Madison Bailey, Ben J. Pierce, Leonardo Cecchi, Kyle Red Silverstein, Amy Grabow, Adrienne Barbeau, Kevin McHale, Nico Greetham, Dyllón Burnside, Taneka Johnson, Danny Trejo, Ronen Rubinstein, Virginia Gardner, Vanessa E. Williams, Michael B. Silver, Kimberley Drummond, Jake C