American Horror Story is cram-full of cool, wicked and badass characters – some ghosts, devils and witches that are more memorable and iconic than others. Let’s face it, a side character featured in one episode is hardly going to match up to the importance of Sarah Paulson or Jessica Lange’s influence on the show, right?
On this list, we’ve taken 30 of American Horror Story’s characters and ranked them from worst to best. Looking across all nine series (we’ll let the tenth come to an end to be a better judge), with an array of different roles, we’ve scoured AHS to bring you a comprehensive list of those who fly high, and those that are barely worth a mention.
Dive right in to our list of American Horror Story characters, ranked!
32. Cordelia Goode
While there’s nothing wrong with Cordelia Goode as a character, she lacks some of the depth that others played by Sarah Paulson possess. Perhaps this is a harsh assessment, but in Coven, Cordelia constantly feels overshadowed by the presence of her mother, Fiona Goode. As Fiona is probably one of the sassiest characters on the entire show, her daughter is sadly sidelined.
Mallory is definitely an interesting character, but there’s also something a bit too perfect about her. Being the most powerful witch throughout the show means unlimited powers – which, sorry, just isn’t fair. She also features heavily in Apocalypse and let’s face it, most people disliked this season more than others.
25. Lee Harris
Roanoke is one of the more forgettable AHS seasons. To an extent, the same could be said for one of its characters, Lee Harris. In fairness, she does have some great facial expressions that carry the character through. However, is she really that memorable? Perhaps she was one of the best of a fairly bad bunch, but not much beyond that.
22. Montana Duke
Camp counselor on 1984, Montana Duke has some memorable moments in a season that otherwise lacks the punch of its predecessors. Overall, Duke certainly is a decent character, but perhaps it was the underwhelming feel to 1984 which meant she also fell short at times.
30. Dandy Mott
With looks like those, Finn Wittrock was always going to find his way into the film industry. However, his character in Freak Show is just plain irritating, at times. This isn’t really a criticism, and if anything, it’s actually a compliment to his acting skills. From what we see on Freak Show, he suffers from Peter Pan syndrome, which is annoying at the best of times…
29. Oliver Thresdon
As one of the main villains in Asylum, Oliver Thresdon isn’t necessarily a bad character. However, in some ways, he doesn’t have the charisma or charm as certain other bad guys – especially those in AHS, who we love to hate (ahem, Twisty the clown). Sadly, Thresdon just isn’t one of them.
28. Violet Harmon
Violet Harmon is one of the main stars of Murder House and is played by Taissa Farmiga. Undoubtedly, Farmiga plays the role well, but there’s something a bit sickly about her relationship with Tate that threatens to turn the show into a teenage love drama (many will disagree). Unlike other characters on the show, Violet is incredibly easy to manipulate and a bit of a wreck at times, too.
24. Paul The Illustrated Seal
As far as side characters go, Paul The Illustrated Seal was one of the more interesting ones. As it happens, actor Mat Fraser genuinely has phocomelia. A fun fact about him is that he’s also a rock musician and martial arts expert. Perhaps his real life charisma carried over to his character. Sadly, Paul wasn’t around much and was only used for one season.
Queenie was one of the kinder characters in Coven – but as we know, in the AHS world, kindness usually equates to weakness. Killed off in Hotel, Queenie was a solid side character, but in fairness, didn’t have that much depth to stick around too long. Don’t expect a re-incarnation anytime soon.
26. James Patrick March
While James Patrick March isn’t the worst character, dare we say it…he is a little bland compared to other ghosts that have ‘wooed’ us in the past. That’s not to offend Evan Peters, but overall, he is a bit dull at times. As one of the show’s neutral characters, he deserves a neutral rating.
23. Madison Montgomery
As mentioned earlier with Violet Harmon, Madison Montgomery’s character is similar in terms of threatening to turn this great show into a teenage drama. She gets more points than Violet, though, for being more independent and a general badass. However, her character is also cliched and seems like it’s pulled straight out of Mean Girls.
21. Michael Langdon
So Michael Langdon is the devil baby we all met at the end of Murder House. With this in mind, his character was always meant to be evil and satanic. Overall, he brings this vibe nicely and is one of the better characters in an otherwise mostly forgettable Apocalypse.
20. Myrtle Snow
Myrtle Snow is one of the genuinely kinder witches on the show. Perhaps it’s her look, but there’s something very wholesome about her image. Frances Conroy has often played these roles in AHS perfectly, so it’s no surprise that she turned Snow into a fan-favorite.
19. The Butcher
Perhaps the best character in Roanoke, The Butcher sees Cathy Bates at her best. A sadistic leader of the colony, she’s genuinely terrifying at times. Truth be told, some fans disliked The Butcher due to being a nasty villain, but from a sheer acting perspective, you can’t help but marvel at the realism that Bates throws into the role.
18. Misty Day
A mysterious character, Misty Day brings out a lighter side to Coven, which is pretty dark at times. We won’t ever forget her iconic introduction, with Fleetwood Mac playing in her cabin – the rest is history!
17. Hypodermic Sally
There’s something genuinely unnerving about Hypodermic Sally. A ghost of a woman that died in the early ’90s from a drug overdose and played expertly by AHS regular Sarah Paulson, she is one of the better side characters on the show and successfully gives off a creepy vibe throughout.
16. Liz Taylor
Talking of odd Hotel characters, it doesn’t get much more unusual than Liz Taylor. A bald crossdresser, Taylor knows the inner workings of the hotel. Visually striking and a powerful character, Taylor can often be seen lurking in the halls. In a bizarre way, it’s strange to see a mortal character work in the Cortez Hotel with such little fear, and that’s what makes her so interesting.
