The American Horror Story: Coven Scene That Fans Agree Went Too Far

"American Horror Story" is never a show that shies away from the potential for controversy. From its inception in 2011, the FX horror anthology has consistently pushed the envelope and forced viewers to confront some of their deepest fears. While "Coven" is typically regarded as one of the most beloved seasons of the show, it was still full of many moments that forced fans of the show to stop and consider what they were seeing.

The witchy third season indulges in campiness alongside the horror, making space for everything including catty girl drama, deals with voodoo gods from the spirit world, and other genuinely uncomfortable moments that made fans squirm in their seats for all the wrong reasons. Queenie's (Gabourey Sidibe) steamy moment with the Minotaur (Ameer Baraka) and the multiple sexual assaults in "Coven" were among several scenes that shocked viewers. There are also several moments when appendages and/or organs were extracted, and this season stood out just as much for its occult themes as it did for gory procedures.

On the show's subreddit, u/nazia987 asked fans to share what scenes they found the scariest. One fan jokingly called the show "American Trauma Story" after scrolling through all of the frightening scenes. Unsurprisingly, one scene from "Coven" stood out among the various answers. After re-watching all episodes from "AHS: Coven," there's plenty of candidates for scenes that crossed the line from scary to outright traumatizing.

AHS Coven is full of appalling moments

When we stop to think about all the horrifying moments from "AHS: Coven," we wonder how Reddit managed to narrow it down to just one that went too far. The mere idea of Madame Delphine (Kathy Bates) systematically removing the toes of a gardener who had the audacity to come looking for a bandage makes our hairs stand on end. There's also Cordelia's (Sarah Paulson) self-imposed penance, where she decides that she can only gain The Sight by plucking out her own eyes with a set of garden shears. If nothing else, it's a great excuse to never do any work outside in the near future.

While we're on the subject of eyes, we can't forget about Myrtle's (Frances Conroy) weapon of choice. The next time you get a craving for fresh fruit, try not to think about the time she scooped out the eyes from the sockets of Cecily (Robin Bartlett) and Quentin (Leslie Jordan). It's bad enough that she extracts these from her two victims while they're still alive, but she took it a step further. Thanks to one of her concoctions, Cecily and Quentin are completely immobilized during this impromptu surgery. They can still feel every agonizing moment while Myrtle revels in her revenge.

We could spend hours dissecting (no pun intended) the brutal moments throughout "AHS: Coven" that make us want to reconsider ever attending a dinner party involving cocktails with garnishes, but there's only one that will haunt us until the end of our days.

The Minotaur's origin story

In keeping with many fan criticisms of "Coven" that have popped up in retrospectives of "American Horror Story," one Redditor pointed to the opening scene of the season premiere as being "unsettling," although we would say that's putting it mildly. The episode opens with real-life serial killer Madame Delphine LaLaurie hosting a party in New Orleans, where she is punishing her calculated daughter for trying to seduce a Black houseman, who takes the brunt of the punishment. What follows is one of the most horrifying sequences in the history of "AHS," transcending the horror genre and hitting even closer to home in today's cultural climate.

The racist, sadistic socialite brings the man, Bastien, to the attic, where it's revealed that she keeps slaves in a makeshift torture chamber. She cruelly mocks her abused captives, calling them "my pets" as they watch in horror while Bastien's head is covered by a hollowed-out bull's head. He whimpers while she says he's to become a beast since he acted like one, citing her inspiration as the mythological Greek minotaur.

Fans agreed that the brutal, grotesque scene went too far, with u/AutomaticAttorney274 saying, "I almost didn't watch the rest of the season after that." They're probably not the only one, and despite staying on the air for a decade, it makes us wonder how many potential "American Horror Story" fans have checked out thanks to the plethora of shocking moments through the show's history. Now that its spinoff, "American Horror Stories," is streaming on Hulu, there are even more possibilities for moments that will live rent-free in our minds.