Ryan Murphy has his share of haters and fans, but one thing cannot be denied: American Horror Story singlehandedly proved that an anthology television series was possible in this ongoing “golden age of TV.” What’s more, AHS proved that mainstream audiences did not have a problem following a show that changed characters and storylines each season.
Eight years later, American Horror Story has explored some of the most popular and widely-recognized themes in the horror genre. Some seasons of the show have been set in an evil house, in an asylum, and in a haunted hotel. Other seasons have introduced witches, ghosts, and evil clowns. In 2017, the series got political with AHS: Cult. In 2018, with AHS: Apocalypse, Ryan Murphy finally gave fans what they so desired, an interconnected season continuing the stories from season 1 and season 3.
However, with so many characters and storylines to explore and without the deep pockets of the likes of HBO and Netflix, it comes as no surprise that FX’s American Horror Story made certain mistakes along the way. While some of these production mistakes and continuity issues have been clearer, most were completely missed by the fans, who were not paying close enough attention to little discrepancies. Fear not: we have found every major mistake in American Horror Story that even the fiercest fans may not have realized were there. While none of them deter your enjoyment of the show, we think that some of them will certainly make you laugh.
These are the 20 Mistakes Fans Completely Missed In American Horror Story.
20 ELSA MARS’ NON-PROSTHETIC LEGS - FREAK SHOW
It was established in season 4, AHS: Freak Show, that Elsa Mars (played by Jessica Lange) had wooden prosthetic legs. Over the course of that season, the show introduced different versions of those prosthetic legs, including some that looked more realistic.
With that said, there is a scene toward the end of AHS: Freak Show where Elsa Mars is seen falling while being apprehended by a police officer. In the scene, it becomes very clear to viewers that the legs we are seeing are not and could not be prosthetics, as they bend, move, and even flex just like real legs. Of course, everyone is aware that those are Jessica Lange’s real legs that we see, but one could expect American Horror Story to be more careful.
19 LANA WINTERS' MICROPHONE - ASYLUM
In season 2 episode 4, Lana Winters (played by Sarah Paulson) is seen daydreaming about accepting an award. In the scene, Lana changes her appearance completely – her hair looks put together, her clothes are bright and colorful, and she’s even well-lit, which comes as a sudden change to the dark mood seen throughout AHS: Asylum. However, there is one big production mistake that can be seen during that moment. There is a clearly visible microphone behind Lana Winters.
This is obviously the mic that Sarah Paulson was using for the American Horror Story production team to capture her voice while shooting.
Despite the fact that this is a blink-it-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, it is definitely something that viewers do not generally expect from a big show like American Horror Story.
18 ELSA MARS SINGING LANA DEL REY'S SONG ABOUT JIM MORRISON - FREAK SHOW
One of the most iconic scenes in American Horror Story: Freak Show was Elsa Mars performing Lana Del Rey’s “Gods & Monsters”. Not only was it awesome to see Jessica Lange singing on AHS, but this was also a slight reference to Ryan Murphy’s work on Glee, which featured great musical moments for television.
There’s a catch, though: Freak Show was set in 1952, and “Gods & Monsters” only came out in 2012. Actually, Lana Del Rey herself was not born until 1985, 33 years after the season's setting. To make matters worse, Lana Del Rey’s “Gods & Monsters” mentions Jim Morrison, who, in 1952 was only 9 years old and definitely not yet the rock star he would become.
17 STACY’S SHIRT WON'T STAY UNBUTTONED - SEASON 1
“Afterbirth”, the 12th episode of American Horror Story season 1, shows Stacey and Miguel Ramos as an incredibly excited couple who just purchased the infamous house. To highlight this excitement, there is a scene in which Stacey and Miguel start making out in the kitchen suddenly, with their clothes still on. However, in the scene, Stacey’s shirt changes its position back and forth, yielding a subtle but clear continuity error from the series.
During that scene, Miguel unbuttons Stacey’s shirt, which first appears to be off her shoulders.
Then, the shirt appears back over her shoulders, and Miguel is seen unbuttoning it yet again. This is, without a doubt, a continuity mistake from the AHS production team.
16 ALLY AND IVY’S PHONE CALL - CULT
While it is safe to say that the early American Horror Story seasons were more prone to making mistakes, that does not mean that the later seasons of AHS did not miss any steps. One of the most baffling errors on American Horror Story: Cult took place in episode 5, when Ally Mayfair-Richards frantically calls her wife, Ivy, suspecting that someone is out to get them.
On the surface, there is nothing clearly wrong with the scene. However, the most attentive viewers will be able to notice that Ally’s phone displays that the call with Ivy takes place for 13 seconds, despite the fact that their conversation was certainly much longer than that.
