On Wednesday (Oct. 19), “American Horror Story” took a pivot that even Donald Trump would envy. Up until “Chapter 6,” “Roanoke” has been a haunted house tale based firmly in the lore of the Lost Colony. But after last week’s episode, which gave the conclusion of Matt and Shelby’s “Roanoke Nightmare,” Ryan Murphy’s genre series broke down the fourth wall in a way we weren’t quite expecting.
When Cheyenne Jackson turned up in the preview clip for the new episode, the internet burst with a whole barrage of theories. And while we originally thought “My Roanoke Nightmare” was Billie Dean Howard’s show, it’s been revealed that Jackson is Sidney — the producer of the whole dang thing. In a very Hollywood turn of events, he somehow gets everyone to agree on a sequel series that puts a “Big Brother” spin on the horrors that transpired in Roanoke.
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“Return to Roanoke: Three Days in Hell” is that project, and not only have all the actors in the re-enactment returned to live in the foreboding house built by one Edward Philippe Mott (Evan Peters), they are joined by Shelby (Lily Rabe), Matt (Andre Holland) and Lee (Adina Porter), to be secretly filmed during the 2016 Blood Moon. What could possibly go wrong?
It’s an equally intriguing and silly sounding idea to turn the story in such a way. Whether compared to the likes of “The Blair Witch Project” or “Halloween: Resurrection,” the Ryan Murphy series has stepped into a horror sub-genre it has yet to explore: Found footage.
We’ve got to admit, it’s taken some acclimating to be re-introduced to the same faces all over again. Further, having the actors in the same room with the people they portrayed on “My Roanoke Nightmare” causes quite the conflict. And while the drama is sure to play out in the coming episodes — Lee’s innocence and the beef between Matt and Dominic (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) are definite stand outs — we can’t help but wonder if this twist was the best move for the show.
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Found footage, for the most part, is a genre past its prime. In 2012, ABC attempted to bring a found footage series to the small screen with “The River” and it was canceled before the first season could play out. “Blair Witch,” the highly anticipated sequel to the big screen genre classic, performed poorly at the box office.
And then there’s “Halloween: Resurrection.” If you’ve seen the Busta Rhymes-starring sequel of the popular horror film franchise, you know it’s not always a good idea to put a bunch of people in a house, plant hidden cameras and fake jump scares, with the intention of delivering a well-rounded horror story to audiences. That film is probably the most laughable in the Michael Myers series. It probably shouldn’t, but it makes us worry about the outcome of “Roanoke.”
We are now halfway done with Season 6 of “American Horror Story” and it’s hard not to wonder if the show’s big twist is also its biggest downfall. It’s too early to tell. However, if previous attempts at bringing found footage to the small screen is any indication, we have some serious misgivings on how this will all play out.
The plus side? Only one person will apparently survive “Return to Roanoke: Three Days in Hell.”
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With Rory (Evan Peters) already eliminated, we should have some fun speculating who will remain standing at season’s end. For some reason, we think it’ll be Matt or Dominic. After all, we haven’t seen the last of Scathach (Lady Gaga). She had quite a thing for Shelby’s husband the first time around. What’s stopping them from taking their relationship to the next level?
“American Horror Story: Roanoke” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.