15. Twisty the Clown
Visually, Freak Show had some eccentric characters, but it was Twisty the Clown who stole the show. Twisty would probably be ranked as one of the worst characters if you’re afraid of clowns – he’s that terrifying. But with his bloody smile and large frame, you can’t ever forget this AHS villain. He even offended real-life clowns, due to his scary, psychotic persona. Enough said.
14. Kit Walker
Evan Peters is at his best as one of Asylum’s main characters, Kit Walker. This season was so dark, that it was nice to see a genuinely kind character get a good pay-off in the end. Throw in a bizarre subplot including aliens, Kit Walker got the finale that he deserved which would have undoubtedly pleased viewers.
13. Bette and Dot Tattler
As mentioned earlier, Freak Show is full of unusual-looking, yet fun-loving characters. Bette and Dot Tattler are no different in that regard. Although their character is a visual masterpiece, it’s their split personality that truly makes them work. With one twin nasty and the other nice, it plays out perfectly as the series progresses.
12. Elsa Mars
Let’s face it, Jessica Lange is often the star of the show, and Elsa Mars is no different. What makes Elsa’s character so iconic is her backstory which reveals a lot about the series. Lange usually plays the role of a bitter old woman, desperately trying to hold on to her power and looks. With her amazing acting skills, Elsa Mars delivers on this front.
11. Marie Laveau
Speaking of strong, female characters, Laveau fits the bill perfectly. A voodoo queen of New Orleans, Laveau often clashes heads with Fiona Goode and it makes for some great TV moments. Coven is one of the public’s favorite AHS series, and Laveau certainly helps make it a memorable one.
10. Kai Anderson
Another strong performance by Evan Peters, Kai Anderson is the cult-leader in season seven. What’s best about his story is his entry into madness, starting as an internet troll who becomes a literal insane cult leader. Perhaps the best feature of Anderson’s arch is the growth of his manipulative powers. This shows an eerie resemblance to real-life, where cult leaders also manipulate and control their followers. Peters plays the role perfectly.
9. Lana Winters
Main character of Asylum, Lana Winters leads the way as a prisoner in a mental asylum. Tortured both mentally and physically, and even endures a visit from Satan, Winters stays strong throughout, and comes out as a victor. It’s difficult not to like this iconic character, especially when she’s played by the ever-talented Sarah Paulson.
8. Constance Langdon
Constance Langdon is another character played by Jessica Lange, who, like Elsa Mars, is an aged woman clinging on to her younger, glory days. Often bitter, sassy and occasionally cruel, it’s safe to say she is a joy to watch, even if she is horrid at times.
7. Delphine LaLaurie
Cathy Bates plays the absolute monster, Delphine LaLaurie – a character hard to watch, but is equally captivating. A generally disgusting human being, LaLaurie is a New Orleans slave owner who tortures her captives. She eventually got her comeuppance, though, and had quite a miserable outlook on life, anyway. With this in mind, viewers could take pleasure in watching her squirm.
Did you know Delphine LaLaurie is based on a real person? Check out how AHS is based on real-life events!
Pepper featured in both Asylum and Freak Show, and became a real fan-favorite. Known for her different looks, it was her glowing personality that won over the viewers. Throughout Asylum’s bleak atmosphere, it was nice to see Pepper’s character serving as a shining light. One of the nicest and sweetest characters with a heartbreaking backstory, it’s hard to forget this one.
5. Sister Mary Eunice
The story of Sister Mary Eunice is quite dark to say the least. However, it’s a great one and that’s what makes her character so memorable. Here, a pure, devout Christian in a mental asylum is possessed by the devil and behaves accordingly. It’s gripping stuff and at the same time, downright scary.
4. Tate Langdon
Tate Langdon is best remembered for his plot-twist that eventually reveals the entirety of the first series. Because of this, his importance can’t be stated enough and it sets the tone not just for that particular season, but the entire show. From his various characters, to his dark nature…he isn’t really likeable, but then again not many on AHS are. Still, he’s one of our faves.
3. The Countess
The Countess was the first time we got to witness Lady Gaga‘s acting chops and boy were they impressive! Although some don’t like Hotel, it’s fair to say that her character stole the show. As a fashion-conscious vampire matriarch, she controlled the hotel and put fear into those who crossed her. Simply put, the series would have seriously lacked without her – so for that, The Countess is definitely a brilliant AHS character.
2. Fiona Goode
The lead witch of The Coven, Fiona Goode once again highlights the legendary acting skills of Jessica Lange. Lange was born for roles like this and shows her lust for power and control. With some of the most catty one-liners on the show, it also shows some stellar writing too.
1. Sister Jude Martin
This list may be a bit of a love-in for Jessica Lange, but in fairness, she arguably has the greatest characters on the show. With her typical catty side and her vulnerability also on display, Jude Martin is a bit deeper than Lange’s usual roles, with a little more zhush to her personality.
Halfway through the series, Martin’s power is taken away and she is imprisoned herself. This creates a different angle to her character who eventually finds God. She put us on one heck of a ride and that’s why Sister Jude Martin is officially ranked as the best character on American Horror Story.
There you have it – a list of some of AHS characters ranked from worst to best. Let’s just say it wasn’t easy pitting ghosts, devils and witches against each other. But it turns out some of these intriguing characters have a streak of goodness – or at least, something engrossing about them.
What did you think of our ranking? Let us know who you think is the worst and best AHS character in the comments below…