15 A CAMERA OVER KYLE’S HEAD - COVEN
There is a blink-it-and-you’ll-miss-it moment in the 11th episode of American Horror Story: Coven (season 3) where a camera can be clearly seen in the mirror over Kyle Spencer’s head. The scene is about a conflict between Zoe Benson and Madison Montgomery, who are fighting over Kyle. Despite the fact that the scene goes into the next shot as soon as the camera is seen over Kyle’s head, it doesn’t change the fact that a camera is, indeed, spotted in the mirror during that moment.
The mistake probably happened due to the fact that viewers are not focusing on Kyle or the mirror.
Instead, we were focusing on the exchange happening between Zoe and Madison.
14 PAUL'S TELEPORTING SPIT - FREAK SHOW
In the season 4 finale, we see Dandy Mott lying on the floor, and Paul spits on his face. Then, Dandy gets up and is shown cleaning up the spit. There are two major continuity mistakes in this scene, but both are so subtle that you have to pay close attention to notice them.
First, let’s talk about the spit. It is very, very clear that, while Dandy is on the floor, Paul spits on his right cheek. In this close-up shot, we are able to see the spit fall on Dandy’s face and make its way across the right side of his face. However, as Dandy gets up, he is seen cleaning up the left side of his face. From one shot to the next, the spit is apparently no longer on the right side of Dandy’s face.
13 MADISON AND QUEENIE'S DISAPPEARING WOUNDS - COVEN
The very first episode of American Horror Story: Coven shows Queenie having dinner with Zoe Benson, Madison Montgomery, and Nan. It is established that Queenie is a sort of “human voodoo doll,” inflicting pain upon others through her own body. In this particular dinner scene, Queenie stabs herself in the hand, but it is Madison who suffers the pain and bleeds. However, here’s the thing: in a matter of seconds, neither Queenie nor Madison have any scars or blood from the interaction.
Madison’s hand is shown bleeding, and in the very next shot, there is no blood anywhere.
When did she even clean up? This is definitely a major mistake from the production team behind AHS: Coven, which should have at least shown Madison cleaning up her hand to justify the lack of blood.
12 CRIMINAL SHEET MUSIC - FREAK SHOW
All in all, AHS: Freak Show took many liberties when it came to its choice of music. Another factual error that took place on season 4 had to do with a scene where Elsa Mars spots a sheet of music, and Fiona Apple’s name is on it. As a matter of fact, Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” song is spotted on the sheet, though it came out in September of 1997.
As previously established, Freak Show took place in 1952. That means that Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” wouldn’t be released for 45 years after the events of season 4. Fiona herself was only born in 1977, meaning that the show really ignored historical accuracy when it came to its musical inclinations.
11 ANOTHER CAMERAMAN IN THE MIRROR - COVEN
There is yet another production mishap in that very same scene involving Kyle Spencer, Zoe Benson, and Madison Montgomery arguing in a bedroom. When they first walk into the bedroom, Madison places Kyle on the bed with headphones on. Then, there is a shot of Zoe distancing herself from them. There is a mirror behind her, on a wall by the bed where Kyle sits.
If you pay close attention, you can clearly see someone's arm in the mirror.
There is no doubt that only Kyle, Zoe, and Madison were in the bedroom at that point. The arm was, without a doubt, from the cameraman who was filming the shot of Zoe walking away.
10 MOIRA’S TELEPORTING COFFEE CUP - SEASON 1
The 12th episode of American Horror Story: Murder House shows Moira O’Hara, the maid, talking to Vivien Harmon in the kitchen at one point. In this particular scene, they are both sitting in the kitchen and having a conversation. In front of Moira is a coffee mug.
Well, the thing is: the coffee mug Moira O’Hara is holding seems to move from one place to another all of a sudden. During her conversation with Vivien, Moira’s coffee mug goes back and forth from being on the table and right by Moira’s face. While it is conceivable that she was sipping on her coffee here and there, the scene definitely does not feel like that. Instead, it is a collection of random shots in which the mug seems to be in a different place.
9 KAI'S SHAVING CREAM - CULT
The continuity errors became rarer as the years went by on American Horror Story, but AHS: Cult (season 7) had a particular mistake that fans would not expect from such a big production. The 10th episode in the season shows Kai’s final transformation on the season, as he gets a haircut and shaves off all traces of hair on his face.
The shots of Kai applying shaving cream to his face are pretty inconsistent, to say the least.
One of the most noticeable examples is when, in one shot, Kai is clearly seen applying shaving cream over his lips. Then, on the very next shot, the entire area where Kai’s mustache would have been is clean, and he is shown applying shaving cream once again to the area.
8 DR. ARTHUR ARDEN DOESN'T KNOW BRAINS - ASYLUM
The first episode of American Horror Story: Asylum shows Dr. Arthur Arden (played by James Cromwell) explaining to a tied-down Kit Walker (portrayed by Evan Peters) that “the devil” is found on a person’s “frontal gyrus,” pointing to his forehead.
