The 15 Best ‘American Horror Story’ Characters

best american horror story characters

American Horror Story: Cult is currently underway, and the season is a remarkable return to form for the anthology series, which is semi-infamous for its great but occasionally hollow concepts. Still, even when the show flounders in plot, it’s an always-great showcase for actors looking to sink their teeth into meaty roles. Cult sees the return of AHS veterans like Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters, who are turning in career-best performances as the trauma and phobia-afflicted Ally Mayfair-Richards and the maniacal Kai Anderson.

To celebrate Cult’s excellent first streak of episodes, we’re looking back at the memorable characters of seasons past. Here are 15 American Horror Story characters who left a cutting impression on the fabric of the show, and who – given its interconnected nature – might just pop up again in the future.

best american horror story characters misty day

15. Misty Day, Coven

Misty doesn’t get much to do in Coven, and is killed off in a way that feels incongruent with the loving and spirit-filled good witch she was. But her flowing, Earth mother vibe was a welcomed breath of fresh air on a show often bogged down by darkness. Misty, the Stevie Nicks-obsessed woods witch with a gift for necromancy, had the style and substance of the best AHS characters. It’s hard to hear Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” without her slinking into your conscience.

best american horror story characters violet harmon

14. Violet Harmon, Murder House

Murder House is the best season of AHS, and Violet is a big reason why. Yes, she’s a petulant teenager – in the mold of Angela Chase and Lydia Deetz, largely disaffected by the horrors around her – but that lends a gravitas to the Harmon family, who move into the titular house and are immediately hammered by hauntings. Near the season’s end, we learn that the suicidal Violet was successful her attempt, and that she’s been dead for several episodes. It’s a great reveal made all the more tragic by Taissa Farming’s visible agony over the realization. Her relationship with Tate is also one of the show’s most memorable couplings – it’s a Heathers-style match made in hell that feels, somehow, daringly romantic in the best and worst ways.

best american horror story characters pepper

13. Pepper, Asylum/Freak Show

Pepper was an instantly iconic addition to the AHS family, so beloved that she plays a major character in two seasons – making her the first clue that the Horror Story world is interconnected. Her deformity – a form of microcephalia – made her a perfect fit for Fräulein Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities in Freak Show, but after the death of her lover, she is sent to live with her sister and is framed for the murder of her deformed nephew, which lands her in the Briarcliff Manor in Asylum. Pepper’s sweet and playful demeanor constants painfully with the tragedy of her life.

best american horror story characters adelaide langdon

12. Adelaide Langdon, Murder House

Jamie Brewer is excellent in both seasons that she appears, but it’s Murder House’s Adelaide where she gets the most development and care. Adelaide, the daughter of Jessica Lange’s Constance, is a protector: she warns the Harmon family to stay away from the haunted house they just moved into, which – by the season’s tragic end – turns prophetic. Her desire to be a “pretty girl” is met with disdain by her mother but leads to a tender friendship with Violet, the Harmon’s equally misunderstood daughter. Adelaide’s death is a harrowing moment – since it occurs beyond premises of the Murder House, she is unable to come back as a ghost, which lends the first iota of humanity to her grieving mother and creates one of AHS’s most gut-wrenching cappers.

best american horror story characters the countess

11. The Countess, Hotel

On paper, the Countess is way cooler than she is in action (apologies to Lady Gaga, who gives it her all but is void of the acting vibrancy needed to make the role sing). But it’s hard to deny the power of an ageless, seductive, bisexual vampire living in a fabulously cooky hotel. Her backstory is needlessly complicated, and Gaga is a low-grade Jessica Lange stand-in, but the Countess brings a level of irresistible glamor to AHS that it never quite dabbled in before. She’s evocative of Delphine Seyrig in Daughters of Darkness, with her pouty lips, luxurious furs, and milky white skin. It’s all such delicious imagery.

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