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What You Need To Remember From AHS Before Watching The Spin-Off

Contains spoilers for "American Horror Stories" Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2

The first few episodes of "American Horror Stories" are finally on Hulu, and fans of the original "American Horror Story" series are split on the new spin-off. The new anthology differs from its predecessor by focusing on a new gory story per week, rather than delving into one for an entire season. "American Horror Stories" also isn't a traditional sequel per se, since only some of the beloved "AHS" alumni are set to make appearances. Rather, Ryan Murphy — the man behind the madness — is bringing new characters to life through his own creepy renditions of urban legends and myths, which are sure to be just as terrifying as the original "AHS."

Though "American Horror Stories" is a standalone project, there are a few fun "AHS" Easter eggs sprinkled throughout each episode, as seen in the two-part Season One premiere titled "Rubber (Wo)man, Part One and Part Two" — complete with a blink-and-you-miss-it "AHS" cameo. With the recurring characters and themes, both series also appear to be set within the same universe, so there are a few "AHS" tidbits that you should keep in mind before you watch "American Horror Stories."

Rubber (Wo)man, Part One and Part Two is a return to Murder House

"AHS" fans will immediately recognize the setting of the "American Horror Stories" premiere. It's set in the infamous Murder House from "AHS" Season One, where we first meet some iconic "AHS" characters, including Violet (Taissa Farmiga), Ben (Dylan McDermott), and Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton) as well as Tate (Evan Peters) and Constance (Jessica Lange) Langdon. 

The title of the two-part premiere, "Rubber (Wo)man," is, of course, a reference to the rubber suit made famous in "Murder House" thanks to its devilish tendency to render its wearer evil. If you haven't yet seen "AHS: Murder House" or it's been a while, refreshing your memory will be beneficial before watching "American Horror Stories."

There are tons of other references to "Murder House" in "American Horror Stories," like the creepy Pig Man urban legend and a visit from the murderous Infantata (now played by Shane Carpenter). Aside from the first two episodes taking place in the literal Murder House, the latex gimp suit also plays a big part in the premiere.

Sharp-eyed fans even noticed a quick cameo from a fan-favorite character, though it's easy to miss — a green blur, reminiscent of Tate in his characteristic green sweater, lurks in the corner during a short sequence. It's a fun cameo to seek out, and hints that there may be more cameos in upcoming episodes of "American Horror Stories."

Halloween is a big deal in the AHS universe

Another important thing to remember about "AHS" is that Halloween is a huge event for both the living and the dead. In the first season of "AHS," we learned that although ghosts usually can't leave the physical place where they died, they can do so on only one night per year — Halloween.

In "AHS: Murder House," the ghosts of the students Tate murdered chased him down and forced him to confront his violent past, and it was the first time we learned of the special night for ghosts to cross into the living world. This is important to remember for "American Horror Stories," since viewers who are new to the "AHS" world may not quite understand why Ruby (Kaia Gerber) — a ghost living in the Murder House — is able to suddenly leave and spend time with her living girlfriend, Scarlett (Sierra McCormick).

Again, since we don't know much about future "American Horror Stories" episodes, there's a chance we'll see more ghostly Halloween-themed content, so keep the Halloween loophole in the back of your mind.

Ghosts have to follow certain rules

While the ghosts in "AHS" and its spin-off series may seem all-powerful at times, it's important to remember that ghosts do have to follow certain rules in the "AHS" world. First, ghosts have physical limitations, as previously mentioned — spirits are tethered to the place they died. This rule is carried throughout different series of "AHS," including "Murder House," "Hotel," "Roanoke," and "1984."

Ghosts in the "AHS" franchise also have limitations to their powers. Though spirits like Tate and Moira O'Hara (Frances Conroy) allow themselves to be perceived by living humans if they're told to leave, the ghosts have no control at that point and are forced into the shadows, unseen. Mediums like Billie Dean Howard (Sarah Paulson) can also force ghosts to come forward if they need to speak to them for whatever reason, and ghosts can't resist when called.

The limitations of the new ghosts in "American Horror Stories" will be interesting to see, but there's no doubt that each one will have some sort of weakness or limit to their abilities.

Ryan Murphy doesn't hold back

Another crucial thing to remember from "AHS" before watching "American Horror Stories" is that Ryan Murphy absolutely doesn't shy from depicting gory, violent, and downright terrifying stories. There are countless "AHS" moments that went too far, and the amount of violence and gore seems to ramp up with each season. That said, Murphy is sure to be just as — if not more — daring with the scares and blood in "American Horror Stories."

Though Murphy has faced plenty of criticism for the amount of disturbing content in "AHS," he spoke to Deadline about the show, and he revealed that as a viewer, he isn't easily offended himself. "But I grew up as an artist in the '80s with huge cultural discussions about [Andres] Serrano and 'Piss Christ' and 'Should it be banned,' and 'Should somebody be allowed to create certain kinds of work? I never do anything to offend," he said. Nonetheless, his oeuvre can be quite disturbing to watch at times, so be mindful if you're sensitive to violent content. 

It remains to be seen just how far Murphy will push the envelope in "American Horror Stories," but we'll see soon when the next episode premieres on Hulu.