The 3 Worst-Rated Seasons of ‘American Horror Story’ Based on Rotten Tomatoes Scores

Being an anthology series, American Horror Story can reinvent itself every single season. So while fans have come to love the series as a whole, everyone is drawn to each season differently. And each one is executed in a new way as well.

While this is a good way to keep people on their toes and not know what to expect with the series, it also means that some seasons don’t hit as well as others. Here are the three worst-rated seasons, based on Rotten Tomatoes. 

3. ‘Roanoke

Kathy Bates in ‘AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ROANOKE’ | Frank Ockenfels/FX

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 74 percent

American Horror Story: Roanoke was a top-secret season. While each season is filled with mystery, this one had no promo that hinted at what it could be about. Ryan Murphy made sure to keep it top secret until the first episode dropped. 

It turned out that the season focused on the Lost Colony of Roanoke, a real-life unsolved mystery from before this country was even founded. In Murder House, the very first season, this colony was mentioned when Billie Dean Howard told Violet how to get rid of a ghost (with the word “Croatoan”), which is a part of the Lost Colony’s mythology. 

The season touched on a couple that moved into a house on that land, which is, of course, haunted by the murderous colony. But then it dives into a show within a show, when audiences find out that they’re watching a reality show about the couple’s paranormal encounters. And then it becomes more layered from there. 

American Horror Story: Roanoke takes a surprising turn away from prior AHS formats, revisiting the deliberate pace of earlier seasons on a spookier, smaller scale, even if the true-crime format feels overdone,” the consensus reads on Rotten Tomatoes. By the end of the series, there are a few different shows that focus on this plot of land and so many deaths. 

2. ‘Murder House

Rotten Tomatoes score: 72 percent 

Interestingly, American Horror Story: Murder House is one of the worst-rated seasons when it’s one of the most fondly remembered by fans. Maybe it’s because it’s the first season, but Murder House is always on fan-favorite lists. It sets the precedent for gory, horrifying stories and sets it apart from any other horror media at the time. 

The Harmon family move into this 1920s house in Los Angeles and of course it’s haunted. But the ghosts inside hold so many dark secrets. They start to harm the family, and nothing ends well for them. The history of the house and its inhabitants is just as compelling as what happens to the Harmons. 

“Convoluted yet effective, American Horror Story is strange, gory, and twisted enough to keep viewers hooked,” the consensus reads. While critics thought there was too much going on, the characters, acting, and more were enough to make it succeed in the end. And the franchise was born. 

1. ‘Hotel’

Denis O'Hare as Liz and Evan Peters as Mr. March in 'AMERICAN HORROR STORY: HOTEL'
Denis O’Hare as Liz and Evan Peters as Mr. March in ‘AMERICAN HORROR STORY: HOTEL’ | Prashant Gupta/FX

Rotten Tomatoes score: 64 percent

Lastly, the worst-rated season is American Horror Story: Hotel. It’s the fifth season of the show and took it back to a modern-day look at a haunted, demonic hotel. This came after Freak Show, which took place in the 50s. It does go back and forth between the past and present, but it always gives off a Hollywood noir feel to it. Probably thanks to the glitzy vibe of the hotel’s decor. 

It’s also the season that starred Lady Gaga as the Countess, aka a vampire-like creature who has a lot of glamorous drama. This season is particularly gory, thanks in part to the vampires and Evan Peters’ Mr. March.  

“Favoring garish style over effective storytelling, the fifth American Horror Story strands a talented cast at Ryan Murphy’s Hotel,” the consensus said. Hotel is definitely all about style and there are some loose ends when it comes to characters. But it also does a good job of redeeming some roles for fans in the end. 

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