“American Horror Story” has been known to reference plenty of horror movies in past seasons, but the sixth season of the series adds something new to the callbacks. More than any other season, “American Horror Story Roanoke” has made numerous references to past “AHS” tales, all of which Ryan Murphy promises are hinting towards the series’ entire mythos being woven together. Here are the best references we’ve found on “AHS Roanoke” so far, whether they be cinematic, factual, or tied to the “AHS” timeline.
Upon arriving in North Carolina, Matt and Shelby encounter some creepy hillbillies that in episode 5 are revealed to be cannibals that are allowed to stay on The Butcher’s land in exchange for providing sacrifices. Such country connoisseurs of man-flesh have been a common/”>common type of foe in horror films, namely the 70s classics “The Hills Have Eyes” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”
In episode 2, Shelby and Lee discover a room decorated with dozens of wooden stick figures, and a larger version of the stick figure is seen out in the woods on several occasions. This is a nod to “The Blair Witch Project,” where such wooden figures are signs of the Blair Witch’s presence and, as discovered in the 2016 sequel, can also work as voodoo dolls.
Episode 3 sees Matt’s niece, Flora, begin to talk about an imaginary friend named Priscilla who threatens to kill them all. This is very similar to “The Amityville Horror,” a film that “AHS” has regularly used for inspiration. In that movie, the family’s five-year-old daughter creates an imaginary friend named Jodie…who’s a pig demon.
And speaking of pigs, one of the most common haunts The Butcher sends after Matt and Shelby is a vicious killer in a pig mask. Pig masks have been featured in several horror movies, such as the 1980 cult classic “Motel Hell.” But perhaps the most famous use of pig masks comes from the “Saw” series, as Jigsaw and his acolytes use pig masks while kidnapping victims for his deadly games.
In episode 5, Matt and Shelby are attacked by the ghosts of past residents who were killed by The Butcher. One of these is a Chinese girl who kidnaps Flora and takes her away. The Chinese girl has been transformed into a pale, wall-crawling demon similar to Kayako in “The Grudge.”
Episode 5 also has one of the most horrifying moments in “AHS” history, when the hillbilly matriarch shatters Shelby’s leg with a sledgehammer. This crippling move was infamously used in the film “Misery” by psychotic superfan Annie Wilkes, playing by “AHS” veteran Kathy Bates.
Now for this season’s many, many references to seasons past. First, there is the concept of a house possessed by the spirits of those who have been murdered while taking residence there. It has played a major role in Matt and Shelby’s tale, and it also lies at the core of the first “AHS” season, “Murder House.”
Next, we meet two of the house’s more murderous former tenants: a pair of nurses who turned the house into a convalescent home and killed five of their patients. These characters were based on an actual murder trial and also double as a nod to the medical abuses that occurred in Briarcliff on “AHS Asylum.”
In Episode 3, we meet an eccentric medium named Cricket, played by Leslie Jordan. Jordan’s only other appearance on “AHS” was in its third season, “Coven.” Cricket also mentions driving to North Carolina from New Orleans, where “Coven” takes place.
Matt and Shelby’s house was first created in the late 1700s by the mentally disturbed art fanatic Edward Mott, who ends up helping the protagonists escape The Butcher as a ghost. Edward Mott is the ancestor of Dandy Mott, one of the main villains in “AHS Freak Show.”
Finally, the “My Roanoke Nightmare” portion of this season concludes with our protagonists checking into a hotel after escaping The Butcher. It’s a reference to last year’s season, “Hotel,” meaning that “AHS Roanoke” has referenced all five seasons that came before it.
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How ‘American Horror Story Roanoke’ Is Calling Back to Every Past Season