American Horror Story: Roanoke drew inspiration from the real-life disappearance of a colony on Roanoke Island. American Horror Story is the twisted brainchild of creator Ryan Murphy and its a horror anthology where each season revolves around a new storyline and set of characters - though crossovers between seasons have occurred. The first season debuted in 2011 and was something of a haunted house story that starred Jessica Lange (Feud), Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott.
American Horror Story is known for its wild mix of gore, sex, and insane storylines, with the most recent series being American Horror Story 1984, which drew inspiration from slasher movies like Friday The 13th. The Jessica Lange seasons of American Horror Story - such as AHS: Coven - are typically considered the show at its best, while entries Freak Show and Cult are considered disappointing. Ryan Murphy launched another horror series dubbed Scream Queens in 2015 which starred Emma Roberts and Jamie Lee Curtis, which lasted two seasons.
Another series that often ranks lower in fan estimation is season 6, American Horror Story: Roanoke. The somewhat confusing structure initially finds a married couple recounting the terrifying events that took place when they moved into a home in the woods of North Carolina .- near the site of the famous Roanoke colony disappearance. The couple is being interviewed for a documentary called My Roanoke Nightmare, which also features actors playing them through reenactments. When the show is a huge hit, the producer decides to bring the actors and their real-life counterparts together for a return to the house midway through the season - which proves to be a bad idea.
While the story never quite clicks, American Horror Story: Roanoke still features some creepy sequences and great performances, especially from Sarah Paulson and Lady Gaga. The story plays on the famous disappearance of over 100 colonists from Roanoke Island in the late 1500s. This colony was established in 1587 but due to a shortage of supplies, colony leader John White decided to return to England. He intended to be back in 1588, but once he returned, the outbreak of the Anglo-Spanish War forced him to stay. He was eventually able to return to Roanoke in 1590, he was pleased to see the settlement had finished fortifications - but soon noticed there was no activity.
White was soon disturbed to see the entire settlement was abandoned, with weapons and other items strewn on the ground. There were no signs of conflict or any bodies, which appeared to rule out an attack by hostile Native American tribes. White also found the words "Cro" and "Croatoan" carved into nearby trees, leading him to suspect the settlement - which would have been facing starvation - moved to nearby Croatoan Island instead. White couldn't follow up on this theory, as bad weather and ill-health forced him to return to England.
What happened to the missing colonists remains a mystery, though historical evidence suggests they joined with a friendly Native American tribe instead. It's a mystery that has long fascinated pop culture, and in addition to American Horror Story: Roanoke, the story has cropped up in Supernatural and Stephen King miniseries Storm of the Century.