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The Hardest American Horror Story Scenes To Re-Watch According To Fans

The following article includes discussions of sensitive subjects such as sexual assault and abuse.

"American Horror Story" has never been for the faint of heart. Co-created by Ryan Murphy, the creative mind behind mature shows like FX's "Nip/Tuck," "American Horror Story" is just as horrific as advertised. First premiering in 2011 with the now-classic season "Murder House," the series takes well-traversed territory like the haunted house story and gives it a disturbing twist. This graphic content is part of the charm of the long-running anthology series. In addition to the blood and brutal subject matter, many have come to love the characters Murphy populates the world with. Series regulars such as Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters are a large draw to the show.

But it isn't without its downsides as well. Provocative content can sometimes be a double-edged sword. "American Horror Story" has pushed some boundaries to the limits, and there are just some scenes that are too much for fans to watch.

Fans unanimously agree that the hardest thing about Coven is Kyle and his mother

Part of the horror of "American Horror Story" are real-life circumstances that have nothing to do with the supernatural. Many Redditors agree that one of the most deplorable examples of this is in Season 3, "Coven," when Kyle's (Evan Peters) mother, Alicia (Mare Winningham), sexually abuses him.

"I was reading an old MTV article (19 Most Terrifying American Horror Stories Scenes) and on their list is the scene involving Kyle (Evan Peters) being sexually assaulted by his mom (Mare Winningham)," Redditor u/FunnyRevolutionary17 posted, adding that they fast forward through that scene when rewatching "Coven." Multiple users immediately agreed with the post, extrapolating on the issue. "I agree about Kyle and his mother in Coven, it's horrifying," commented u/lucyvgu. "What really angers me about it is that it brought literally nothing to the story, it was never brought up again, it was there for the sake of it."

The tragedy of the situation is how Kyle is powerless to stop her. After being brought back to life and pieced back together like the Frankenstein monster, Kyle has no autonomy. He is unable to speak up against her, making for a heartbreaking metaphor about real-life assault cases.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

The school shooting episode is more traumatic now than ever

School shootings were prevalent a decade ago when "American Horror Story" first premiered, but have since skyrocketed with record numbers in 2021. This devastating fact makes the events of "Murder House" hit too close to home for many viewers. Fueled by the evil forces within a Los Angeles estate, Tate Langdon (Evan Peters) kills a group of high school students in 1994. Not many fans find that scene easy to watch.

"Watching the school shooting scene in murder house really broke me. the students hiding and a couple trying to call for help/take down tate, and the teacher trying to protect the students .. the reality of it is heart breaking, i can't imagine having to experience such a thing," posted u/kiiinaaee. Some viewers find Tate's actions hit too close to home.

"I was in high school when Columbine happened so the last couple years for me was scary," confessed Redditor u/bearmuffin. "Thought once I left high school it'd be over but realized after sandy hook this will never change. Now that I work for the government we still train for active shooters." The increase in gun violence in America is hard to ignore. Schools are not the only places where this occurs. In recent years, many other groups have experienced tragic losses. Because of this, it is difficult to watch this sequence objectively. This scene stops being entertainment and becomes too real for many people. 

Asylum was difficult to stomach for many reasons

The follow-up to "Murder House" is even more horrific than its predecessor. Taking place in a 1960s asylum, Season 2 explores many examples of abuse that were hard for viewers to observe. "[T]he whole season of asylum was really hard to watch and i almost quit watching the show altogether because of that season," posted u/ramen3323. There are many traumatic scenes in the season, but the worst torment for fans of the show was watching Lana Winters' (Sarah Paulson) conversion therapy. Many noted that though this season was not contemporary, these types of torture were a long-standing tradition in America that still have implications today.

"I had to turn it off at the very beginning then it took years before I could even watch it because I'm a lesbian & know it wasn't long ago [...] that stuff happened regularly here in the US," pointed out u/karriejan. Lana endures a season of torment that fans are forced to watch. It isn't just the physical abuse that upset viewers, but emotional as well. "Anything with Sarah Paulson being tortured in Asylum. I don't know why, I know it's not even gruesome but mentally it's awful and I just watch it," posted u/kourttalksalot. Lana being forcibly admitted under false pretenses adds a level of discomfort to her plight as well. In addition to the realistic measures that facilities perpetrate against their patients, watching her suffer becomes obscene to a lot of viewers.