American Horror Story has taken us on a pretty wild ride over the last six years. We started out with Dr. Harmon and his family when they moved into a house with a dark and twisted history and from there we were hooked. Next up we took a trip to a mental asylum run by a sadistic nurse and a Nazi doctor who liked to perform strange experiments on forgotten patients. Season three took us into the world of witches and by season four we were lining up for tickets to the Freak Show. The creators were able to keep it fresh with a hotel filled with vampires and ghosts for season five and season six took us behind the scenes of the mysterious Roanoke.
With season seven about to air in less than two weeks American Horror Story fever is in the air and while we wait for the latest story to unfold we thought you might enjoy a few behind the scenes pictures from the show.
You might be able to watch an entire season of AHS in just a few hours but it takes months of work to make that possible. Here are a few rare pictures from behind the scenes of your favorite FX series.
15 Head On A Platter
When the cast for American Horror Story: Cult was announced fans were sad to hear that Kathy Bates would not be returning. She’s become part of the bedrock of AHS and we are going to miss her dearly. Sadly, she was already committed to her new show Disjointed and wasn’t able to shoot both shows at the same time. She will be dearly missed but let’s hope she’ll be back for season 8!
Bates has appeared four times throughout Ryan Murphy’s horror anthology, starting with Coven in 2013 where she played the intimidating Madame Delphine LaLaurie. This role netted her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie.
Here we see her cracking a smile while carrying a model of her own head on platter – what a lady.
14 The Witches Are Coming
Evan Peters and Taissa Farmiga brought incredible chemistry to AHS: Murder House so fans were ecstatic when they played alongside each other again in AHS: Coven. In Murder House Peters played the ghost of a school shooter who falls in love with the young Violet but in Coven, their romantic involvement was even more twisted. In this season Farmiga plays a young witch who feels so guilty about the death of a teenage boy called Kyle that she decides to bring him back to life – Frankenstein-style – with a little help from her fellow witch, Madison (played by Emma Roberts). Needless to say, it doesn’t turn out quite the way she had hoped but Peters and Farmiga are definitely a winning combination! Let’s hope we will get to see them play side by side again soon.
13 That Doesn’t Look Like Evan Peters
Wait a minute – that doesn’t look like Evan Peters wearing the infamous black rubber suit does it? Well, it’s not. This is a picture of Dylan McDermott and a stunt double named Adam Hart as they plot out their intensive fight scene. Hart was just one of the 40 stunt people hired for the first season of American Horror Story.
But let’s get back to the rubber suit and Evan Peters for a minute. Did you know that he was completely naked underneath that tight outfit? It’s true. Peters revealed in an interview that the suit was so tight he had to use lubricant to get into it. And he still managed to split one of the suits as well. AHS went through eight rubber suits while making Murder House.
12 Swapping Stories
Here we see Michael Graziadei and Rebecca Wisocky swapping stories between takes in the “basement” on the set of AHS: Murder House.
Brad Falchuk said that although the storyline of the series was dark it was hard not to smile on set. He said, “You've got this insane, ether-addicted ghost abortionist doctor birthing these two twins, one of them is Satan’s child, and the other one is this poor little brother that’s been parasitically shed off by Satan, his older brother, Satan’s spawn. Meanwhile, you have these two murdered ghosts and they’re assisting. And you have the baby stolen away by the dead mistress of the guy who thinks he’s the father of both children but is actually only the father of one, and the one that dies. The dead baby is taken away. And Jessica Lange is in the room. How do you not have a smile on your face?”
11 Break Time
You know how people are always saying that actors are just like regular people? Well here is proof. This is something you don’t see every day – a coven of witches sitting around playing on their phones! If you’ve ever wondered what actors do during their breaks here’s the answer – the same thing that you do when you have a few minutes to spare – check out your Facebook or catch up on emails.
In this rare behind the scenes picture from AHS: Coven we see Sarah Paulson, Taissa Farmiga, Gabourey Sidibe, and Lily Rabe, relaxing in-between takes in their distinctive black witchy costumes. So yes, actors are just regular people who are just as addicted to their smartphones as the rest of us. Feel better now?
10 Double Take
AHS co-creator Ryan said that he wasn’t initially sure whether or not they would be able to pull off the two head look for Sarah Paulson’s characters in Freak Show. "I really wanted Sarah to be both roles because I thought that would be more challenging. We did a test early on that was good, but I didn't love it. I thought if we kept working on it, it would get better - and it did,” he said.
It took a lot of work to get it right but the effect was mesmerizing for viewers. In order to create the two different Tattler sisters, Paulson was required to wear one of two prosthetic heads during the filming. Each scene that she was in took up to 15 hours to film!
9 It’s Really Just The Makeup
The scene where Evan Peters walks through the school hall with his face painted to look like a skull was arguably one of the best moments of AHS: Murder House and Peter’s portrayal of Tate earned him legions of fans. Here he is behind the scenes - not looking so scary!
The series creators have teased that Evan’s role in the upcoming AHS: Cult, will be his best ever and that’s saying something. So far he’s played a school shooter, an asylum inmate, a boy who gets rebuilt Frankenstein- style, a Freak Show lobster boy, a serial killer and an actor but not much is known about his new character Kai apart from the fact that he will be romantically involved with Sarah Paulson’s character. Guess we will all just have to wait and see!
