Over eight scary seasons, American Horror Story has delivered the creepy goods to fans of all things monstrous, demonic, and nefarious. From ghosts to witches, aliens to vampires, the series has left virtually no horror movie stone unturned, mashing up genres without fear-- on the writers' part, at least. Through the many petrifying houses, hotels, and cults they’ve introduced audiences to, an unending parade of evil figures have reared their ugly heads to exact their terrible designs on the many victims left in their wake. But not all unholy antagonists are created equal.
American Horror Story has conjured up some formidable threats which sometimes turned out to be defeat-prone, or even redeemable. On the other end of the spectrum, the show has brought us the ultimate threat to all things under the sun-- the one who may well bring the end of times. In between, we find a host of villains who fall somewhere into greyer areas. Let us make no mistake – we don’t want to meet any of these awful people and creatures in a dark alley-- or even on a sunny beach!
Fans are warned to stay away from all of these rotten, dangerous, malevolent characters and entities. Which ones of these rogues are least and most threatening? We are venturing into this unholy place to lay it out for you. Consider this a guide to which American Horror Story baddie you most want to keep clear of, and which maybe you could deal with if you had no choice!
Here are 20 American Horror Story Villains Ranked, Weakest To Strongest.
20 Sister Jude - Asylum
When we first embark upon the second season of American Horror Story, we enter the grim recesses of Asylum. This madhouse is truly a place of no hope. In the 1960s, when mental institutions were far more barbaric than they are today, those committed to Briarcliff were subjected to terrible practices best left in the past.
Sister Jude goes beyond the mistakes of ignorance and into the realm of physical and psychological torment.
Patients are punished for no good reason. Healthy minds are confined against their will. As her character evolves, we learn that Sister Jude is herself a torment soul who ultimately seeks redemption, and finds it, after a fashion. As evil goes, she is definitely the weakest of the AHS crowd.
19 Dandy Mott - Freak Show
Sometimes villains are born bad, and sometimes they are made bad. In the case of Dandy Mott, he seems to have almost been accidentally molded into the shape of evil. An overly-coddled rich momma’s boy, Dandy was so spoiled that he became a consummate narcissist. Bored with having his every indulgence fed, he turned to doing some terrible things to get his kicks.
Unfortunately for the remarkably unique characters in American Horror Story: Freak Show, he plays out his twisted designs in the worst ways. When his final fate arrives, however, he’s just a man-child, meeting his end at the hands of some of his victims. The “only human” variety of AHS villains are the most easily dispatched.
18 Dr. Oliver Thredson - Asylum
Perhaps the single most insidious villain in the entire American Horror Story universe is the psychotherapist from the Asylum season, Dr. Oliver Thredson. Expertly played by Star Trek’s Zachary Quinto, this creep lives a double life. In one, he is a doctor healing minds. In another, he is a kidnapper and tormenter. He is an eerie mirror of real-life evil along the lines of the infamous Ted Bundy.
Handsome, charming and very intelligent, he uses his mask of savior to hide his inner sadist.
In our world, he would rank much higher on a list like this, but because he is only human, and is dispatched relatively easily, he doesn't make it far.
17 The Axeman - Coven
American Horror Story sometimes incorporates real-life villains in very clever ways. The Axeman of New Orleans (played by Wonder Woman's Danny Huston) is part of true crime lore from some of the Big Easy’s less savory past. As his name implies, this monster chopped up victims and terrorized the whole city in the early 20th century. He was never caught, by the way, and he appears in AHS as the ghost of the criminal.
Living in the Coven’s academy, he woos the Supreme Fiona Goode, who ultimately turns on him – but not before he gets to play at his bloody business many more times. The two share a final fate, living out an excruciating eternity in perdition together.
16 Stanley - Freak Show
It’s bad enough when monsters stalk the night to take lives from the shadows. Con men can be worse, though, as they use manipulation in the daylight, tricking their victims to their doom, often getting their foul work done without dirtying their own hands. Stanley arrives in American Horror Story: Freak Show pretending to be an agent from Hollywood interested in getting the troupe lucrative show biz contracts. In reality, he is seeking unliving “specimens” to be sold for display at the American Morbidity Museum.
Playing on the vulnerable emotions of outcasts is especially wicked, and the way this con man does it is cowardly.
This earns Stanley a higher ranking; betrayal is a special kind of awful, deserving of a more unkind distinction.
