American Horror Story prides itself on shocking, bloody, horrific tableaus, as characters both beloved and detested meet their makers in due course.
There have been dozens and dozens of deaths throughout the five seasons of the series, and there will surely be plenty more to come in the upcoming American Horror Story Season 6 – regardless of the fact that we don't even know yet what the theme of the new season will be.
We've watched as characters who were considered heroes met shocking and unexpected ends and as villains finally got their satisfying comeuppances. Among the many ends throughout the series, a few characters' deaths stand out as particularly shocking – either because of the way they died, the timing, or the circumstances around their demise.
Here are 17 of the most shocking deaths – so far – throughout American Horror Story's five seasons, before the upcoming sixth season tops them all.
American Horror Story Season 6 will premiere at 10/9c on FX on Wednesday, September 14th. Be sure to check back here for our review of the season premiere!
I can't imagine anyone was expecting Constance's scarred beau Larry Harvey to randomly appear and clonk Ben's mistress Hayden over the head with a shovel, killing her instantly, as a "favor" to a shocked Ben.
When AHS does body horror, it really goes all out. "Nymphomaniac" Shelley was butchered and experimented on beyond recognition by the sadistic ex-Nazi Doctor Arden in the Briarcliff Asylum. The Monsignor's decision to strangle a suffering Shelley with his rosary came across as a definite act of mercy.
Johnny Morgan (aka Bloody Face 2)
The climactic death of the season was absolutely Lana's murder of Johnny Morgan, the psychotic child she'd given up for adoption who was conceived during Dr. Thredson's rape of Lana. Johnny was a seriously damaged serial killer (much like the dear old "dad" he'd never known), so his death was a long time coming -- didn't make it any less shocking to see Lana actually pull the trigger.
Each of Grace's two deaths were sudden and surprising, but her butchering by a deranged and damaged Alma was particularly gruesome. Grace's final (and lasting) death cut short the apparently happy life she'd built with Kit and their child (and Alma and their child).
Like Sarah Paulson's characters, every character portrayed by Evan Peters is known for having a major role in the story. His "Coven" character Kyle Spencer was killed in the bus crash enacted by a furious Madison Montgomery (after her gang rape at the hands of Kyle's fraternity brothers), and it was super unexpected. Of course, he wasn't gone for long.
Madison was gearing up to become the next Supreme. She seemed like the most likely candidate for a while -- at least until reigning Supreme Fiona Goode very suddenly confronted her possible successor and slashed her throat. Madison's later (final) death at Kyle's hands was also quite dark and gruesome -- he straight-up murdered her in cold blood in retribution for allowing his love Zoe to die.
Misty's death was one of the most chilling of the series. Free-spirited and pure-hearted, Misty was trapped in her own personal heath for ETERNITY after she was unable to return to the world of the living during Descensum, one of the Seven Wonders that each of the coven members needed to perform in order to become the next Supreme. She's stuck dissecting frogs forever. It sucks.
A deranged magician under the influence of his murderous puppet alter ego literally sawed her in half, as all of the freaks looked on in horror. It was bloody and unexpected, and I can never quite look at Neil Patrick Harris the same way again.
(Almost) All of the Freaks
"Freak Show" had one of the highest body counts of any season. The loony sadistic serial killer Dandy Mott picked off each of the freaks one by one in a disturbing and bloody sequence, as a result of a psychotic rampage, shortly after he bought the freak show for himself.
Tristan's death was heartbreaking. His love story with Liz was so adorable. So, naturally, the jealous Countess unexpectedly slashed his throat, denying Liz her happy ending. Boo.
Detective John Lowe
Detective Lowe managed to survive most of the season and function as a serial killer at large -- only to be suddenly gunned down by a SWAT team just short of the hotel, ensuring that his spirit actually couldn't be trapped there.
Sister Jude's death was shocking in that it was much more peaceful than we might've expected. She was saved from dying alone, demented, and disgraced as an inmate at the asylum by her own former prisoner Kit Walker and functioned as a member of Kit's family and a grandmother-figure to his kids before dying peacefully in his home. Unexpectedly heartwarming for American Horror Story, that's for sure.
Poor Addie only wanted to be "a pretty girl." Instead, she was suddenly and shockingly mowed down by a car on Halloween night, dying on the street outside and not even in the haunted house, leaving her mother Constance with three dead kids.
Jamie Brewer has a penchant for portraying loveable fan favorite characters on American Horror Story who are killed off unexpectedly and in heartwrenching ways. In clairvoyant Nan's case, she was murdererd by Fiona and voodoo witch Marie Laveau, who intended to use her as an "innocent sacrifice" to Papa Legba in exchange for immortality.
The Countess survived more than one attempt on her pseudo-immortal life, only to be suddenly gunned down by Detective John Lowe (aka, the Ten Commandments Killer). This was moments after Elizabeth had successfully convinced Ramona not to kill her herself. Oh, well.
This is truly the original shocking death in the series. Violet died but didn't realize she had actually died until several episodes later. Tate showing Violet her own corpse and revealing the truth to her is one of the most intense moments in all five seasons.
Drug-addicted, masochistic Sally had a terrible, tragic life that ended quite graphically when an irate and distressed Iris found that Sally's drug supply had resulted in Iris' beloved son Donovan's death. Iris shoved Sally out of a window in a very shocking moment of cold-blooded murder. It was especially surprising because Sarah Paulson's characters virtually ALWAYS survived their given season prior to that. On the plus side, Sally did manage to become internet famous, post-death.