The American Horror Story posters that have been advertised so far have a reputation for being EXTRA creepy.
American Horror Story probably has one of the most voracious fanbases of any show on television at the moment, which is a pretty odd phenomenon for a horror series. Having just finished up its 9th season fairly recently, fans are eagerly awaiting season 10, which is confirmed to be on its way, but with no real clues towards what the premise might conceivably be.
A lot of the stars from previous seasons, including some who have left the show in recent seasons, are confirmed to be returning. But what of the posters for each season? American Horror Story is incredibly well-known for being visually stunning, so let’s rank them by how spooky they are.
The poster for Murder House is perhaps one of the best here, being particularly visually striking, but that only makes sense for a season that’s generally counted among the best of them by fans and critics alike. The stark red background lets you know pretty immediately that a few characters in this season are out for blood, and the latex suit tells you that someone in the house might have some… unconventional desires. The fact that this person is poised above Moira, who is posed like a corpse, tells us that some foul play is afoot.
The poster for Asylum contains hints towards pretty much most of the crazy twists that end up occurring in what could very well be the best season of the show by the approximation of most fans. It’s not exactly scary per se, but it’s definitely foreboding, most likely thanks to the stark contrast between the black and white in the poster. The face, with the unearthly white skin, bleeding tears of black from her eyes, tells of both the heartbreak that unfolds over the course of our time spent at Briarcliff, and gestures towards the aliens and demons that show up to wreak havoc.
Coven is a season that has received tons of praise from fans and critics alike, and the poster for the show really is something special. It doesn’t immediately suggest anything super scary, (that is unless of course, you’re terrified of snakes) but it definitely does a lot to hint at the backstabbing, secrets, and venomous hatred that’s spewed between all of the factions at war in Coven…
Whether that refers to the rivalry between the Voodoo practitioners and the remnants that are leftover from the Salem Witch Trials, or the many betrayals and alliances that happen within them.
The poster for Freak Show, a season in which fans decided the quality might have declined just a little bit, makes up for it with one of the scarier posters for any of the seasons. While this season doesn’t really have anything that absurd or uncanny on its poster, the poster is a very good distillation of everything that makes the season unique. The makeup looks like it was done pretty haphazardly, the skin is an unnatural color, the veins protruding in the neck imply intense suffering, and the teeth are crooked and discolored, like gravestones, tying together the entire piece. It also looks dirty, showing that the Freak Show isn’t all fun and games as it might appear to be on the outside, but that something heinous lurks beneath the facade.
In the same way that a lot of fans found Hotel to be weaker in comparison to the previous seasons which were pretty much powerhouses, the poster is similarly derivative. It’s just different enough from the Freak Show poster that it’s not immediately a rip-off unless you’re looking at them side-by-side, but it definitely seems like a recycled idea after looking closer. That being said, the poster is no means bad, just as the season isn’t, it just really doesn’t quite stack up next to the other ones. The hotel room key through the cheeks of the face in focus is a nice touch, as is the wallpaper that’s been overlaid on top of the face, but at the end of the day, it’s really no more impressive than the screaming face poster for the last season.
The poster for Roanoke doesn’t really win when it comes to scariness, but it is beautiful nonetheless, and a definite step up from the last poster. This poster looks like a piece of renaissance art, despite the fact that the season takes place well afterwards.
The ornate detail in the costume is legitimately breathtaking, and the charm held in the hands of the subject calls to mind the stick-figure effigies that appear in The Blair Witch Project, another horror franchise that takes place in New England. The fact that the hand of the figure on the poster is stitched together hints that perhaps this is the season in which we’ll finally get some answers to the most burning questions held so far, and that’s exactly what we see in Roanoke.
The poster for American Horror Story: Cult still uses the whole closeup on a face thing that we’ve seen in two previous seasons, Hotel and Freak Show, but manages to pull it off in a really interesting way, that implies more about the season than either of the other seasons did.
It shows us the danger of the hive-mind mentality that the political cult of personality displayed in the season takes, which might be a little bit of a heavy-handed metaphor on the part of the poster designer. While the metaphor might be a little bit ham-fisted, it also implies to us more than the fact that the hive-mind exists, but that even the people who are engaged in the cult are constantly struggling against the buzzing in their brain.
This one might just be the most terrifying of all the posters, although that doesn’t necessarily say much about the quality of the season. In this poster, we see 2 black hands, holding within them two objects that are intimately linked in the plot of the season. They brought back the stark juxtaposition between black and red in this poster, making for a pretty nice callback. The objects being held in the poster are a mushroom cloud, and a red corpse, which tells us about the antichrist who is born and his plan to destroy the world through mutually-assured demise at the hands of a nuclear war that’s being plotted at. The black hands cradling them also hint at the fact that these events are being orchestrated by someone of two qualities… bigger than either of the items being held and made of pure evil.
The poster for 1984 is actually pretty masterfully crafted, from top to bottom. Both the design in general, and the art style used. The look of the overexposed, oil-painted figures in the poster look like they really have could come right off of a 1980s slasher poster, and the subject matter is perfect. We see the face of one of our actors in the season shrieking in fear at the prospect of being stabbed through the side of the head wielded by our slasher, although we can’t see the ski-mask or the black gloves he usually dons, which is a reference to the attire of a lot of different movie slashers. In addition to being a general slasher reference, it’s probably a reference to Giallo as well, which is an Italian predecessor to slashers, where the killer usually wears the same attire as The Nightstalker.
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