15 Polk Family - Roanoke
For many generations, the Polk Family as appearing in American Horror Story: Roanoke, have served the leader of the Lost Colony, The Butcher. In exchange for protection, they secure humans for The Butcher to sacrifice. Without this service, it may well be that the colonists would be powerless. On top of that, the Polks indulge in man-eating, and seem to often enjoy their husbandry of such meat.
Despite the fact that they believe they need to do this to survive, the Polks practices reveal a level of enjoyment in their work. They not only feed themselves, they feed an entire vile system of evil, and as such, deserve to be reviled.
14 Wilhelmina Venable - Apocalypse
It’s hard to pick out who is more evil than who in American Horror Story: Apocalypse. After all, forces vying against each other for rule at the literal end of the world doesn’t leave a lot of room for morality. In one of the survival outposts reserved for elites in the post-apocalyptic landscape, Wilhelmina Venable is in charge and rules with an iron fist. Relentlessly controlling her charges, she eventually decides to get rid of all of them to consolidate power.
It takes a seriously wicked soul to off the few humans left just so she can be the top dog!
However, her power and influence are soon to be revealed as limited. Had it been otherwise, she surely would be worthy of a higher ranking of evil.
13 Twisty the Clown - Freak Show
Few things make folks lose their minds like the prospect of a deeply disturbed clown who hides in the shadows and preys upon the innocent. As is the case with Stephen King’s ultimate harlequin It, Twisty the Clown stalks and kidnaps the innocent for purposes it’s best we not get into right now.
Horribly disfigured and incredibly stealthy, Twisty conducts his reign of terror in a van in the woods. For those with coulrophobia – the official term for fear of clowns – Twisty might be ranked as the most evil AHS character. Objectively, however, there are far, far worse culprits to be explored here. Twisty is only human, limited in power, and is eventually taken out of the picture without too much trouble.
12 Tate Langdon - Season 1
Tate Langdon comes from a pretty awful family. His mother has angrily taken lives in acts of vengeance. His brother ends up committed to a madhouse. And his son, is, well, the son of the devil! He himself perpetrated a tragic mass shooting at a high school – and a SWAT team subsequently dispatched him. In his afterlife as a ghost, he continues to do some terrible, rotten things, including helping father the aforementioned beast.
His evil seems to be a matter of insanity, however, and ultimately, he is able to find a form of redemption in Apocalypse.
Yeah, he was pretty bad, but somehow ultimately changed his ways, so he ends up more or less in the middle of the rankings.
11 James Patrick March - Hotel
In American Horror Story: Hotel, there are enough hospitality suites to board all manners of creepy creatures. Ghosts, vampires, and brutal criminals all find a place to stay. But the man who designed these ghastly quarters is none other than James Patrick March, who himself committed his own fair share of crimes during his lifetime.
Now, in his afterlife, he’s running the hotel, catering to the spirits of some of the world’s most infamous ghoulish characters. March’s building is a beacon for evil, a safe space for weary supernatural sadists and diabolical human alike. Providing shelter for a community of monsters creates a multiplying factor for deviousness.
10 Dr. Arthur Arden - Asylum
For most of us, it’s hard enough to imagine having the stomach to be a surgeon. Even if one is dedicated to healing, it's quite the bloody business. In American Horror Story: Asylum, we encounter a medical man who indulges in his expertise for the rush of inflicting pain instead of alleviating it.
Dr. Arthur Arden performs horrible experiments on his subjects, creating grotesque “altered humans.”
It’s no great wonder once we discover Arden’s hidden past: he’s an escaped war criminal living under an assumed name. This guy gets his hands dirty and seems to revel in it. It’s hard to imagine how much worse people can be – but AHS can!
9 Marie Laveau - Coven
As with many of the myriad supernatural characters in American Horror Story, Marie Leveau has some moral ambiguity. On the one hand, she stands up for her people and defends them. On the other, she is a voodoo priestess who communes with the dark deity Papa Legba and has no problem doing ungodly things to anyone who dares cross her. While not part of Fiona Goode’s Coven, she is a formidable witch in her own right.
It’s easy for the audience to cheer for her when she revenges herself against some awful people, but not so easy when she harms others to further her own interests. In the end, she loses her soul to her patron demon. Yet even as Legba’s puppet, Marie is a force to be reckoned with.
8 Scáthach - Roanoke
Scáthach is a tough character to rank in the American Horror Story mythos, but it’s best in this case to err on the side of evil. Seemingly a witch, but also a ghost of sorts, this mistress of the undead leads the wandering disembodied group of the lost Roanoke colony. Her powers of seduction are equal to her powers of rage. She seems to thrive equally as a supernatural temptress and dangerous demonic figure.