8 Lobster Boy
Oh the things Evan Peters did with those lobster hands in AHS: Freak Show – it’s enough to make you blush! But here’s a picture from behind the scenes that shows just what it took to turn him into Lobster Boy and from what we can tell it looks like it was a pretty gruelling process.
Like many characters in American Horror Story, Lobster Boy was based on a real person but he wasn’t anything like the sweet Jimmy Darling. His name was Grady Franklin Stiles Jr. and he was born with a condition called ectrodactyly, which caused his fingers and toes to fuse together. He was a violent drunk and even murdered his daughter’s fiancée but never went to jail for the crime because at the time no state institution could care for a man with his condition.
7 Behind The Scenes Artists
Who can forget that scene from the AHS: Hotel where John guns down Lady Gaga’s character, The Countess, and then presents her severed head to James March as a trophy? Well, here’s a picture that might ruin that moment for you a little. This is a rare behind the scenes look at one of the talented artists who made that moment possible by creating the life-like model of the characters head and face.
But despite being visually incredible AHS: Hotel still received mixed reviews. Some critics were not crazy about Lady Gaga in the leading lady role but she certainly had big shoes to fill when Jessica Lange stepped out of the series. Matt Zoller Seitz of Vulture said that Lady Gaga was "terrible here in the way that Madonna was terrible in a lot of her '90s films, at once too poised and too blank” while David Weiland of San Francisco Chronicle said Gaga "makes an enormous visual impact, but the minute she opens her mouth to deliver a line, it's obvious that acting just isn't one of her many talents”.
6 Being Nan
Did you know that Jamie Brewer made her television debut as Addie in AHS: Murder House? She said she heard about the role via a friend and decided to go for it. She said, “They were looking for a young lady with Down syndrome who could act. My headshot and resume were submitted and I was called for an audition and, to my surprise, I got the part. I was so excited." The creators enjoyed her performance so much that she was invited to appear again in AHS: Coven, where she played the role of Nan – a young witch who can hear what people are thinking. She also appeared in AHS: Freak Show as Marjorie for two episodes.
This inspirational young lady also became the first model with Down Syndrome to walk the New York Fashion Week catwalk in 2015. Impressive!
5 Night Time At The Freak Show
For season four of American Horror Story, fans were invited to Freak Show like no other at Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities. The crew returned to shoot Freak Show in Louisiana (where Coven was also filmed although it was set in New Orleans) and filming took place over an intensely hot and humid summer. If you’ve ever had to work in the sweltering heat you’ll agree that it must have been quite a relief to shoot at night. But filming close to swamp lands came with its own set of challenges and we’re not talking about a murderous clown either. We’re talking about alligators! Apparently, they also wanted a behind the scenes look at the Freak Show which meant that everyone had to be extra careful especially when shooting close to the water.
4 Just Chilling In His Towel
Imagine getting up, getting dressed and going to work only to find that you have to wear a towel all day? Sounds pretty good, right? No itchy ties or uncomfortable pants, just a nice thick cotton bath towel. Well, that’s what Dylan McDermott got to do on the set of AHS on this day. Lucky guy! This behind the scenes snap captures him just taking a quick break and chatting with the production staff. This is taken from the scene where he and Rubber Man have a fight if you are struggling to place it.
McDermott said that he truly enjoyed making AHS: Murder House even though he knew from the beginning that his character and family would end up dying at the end. He knew that there would be no season 2 with the Harmon family but said that he loves this new way of doing a series: with a different set of characters each time.
3 Behind The Scenes At Briarcliff Manor
Here's a glimpse behind the scenes of American Horror Story: Asylum. This season brought to life all of our worst fears about mental institutions, didn’t it? There was little understanding for the poor patients of Briarcliff and only a life full of misery and barbaric treatments to suffer. Although Briarcliff Manor was a fictional place this season also highlighted what life was really like for mental patients back in the day and it painted a pretty scary picture.
Ryan Murphy had this to say when the season’s new name was announced in August 2012, "We picked 'Asylum' because it not only describes the setting – an insane asylum run by Jessica Lange's character which was formerly a tuberculosis ward – but also signifies a place of haven for the unloved and the unwanted. This year's theme is about sanity and tackling real life horrors.”
2 The Lady Is Here
Even though Lady Gaga was new to acting when she starred in AHS: Hotel her co-stars said they learned a lot from her. One of them was Evan Peters who said this about his experience working with Gaga, “Well, I mean to me, it was exciting because she is new to acting, but she is very good at it and was willing to get into it more than a lot of veteran actors, so it was very refreshing and cool to see her dive into it. Each take was very different and sometimes a little scary because you didn’t know what you were going to get. It was all very instinctual, which was very cool to work with and sort of get you out of your head and sort of back into the instinct of acting. It was awesome to work with her. I learned a lot."
1 The Real Star Of Hotel
Denis O’Hare is the most underrated cast member of American Horror Story. He started out with a minor role in AHS: Murder House and in Coven, and gave an incredible mute performance of the creepy Spalding. He returned again for Freak Show but by far his best performance of the franchise so far was as Liz Taylor in AHS: Hotel.
O’Hare admitted that he was nervous about taking on the role but it turned out to be one of the highlights of his AHS journey, “When Ryan (Murphy) first described the character, I got nervous and a little bit scared, even though I trust Ryan and I love all of my 'Horror Story' characters. I never thought of playing a transgender part. I've never explored that side of myself. I've never worn high heels or put on a dress. So those weren't things I was comfortable doing."