Which horror series is right for you this fall season?


Maggie Curran, Opinion Editor

As unlikely as it seems, aside from both being created by Ryan Murphy and falling under the “horror series” genre, the television show “American Horror Story” and the new Fox series, “Scream Queens”, have next to nothing in common. However, the recent trend of horror television is becoming increasingly popular, and in the midst of October, there’s no better time to jump into a new spooky series. If you don’t have time to watch hours of television and decide for yourself, we’ve compared the two shows to help determine which one best fits your slasher needs.

American Horror Story:

There are only two episodes thus far, and already the fifth season of “American Horror Story (AHS)” is proving to be the creepiest, goriest, and most baffling installment yet… and that’s really saying something. “AHS” has found its (surprisingly large) cult following– a crowd that loves great acting, cringe-worthy plotlines, and of course, plenty of gore. And while “American Horror Story: Hotel” lived up to this standard within its first 5 minutes, it’s already clear that this season is on a whole new level.

At the end of last season, “AHS: Freak Show”, fans were more than a bit disappointed. The makers of “AHS” were working with a goldmine: an ensemble cast, brilliant costume and set design, and the kind of attention only a one-of-a-kind series can draw. But as the weeks went on, the plot grew more muddled, the characters became less endearing, and interest in the show tanked. It was less a horror story than it was a tragedy. Needless to say, the stakes were high for “AHS: Hotel”, and the makers of “AHS” did not take last season’s dissatisfaction lightly.

Without Jessica Lange and Emma Roberts this season, the show needed new big names to draw attention, and found them in Lady Gaga, Matt Bomer, Max Greenfield, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Wes Bentley. They join recurring cast members such as Kathy Bates, Evan Peters, and Sarah Paulson at the Hotel Cortez in Los Angeles, California, where bad service is the least of the guests’ problems.

In addition to a revamped cast, “AHS: Hotel” has featured more blood, guts, and unsettling circumstances in its first two weeks than “AHS: Freak Show” did all season, which, depending on just how much creepy you can handle, may or may not be a bad thing. While it’s too early to figure out “AHS: Hotel’s” niche, there’s plenty of intriguing stories already in the works for these characters that are worth sticking around for.


If watching Lady Gaga slit the throats of multiple people does not sound appealing, I would maybe skip “AHS: Hotel”. If this does pique your interest, make your reservation for Wednesday nights.

Scream Queens:

With similar cinematography, jokes, and Lea Michele, the new Fox series, “Scream Queens”, is essentially the college-aged, bratty-sorority-girl version of “Glee”, minus the singing and plus a masked psycho killer. In the first two episodes alone, several characters were axed, stabbed, mowed, and even fried to death, but not without a witty one-liner first. If it sounds ridiculous and completely unrealistic, that’s because it is. But it’s also ridiculously and completely entertaining.

Emma Roberts, formally on “American Horror Story”, steals the show as Chanel, the immoral and insensitive Kappa Kappa Tau sorority president with a wardrobe to die for. However, there are plenty of other big names in the show’s cast list. Lea Michele, Nick Jonas, Ariana Grande, KeKe Palmer, Abigail Breslin, “Saturday Night Live’s” Nasim Pedrad, and horror-film legend Jamie Lee Curtis have all made their “Scream Queens” debut.

The show itself is a sort of tribute to classic horror films, complete with references to iconic films such as “Silence of the Lambs” and “The Shining”. It follows the stereotypical slasher-movie formula: a group of teenagers is targeted by a masked killer, the group of teenagers foolishly goes about stopping the killer, and the killer does its killing. It’s a little predictable, sure, but the witty screenwriting is enough to keep you watching every week.

While the scares in “Scream Queens” are nothing compared to “American Horror Story”, the comedy is what really makes this series stand out. In its own way, the series makes fun of itself, its characters, and the real horrors behind college Greek life. Subtle jabs at the truth behind the racist, sexist, and otherwise cruel behavior in sororities and fraternities make “Scream Queens “much more than another silly sitcom, but less frightening than the average thriller. It’s horror television with a twist, and it works.


If you can’t handle true horror but can handle a mob of naïve sorority girls foolishly taking on a masked serial killer, “Scream Queens” is your best bet this season.