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Chapter 1 

1:35 | Trailer
Matt and Shelby, a couple from Los Angeles, leave the city and move into a mysterious house in North Carolina, where strange things begin to occur.


Bradley Buecker


Ryan Murphy (created by), Brad Falchuk (created by) | 4 more credits »





Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Kathy Bates ... Thomasin 'The Butcher' White
Sarah Paulson ... Shelby Miller
Cuba Gooding Jr. ... Matt Miller
Lily Rabe ... Shelby Miller
André Holland ... Matt Miller
Denis O'Hare ... Dr. Elias Cunningham
Wes Bentley ... Ambrose White
Evan Peters ... Edward Phillipe Mott (credit only)
Cheyenne Jackson ... Sidney James (credit only)
Angela Bassett ... Lee Harris
Adina Porter ... Lee Harris
Charles Malik Whitfield ... Mason Harris
Colby French ... Officer
Larry Cedar ... Auctioneer
Grady Lee Richmond ... Ishmael Polk


This season of American Horror Story starts off by claiming it is based on true events. We are introduced to a couple documentary style and their story is re-enacted. The main place of location is in the south; in a home the couple has recently purchased. Upon arival at their home they notice strange, scary, and weird things happening. They invite a family member, who was a former cop, to stay with them. Now these three people are witnesses to the abnormal happenings in and around their the home. Written by Vanessa Cervantes

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Horror | Thriller


TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

14 September 2016 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


Orson Chaplin, who plays one of the hillbillies, "Cain Polk," is the grandson of Charles Chaplin. See more »


When Shelby is in the kitchen cooking, she walks to the island bench and starts cutting a carrot. She chops the carrot once to remove the end of the carrot and moves that piece to the side. She then continues cutting. The screen moves to Shelby's face and you can hear 5 distinct chops of the carrot but when the camera looks back down to the knife as she sits it down to investigate the noise, there is only 3 pieces of carrot attached to the knife and no other pieces on the board. See more »


References The Blair Witch Project (1999) See more »


American Horror Story Theme
Written by Cesar Davila-Irizarry and Charlie Clouser
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User Reviews

Fascinating Mise En Scene: Narration of "Re-Enactment"
17 September 2016 | by bbelledonnaSee all my reviews

Creating an intriguingly different type of presentation of a horror story based in late 16th century Roanoke Island, NC, Murphy and Fulchuk have been creatively innovative, yet again.

The fact that in "Chapter 1," people of color, headed by top talents, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Angela Bassett, are the intelligent, working, main players of a Black cast predominant episode, with the Caucasian's either being the neo-confederate, "ZZ Top wannabes," (brilliant script line, that) uncouth, degenerate "rednecks," or good for nothing 'bad old boy' so called 'police' who do anything but protect and serve, the loose serial rapist suicider and a Los Angeles hazing gang and assailant, all very true to real life in US society Caucaians today; then, add the non-Black spookological characters too (the Polks, et al), and it IS quite likely to have an impact of revealing those viewers who believe they are not, but really are, racists from those who truly are not bigots! Brilliant! I say do it.

Bravo to Murphy and Fulchuk and every player in Chapter 1 for putting US racism up front and center, in our faces. As Streisand alluded to when presenting the 1st woman director, Kathryn Bigelow, an Oscar (for "The Hurt Locker"), after being overlooked herself a half dozen times(!), 'well, at long last' (paraphrasing). That's how I come away from experiencing "Chapter 1."

Who cares in the least if Lily Rabe looks like Sarah Paulson? Rabe's narration's clearly telling the story Sarah Paulson's 're-enacting'. Doing so clarifies the feelings of Paulson's Mrs. Miller. This technique serves to help me empathize all the more with Mrs. Miller's senses of fear.

Similarly, Andre' Holland need not look like Cuba Gooding, Jr. (who does? gorgeous as he is!) to describe the feelings that Gooding's quite aptly conveying through his incarnation of Mr. Miller.

This rather unique style of creating a 'story inside of a story' (Mise en Scene) is daringly different on TV, so much so the doing thereof leaves very little to be mistaken. The writers and directors are making sure the events being depicted can be understood by an 8th grade American mind! (i.e. the scientific average of the intellect of American TV viewers).

Mind you, neither the creators nor the actors are "talking down" to us as an audience. They are trying, instead, to bring us along with them, at their own levels of understanding. Should we, as viewers be the least bit surprised that this cast and crew want us to appreciate human social diversity? I think not. The previous 5 seasons do a heap more than 'suggest' otherwise.

The substance of the historical 16th century story is obviously well researched, from this Anthropologist's academic researcher's point of view. Murphy alluded to Season 1 lending to what Season 6 would focus more intensely upon: "Croatoan," the American Indian word left where the North Carolinian, Roanoke Islanders had once been living before they mysteriously disappeared over 400 years ago.

After viewing this episode 12 times, many scenes in super slow motion, then talking with co-viewers in my home, to gather their impressions (which I highly recommend doing), I'm awed, intrigued, fascinated and assuredly looking forward to "Chapter 2." In the grand old fashion of Sir Alfred Hitchcock, the British Master of Suspense, Murphy, Fulchuk, cast and crew wisely succeeded keeping secret the very theme, story line, adaptation and historical fact bases of what I hope will keep playing out through the remaining 9 episodes to come.

The mystery of the late 16th century, North Carolinian, Roanoke Islanders disappearing is one that still invites archaeological researchers to the geographical location to make new, recent discoveries where the Islanders were last known to be.

It takes imagination, combined with quite open-minded creative intellect, the kind that's willing to allow a spookological story based on a very mysterious occurrence in Southern US history, now brought 4.75 centuries forward into the beginning of the 21st century, to re-open a real unsolved mystery by exposing it as horrifying.

Perhaps the real horror is that 21st century supremacism of every kind is horrifying!

Bring it on creatively, in full glorious diversity, telling it like it is socially right here, right now, in the nearby South, where the actual events took place. Let's all discover if, as Americans, we are actually American or latent fascist supremacists.

(Oh how I can just imagine the myriad of viewers squirming in their stirred up discomfort, perhaps for the 1st time, just beginning to realize we're not quite as open-minded, open-hearted and cutting edge a Westernized nation as we'd like to believe and ever so arrogantly boast).

When a work of creative performance art has the capacity to create social change it is cutting edge.

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