The doctor mentions the “occipital lobes” as though they are connected to the frontal part of the brain.
The occipital lobes are the rearmost lobes in a person’s brain. The doctor’s explanation was one hundred percent factually untrue. While one can argue that Dr. Arthur Arden was crazy to bgin with and this was done on purpose, it is hard to believe that this wasn’t simply a mistake from the production team behind AHS.
7 ANGELA BASSETT AND GABOUREY SIDIBE WERE SPECIAL GUESTS - COVEN
Angela Bassett has become a staple on American Horror Story, from AHS: Coven (season 3) all the way to AHS: Apocalypse (season 8). Another actress that joined this anthology series in season 3 was Gabourey Sidibe, who had previously been known for her work as the titular character in Precious.
However, something odd happened on AHS: Coven that many fans missed – both Angela Bassett and Gabourey Sidibe received “special guest star” credits on that season, despite being in 12 of the 13 episodes of season 3. While they were newbies to the American Horror Story pantheon and their characters were definitely not the protagonists of the season, it is certainly weird that they were credited that way after being in basically all episodes on Coven.
6 THE “EASYMATIC 300” IN 1952 - FREAK SHOW
There is no doubt that AHS: Freak Show (season 4) took place in the 1950s. More specifically, it is established that the season is set in 1952. With that said, it is certainly odd that the show brought in a machine named “Easymatic 300,” which had X-ray technology as the basis of its operation, during the surgery scene involving Bette and Dot.
This machine would not have been in use until the '80s.
In other words, there were at least three decades between the events of Freak Show and the invention of the technology shown by the series as something that could have existed in the 1950s.
5 THE TIME-TRAVELING BOOK - SEASON 1
The sixth episode of American Horror Story season one opened with a scene set in 1994. In it, we see students trying to take cover inside a school’s library, and the novel The Children’s Blizzard appears among other books. On one hand, it makes total sense for such a book to be featured on the show. For one, it is a great all-American story. What’s more, the novel is a gut-wrenching tale that makes readers both heartbroken and terrified.
However, there is a catch: The Children’s Blizzard, which was written by author David Laskin, was published in 2004. Thus, it makes no sense for this novel to have been seen in an AHS scene set in 1994.
4 DANDY’S NOSEBLEED DISAPPEARS - FREAK SHOW
Let’s talk about the second major mistake that took place during the altercation between Paul and Dandy in Freak Show. To reiterate: we first see a close-up shot of Dandy Mott lying on the floor. During that shot, when Paul spits on Dandy, we can see that Dandy also has a serious nosebleed.
His nose is noticeably wet with bright red blood, leaving no question as to what is going on.
Then, in the next shot, when Dandy is showing cleaning the left side of his face despite the fact that Paul’s spit fell on his right cheek, we see no trace of blood on Dandy’s nose. Instead, his nose appears to be magically clean, like nothing happened.
3 FIONA SLAPS THE WRONG CHEEK - COVEN
There is a scene toward the end of American Horror Story – in episode 11, more specifically – where Fiona Goode (played by Jessica Lange) is seen slapping her daughter Cordelia (portrayed by Sarah Paulson) on the face. American Horror Story seems to have a hard time telling right from left.
In this particular scene, Fiona slaps Cordelia on her right cheek. Then, in the very next shot, we see Cordelia on the floor holding her left cheek, which is apparently in pain. This is definitely a continuity error, as we have just watched her get hit on the right side of her side.
2 THE STAGE LIGHTS - FREAK SHOW
Another technological discrepancy committed in the fourth season of American Horror Story had to do with the light fixtures that hung above the Freak Show stage. Unlike the “Easymatic 300,” these light fixtures were never highlighted, nor did they receive a proper name.
Experts pointed out that these lights were not created until at least the 1990s, four decades after the events of Freak Show.
Perhaps the production team behind Freak Show did not do their research, or maybe they simply wanted the stage to be well-lit by proper lighting. This certainly opened a crack in the historical accuracy that AHS season 4 seemed to be aiming for.
1 SEASON 1 DIDN'T TEASE FREAK SHOW OR CULT
There is a popular belief that the first season of American Horror Story teased all of the future seasons of this anthology series. While that is somewhat true when it comes to Asylum, Coven, Hotel, and even Roanoke, there is no stretch of imagination that can justify that season 1 teased Freak Show (season 4) and Cult (season 7).
Contrary to what many fans claim, season 1 does not tease seasons 4 and 7. The closest these claims have gotten is when Vivien Harmon mentions having family in Florida, where Freak Show takes place. However, it is hard to argue that this was a direct reference rather than just a total coincidence.
What other mistakes did fans miss in American Horror Story? Let us know in the comments!