The small screen has given birth to some iconic witches: Samantha Stevens, the Halliwell sisters, Sabrina (twice), Bonnie Bennett and Willow Rosenberg. But perhaps none have been witchier than those who inhabit Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exception Young Ladies on American Horror Story: Coven.
The third installment in the wildly popular and deeply disturbing American Horror Story franchise is arguably one of the scariest. Where these witches go, blood, death and fabulous black outfits go. No broomsticks or black cats for these ladies because they aren't your mother's witches: Ryan Murphy ushers in a new wave of outcasts who love to dabble in some very dark magic. Halloween may be over a month away, but with American Horry Story: 1984 upon us, there's no better time to revisit the 10 scariest scenes from American Horror Story: Coven.
10 Spalding's Tea Party
Spalding (Denis O'Hare) is a Lurch for the Millennials. He's an avid doll collector who occasionally likes to dress up in women's clothing and throw tea parties. The sight of Spalding curtseying in a bonnet surrounded by porcelain perfection is disturbing enough, but the money shot is Madison (Emma Roberts) sitting limp and lifeless in a nearby rocking chair. She's an honored guest but in attendance without her consent.
It's jarring to learn what Fiona (Jessica Lange) views as trash, Spalding covets as treasure. His proclivity for all things feminine is less disturbing than his preoccupation with young girls. Attics and basements are often the preferred hangouts of all things nasty and macabre, and Spalding's den of dolls is no exception.
9 Kyle Kills His Mom
Amongst all the strong female characters, Kyle (Evan Peters) is just a mindless lump of unchecked testosterone and violence. He is literally a mindless jock. Incest is universally understood to be an abominable act, and Kyle's mother, Alicia (Mare Winningham), has been having sex with her son for a very long time. Even though she knows this isn't the same Kyle, it doesn't stop her from trying to seduce him.
Lacking the emotional or mental maturity to comprehend this ickiness, Kyle simply smashes in her skull. Her punishment is deserved, but that doesn't make the intensity of the violence and Kyle's rage any less frightening.
8 Queenie Confronts Bastien
Unlike the zombified Kyle, Bastien is more monster than man thanks to Madame Delphine's (Kathy Bates) whims and Marie Laveau's voodoo (Angela Bassett). Creatures skulking outside, hiding in the darkness is a horror staple. This time, it's an actual monster instead of a metaphorical one.
Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) feels a misguided kinship with the creature and desperate for love and affection, she offers himself to Bastien. Sex and violence are often inextricably linked on American Horror Story: Coven, and Queenie's desire to form a connection isn't going to end well for her which viewers know long before her fate is confirmed.
7 Corpses Come Out On Halloween
The deluge of reanimated corpses descending upon the school is over-the-top gore at it's best. All of Madame Delphine's shortcomings as a mother come back to haunt her when she reunites with the undead Borquita.
Delphine so desperately wants forgiveness from the rotting corpse in front of her, but all that's left is putrid flesh being puppeteered by a voodoo queen.
6 The Coven Murders The Axeman
American Horror Story: Coven takes a scary chapter from New Orlean's history and expands upon it by resurrecting the dead. Nobody knows what happened to the real Axeman, but he meets with a very grisly end on the series. It's common practice for a murderer to terrorize groups of girls in settings like a sorority house or cheerleading camp. On AHS: Coven, the hunter becomes the hunted.
Clad in black cloaks, the young witches of Miss Robichaux's Academy stab the killer repeatedly in an almost sacrificial and ritualistic way.
5 Zoe Discovers Madison's Body
Zoe's (Taissa Farmiga) search for Madison jumps between The Axeman (Danny Huston) pointing the girls to the attic via the ouija board, and Zoe arming herself with a butcher knife. She's immediately assaulted by the stench. Fans know what Zoe's destined to find, but the how is the big, nervewracking question mark.
Spalding's appearance provides one of the show's few if only, jump-scare moments. It's hard to truly frighten today's savvy horror fans, and there's a very meta vibe to the genre, but AHS: Coven goes old school and proves the classics never go out of style.
4 Myrtle's Dinner Party From Hell
Before burning at the stake, Myrtle Snow was the ugly duckling of the Council of Witchcraft. Compared to Fiona, poor Myrtle is always the bridesmaid and never the Supreme. But she comes back from the dead with scores to settle.
Revenge is a dish best served with a melon baller which is Myrtle's instrument of choice when extracting the eyeballs of Quentin Fleming (Leslie Jordan) and Cecily Pembroke (Robin Bartlett). Paralyzed by a potion but no impervious to pain, they get their just deserts.
3 Cordelia's Self-Mutilation
The fresh set of peepers Myrtle secures for Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) doesn't last long. Feeling worthless thanks to a verbally abusive and emotionally withholding mother, and her horrible taste in men, Cordelia turns to a pair of gardening shears for solace.
Convinced she can only obtain the gift of second sight by sacrificing her vision, Cordelia plucks her own out in an attempt to protect her coven.
2 Madame Delphine Tortures The Gardener
A racist, sadistic leopard never changes her spots. Searching for purpose in the modern-day world, Delphine reverts to her old ways. Delphine recreates her infamous torture chamber by finding a small space to call her own in the attic among Spaldings dolls.
There she binds and gags the gardener who makes the mistake of coming inside the house looking for a bandage and proceeds to remove his toes one by one, and she's just getting started.
1 Misty Day Stuck In Hell
Misty Day (Lily Rabe) always did lack the killer instinct of the other girls. Unable to complete the Seven Wonders and ascend to the position of Supreme, Misty finds herself stuck in her own personal Hell.
The idea that the afterlife could just be living your worst nightmare over and over and over again on an endless loop is more petrifying than facing a black void or Dante's vision in his Divine Comedy. Poor tender-hearted Misty who could never hurt another living thing is destined to relive the monotony of sitting through high school biology and dissecting frogs for all eternity.