Her scariest power is her seemingly easy ability to convert normal people into becoming absolute evil.
Theoretically, she could raise an army of the damned, and there’s no indication yet of anything that could stand in her way. Potentially, she may even be stronger than ranked here, but her full potency has yet to be explored.
7 Delphine LaLaurie - Coven
We really wish we could say that Delphine LaLaurie was merely a figment of American Horror Story’s imagination, but this sick, twisted woman really did exist. In real life, LaLaurie was a New Orleans matron living in the 19th century, who locked up and cruelly torrmented her slaves. In the show’s Coven season, she is resurrected into our time to once again practice her evil in modern days.
Despite an attempt to repent, she proves once again how willing she is to perform unspeakable acts. Aince she is immortal, that makes it pretty hard to stop her – unless you’re a deity like Papa Legba, who was the one to finally end Delphine’s reign of terror.
6 Countess Elizabeth - Hotel
Of all of the “guests” staying at American Horror Story’s Hotel, few have the freedom of movement as the vampire known as Countess Elizabeth. Another immortal character, she keeps herself youthful by drinking blood and indulging in other “nocturnal activities.”
While her brand of evil seems almost casual, it is no less callous.
Rather than having some secret plan for power, she just works her way through bodies to feed her selfish desires and seems to do so with very little permanent effects against her. Can she be stopped? It’s hard to say, but she is as safe as anyone can be in the hotel. Should she ever be motivated to bigger plans, she could well be an unstoppable force.
5 Kai Anderson - Cult
The thing that’s scariest about Kai Anderson is just how very human he is. In American Horror Story: Cult, he plays the leader of the titular organization. A deeply disturbed narcissist, he has the uncanny ability to mount an army of followers who follow his every horrible order. Little by little, he rallies his power base to the point of tilting on the edge of legitimate political power.
While he met his end before he could take things too far, Kai is one of those characters we have seen in the real world too often, and some of them have destroyed nations. This is probably about as powerful as anyone without supernatural powers can get.
4 Constance Langdon - Season 1
Power isn’t always about wielding raw force against a victim or opponent. Sometimes, very powerful people get by on their wiles alone, able to step in and out of dangerous situations as they see fit, ensuring they come out on top. Such is the way of Constance Langdon. Unfortunately for humanity, her desires included nurturing the one entity who would grow into the beast which ends the world. Even as she passes into the afterlife, she seems able to bargain her way into meeting her end, never facing the consequences for her actions.
Constance is truly a stealth operator.
Heaven help us should she ever wriggle her way towards a more proactively evil agenda.
3 Fiona Goode - Coven
One of the most powerful characters in the American Horror Story universe is the alpha-witch known as The Supreme. Over the ages, only the most powerful conjurers can hold this title and as such, constitute the potential for great good or great evil. Unfortunately, Fiona Goode uses her title for less than nice reasons.
While she may not have been the worst villain in AHS, she is certainly among the most powerful. It is only when old age catches up to her that her powers begin to wane and she becomes vulnerable. At her peak, make no mistake, Fiona was a force to be reckoned with, and could be challenged by almost no one else.
2 Michael Langdon - Apocalypse
When we initially meet Michael Langdon in the very first season of American Horror Story, he is but a babe; innocent-looking and hardly a threat. Quickly, however, we learn how deceiving looks can be. At a very tender age, he begins to commit some truly horrific acts-- the kind of thing one would believe only adults to be capable of.
We eventually learn that Michael is likely the son of the devil, and as such, the harbinger of the end times.
This role is fulfilled with the Apocalypse season, and he is seemingly unstoppable. There is only one entity who can be said to truly be more evil than Michael, and that would be his daddy!
1 The Devil
This one should go without saying. The devil is the ultimate evil – "evil" is even in his name! His whole purpose is to destroy the world and subject all to endless damnation. There’s no topping this guy in any rogue’s gallery, and American Horror Story is no exception.
This cruel entity first made an appearance in the Asylum season, possessing Sister Mary Eunice. In the Apocalypse season, his shadow form is revealed, backing his son, Michael Langdon. With the undoing of creation at hand, ut seems there can be no more unbeatable foe in the series. Regardless, the ladies of the Coven decide to give all they have to take on the Prince of Darkness and his very, very bad daddy!
Who's your favorite villain on American Horror Story? Let us know in the comments!