From the first moments of Wednesday's premiere, it was clear this season was going to be different than ever before. Instead of the traditional narrative, season 6 is being presented as a documentary -- complete with talking-heads style interviews.
When it comes to the season's theme, it appears to be somehow related to the famed lost Roanoke Colony in North Carolina, in which everyone mysteriously disappeared in 1590. However, the season, titled "My Roanoke Nightmare," is, for now, set in modern-day North Carolina, not the colonial era.
The first episode had a slower pace than seasons past, but that doesn't mean it wasn't without its fair share of scares, including a hailstorm of human teeth, creepy ghost twins, cleaver-wielding undead freaks, naked pig men and a forest floor that appears to be breathing and pulsating, among other freakish, gory apparitions.
With its hillbilly paranoia and twig-doll fascination, the premiere felt like a bizarre mix of Straw Dogs, The Hills Have Eyes, The Blair Witch Project, The Shinning and Children of the Corn all mixed into one. It's impossible to tell how many other iconic sources of horrific inspiration the season will pull from in future episodes.
While past seasons of AHS have announced the general theme ahead of the premiere -- and targeted their advertising to said theme -- this time around, the creators have been intentionally obtuse, especially in their promos.
From ‘50s B-movie classics to Texas Chainsaw Massacre-esque slashers, fans couldn't get any solid hint at what was in store for them this time around.
Going into the season, the only thing fans knew for sure was which AHS faves would be returning from past seasons. Paulson, Evan Peters, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Wes Bentley, Matt Bomer, Cheyenne Jackson and Lady Gaga are among the familiar faces, although none of their roles had been confirmed or even hinted at prior to the premiere.
Meanwhile, Gooding Jr., joined the cast for the first time.
"Wrong! You can look me dead in the eyes. You are wrong, dead wrong," Paulson declared. "And you will see that I am not lying to you." Check out the video below to hear more from the stalwart AHS castmember.