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Entertainment Weekly

TV

The best American Horror Story characters

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American Horror Story

American Horror Story has given us many things over the years: clowns, aliens, witches, ghosts, serial killers, ghosts of serial killers, and more. It's given us twists (some earned, some not), gore, political satire, sass, and oh so much death. No two seasons are alike — it is an anthology, after all — but one thing remains consistent year after year: the memorable characters. Here, EW compiled a list of the best and most memorable characters from all the seasons of the FX horror series. Spoilers abound, so scroll through at your own risk. (Editor's note: We aren't including any characters from the current season of AHS, so that we can judge newer characters based on their entire story arcs.)
Robert Zuckerman/FX

Tate Langdon (Evan Peters)

Though Evan Peters has gone on to play many memorable characters on the show, it's his turn in Murder House that stands out. Not only was it the part that marked the beginning of Peters' massive following among AHS fans, but it's his most nuanced and interesting character. Between his horrible parents and growing up in a house that is the very definition of evil, the mentally disturbed Tate never really had a chance to be good, and yet, at times he managed to be both noble and despicable. Tate's actions (fathering the Anti-Christ?!) also lay the groundwork for future seasons and establish some of the show's rules regarding ghosts. 
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Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson)

Oh, Lana Banana. As journalist turned asylum prisoner turned serial killer slayer turned bestselling author, Lana is one of the show's most badass and lovable characters. Apparently the show knows how much the people love this Sarah Paulson character, as Lana has made appearances in three seasons so far: Asylum, Roanoke, and Cult.
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Oliver Thredson (Zachary Quinto)

The face of Asylum's best twist (and perhaps one of the series' best) Dr. Thredson starts off a hero of sorts. He has compassion for the patients at Briarcliff, while Sister Jude and Dr. Arden have none. It's ultimately a facade, however, for his real identity as Bloody Face, a sadistic serial killer and rapist with perhaps the silliest of monikers. Kudos to Zachary Quinto for making all of it believable and completely menacing.
Suzanne Tenner/FX

The Countess (Lady Gaga)

Hotel may have been a bit of a mixed bag, but there's nothing mixed about this glamorous, 112-year-old vampire. Lady Gaga is absolutely mesmerizing and steals every scene she's in. Many thanks are due to the AHS gods for cluing us in to Gaga's immense acting talent.
Michele K. Short/FX

Twisty (John Carroll Lynch)

By far the best part of the Freak Show season, John Carroll Lynch's Twisty was severely underutilized, but insanely memorable nonetheless. As a disgraced clown who attempted suicide after false rumors were spread about him, you almost want to root for this murderous clown. Luckily, Freak Show was not the last we saw of Twisty, as his character had achieved, well, cult status by the time AHS: Cult rolled around. Yes, Twisty, you are a good clown.
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Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange)

You didn't think we'd make a list like this and not include at least one Jessica Lange character, did you? The first of several delightfully evil characters played by the veteran actress, Murder House's Constance makes a strong case for worst mother of the year, but because Lange is just so good, you love to hate her. And even after a self-imposed break from the show, it was the character of Constance that Lange agreed to play again in Apocalypse.
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Sister Mary Eunice McKee (Lily Rabe)

Lily Rabe is such an underrated star of this show, and Asylum's Sister Mary Eunice is the perfect example of why that is. At first, Sister Mary Eunice is sweet and meek. Then, after becoming possessed by the devil, she's evil incarnate, and the transition is just oh-so-fun to watch.
Michele K. Short/FX

Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy)

THAT hair. Those truth spells. Declaring, "Balenciaga!" before bursting into flames at the stake. What an icon. Praise the AHS gods that this wasn't the last we saw of Frances Conroy as Myrtle: She also appeared in all of her couture-wearing glory in Apocalypse.
Prashant Gupta/FX

Liz Taylor (Denis O'Hare)

If she had hair, it would be big on account of all the secrets she knows about the Hotel Cortez and its occupants. Denis O'Hare's Liz Taylor is the show's first transgender character, and is famously glamorized by none other than Lady Gaga's character, the Countess. She's glamorous and wise, and is an avid reader and eavesdropper. Bless you, Liz Taylor.
Kurt Iswarienko/FX

Mallory (Billie Lourd)

First introduced to us as personal assistant to Coco (Leslie Grossman), Mallory takes on quite the transformation when it's revealed that she's actually a very powerful witch who's been under an identity spell. Watching the Billie Lourd charactrer do her witchy thing and come into her own was one of Apocalypse's most enchanting qualities.
Michele K. Short/FX

Dandy Mott (Finn Wittrock)

Rich, spoiled, disturbed man-child Dandy Mott remains one of the show's most ridiculous characters, which is saying something since his character is part of a season titled Freak Show. His tantrums are legendary, and with a body count of about 25, Finn Wittrock's Dandy was easily the show's most prolific killer until James March (Peters) in Hotel.
Frank Ockenfels/FX

Agnes Mary Winstead, playing the Butcher (Kathy Bates)

Okay, so technically this counts as two characters in the Roanoke season: The Butcher, a fictionalized murderous ghost and leader of the Roanoke colony, and the actress who plays her, Agnes Mary Winstead, both played by Kathy Bates. One is a terrifying menace with a cleaver, the other is... an actor diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder who gets way too method and starts killing people, only to eventually get killed by the real Butcher ghost, with a cleaver. Didn't catch all that? No worries, it's still insanely fun to watch the Butcher and all her iterations do their thing.
Kurt Iswarienko/FX

Michael Langdon (Cody Fern)

Like Lady Gaga before him, Cody Fern is transfixing as the Anti-Christ. Who knew the harbinger of the end of days would look so glamorous while bringing about the apocalypse? Michael may be evil incarnate, but he's not without his flashes of humanity, and seeing a character that was introduced all the way back in the first season grow up and come to life onscreen in Apocalypse was a very delightful full-circle moment for longtime fans of the series.
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