There are currently 94 episodes of American Horror Story, an anthology horror TV series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. The performances are second to none, and each new season brings a fresh wave of horrors that viewers couldn't even begin to imagine.
Although it's easy (albeit subjective) to pick the scariest season out of eight, selecting 10 of the scariest episodes over the entire course of the show is no easy feat. Every single season is uniquely horrifying, whether it's psychological (Cult) or paranormal (Coven). In a show like this, there is evil around every corner. Here are 10 of the scariest episodes of American Horror Story, in no particular order.
10 Piggy Piggy: Murder House
"Piggy Piggy" is the sixth episode of AHS: Murder House and it's easily the most bone-chilling one of the season. Although the episode's name might seem hokey, this is the "school shooting" episode in which Tate Langdon kills five teenagers locked in a library back in 1994. The depiction of their fear and the violent nature of their last moments is truly chilling.
After his killing spree is over, Tate is then shot by a SWAT team at his own house. The next part of the episode involves Derek (played by Eric Stonestreet), a man who is terrified by the "Piggy Man," a silly urban legend that provides a bit of comic relief after the Columbine-inspired scene beforehand.
9 Test Of Strength: Freak Show
This episode is aptly named because it truly is a "test of strength" to get through the end of it! "Test of Strength" is the seventh episode of AHS: Freak Show, and it goes from bad to worse real quick. The episode seems to begin on a high note, with Dot and Bette escaping from Dandy's clutches, but the storyline takes a dark turn when Penny confronts her father and tells him she's moving out to live with Paul. In a cruel and vengeful twist, Penny's father has his "artist friend' tattoo her entire face and head and fork her tongue while she's knocked out. If that's not bad enough, the episode ends with Dell sneaking into Ma Petite's tent, giving her a pretty dress, and then crushing her to death in his arms.
8 Unholy Night: Asylum
"Unholy Night" is the eighth episode of AHS: Asylum that ruins Christmas Eve for everyone by making Santa Claus the thing of nightmares. Ian McShane guest stars as Leigh Emerson, a man who has a psychotic break and kills while dressed as Santa Claus. Eventually, Leigh is sent to Briarcliff and placed in solitary confinement by Sister Jude after biting off an orderly's nose on Christmas Day.
As an act of revenge (and with some help by demon-possessed Sister Mary Eunice and former-nazi, Dr. Arden), Leigh dresses up as Santa Claus once again and corners Sister Jude in her office. When Sister Jude asks why he's there, he claims he is there to "open his present." Ugh, no, this episode has ruined Santa Claus forever.
7 Bitchcraft: Coven
"Bitchcraft" is the first (and best) episode of AHS: Coven, a season filled with powerful and vindictive witches, but the scariest person by far is Madame Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates). The most disturbing thing about this character is that she's based on a real life New Orleans socialite who was known for torturing and murdering slaves in the early 1800s. The scenes involving Madame LaLaurie in American Horror Story are some of the scariest and most disgusting depictions of violence on TV, so buckle up and watch if you dare.
6 Halloween Part 1: Murder House
For those who are up for 40 minutes of pure terror, try watching "Halloween, Part 1," the fourth episode of AHS: Murder House. The beginning of the episode starts off by giving viewers the backstory behind Chad and his partner Patrick, the former owners of Murder House who were violently killed by Rubber Man (there might be an iron poker involved, it's the worst).
After that, the show attempts to explain the existence of the creepy creature in the basement, and trust us, ignorance is bliss. The episode ends in Addie's death, as well as an ultrasound result that makes the ultrasound tech collapse in fear.
5 Monsters Among Us: Freak Show
"Monsters Among Us" is the premiere episode of AHS: Freak Show, and anyone who can get through the first clown scene without closing their eyes should win some kind of award. The killer clown, Twisty, really is the stuff of nightmares, and his murders of a teenage girl's boyfriend and a young boy's parents really set the mood for the rest of the season. This episode also introduces the viewers to a wide variety of twisted and unusual characters, including conjoined twins Bette and Dot Tattler, who brutally murdered their own mother with a steak knife.
4 Chapter 5: Roanoke
Writers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk really brought the terror with "Chapter 5," the fifth episode of AHS: Roanoke. This particular episode is the "finale" of My Roanoke Nightmare and depicts the capture (and eventual escape) of Shelby, Matt, and Flora from The Butcher's clutches.
At the beginning of the episode, viewers are introduced to Edward Philipe Mott, the original owner of the house who was impaled and burned alive by The Butcher. In the present day, Shelby, Matt, and Flora are trapped in the house as it "comes alive" during the Blood Moon and are offered up as sacrifices to The Butcher by the Polk family. Despite the (happy?) ending, the last few minutes of this episode are nightmare-inducing.
3 Checking In: Hotel
"Checking In" is the premiere episode of AHS: Hotel, and it doesn't ease viewers in slowly. There are plenty of violent murders and creatures packed in this one episode, but the scariest of them all is the "addiction demon" pictured above, a creature who violently rapes a heroin addict named Gabriel after he checks into room 64. Two Swedish girls are also killed by a couple of bloodthirsty vampire children, and homicide detective John Lowe investigates the torture-murder of an adulterous couple. This episode also introduces viewers to The Countess, the head vampire in charge who enjoys killing her victims during sex.
2 Neighbors From Hell: Cult
No one with a clown phobia should watch "Neighbors from Hell," the third episode of AHS: Cult. Upon returning home from an appointment, a young couple is attacked by clowns and entombed in coffins while they are still alive. The combination of killer clowns and being buried alive really takes this episode to the next level of horror, but it doesn't stop there.
When Ally, Ivy, and Oz return home from dinner one night, they discover a red smiley face painted on their door, a mark of the clowns. Inside, they discover that their guinea pig had exploded upon being microwaved. After this episode, you'll never look at a smiley face the same way again.
1 The Coat Hanger: Asylum
AHS: Asylum is making the list again, only this time with episode nine, "The Coat Hanger." After being taken and raped by Dr. Thredson, Lana discovers that she is pregnant with his baby. As the title suggests, Lana is forced to use the "coat hanger method" to abort her own baby while she's trapped in Briarcliff, and watching her do it is excruciating.
Later, she realizes that her painstaking attempt to rid herself of her rapist's child was unsuccessful. Toward the end of the episode, Monsignor Howard is attacked and nailed to a crucifix after his misguided attempt to baptize Leigh (the Santa killer). Yep, the hits just keep coming.