Chaz Bono Makes Surprising, Scary Debut On “American Horror Story”

Bono plays a neighbor you wouldn't want to borrow a cup of sugar from.

After five season of American Horror Story, Ryan Murphy has become a master of keeping secrets about the popular anthology series. One revelation we did not see coming last night: Chaz Bono as a creepy neighbor.

Wednesday night’s premiere revealed much about this season: that it was based on true events, that it would involve the mysterious disappearance of the Roanoke colony in 16th century North Carolina, and that it would feature a “dramatic re-enactment” with two sets of actors playing the same roles.

american horror story season 6

The premiere also welcomed actors Andre Holland (The Knick) and Cuba Gooding Jr. to the AHS playground.

Holland and Lily Rabe play a married couple who leave the stress of L.A. for the seemingly calm oasis of North Carolina, where they face a series of disturbing incidents. Of course, they’re in complete denial: Holland just blames everything on their redneck neighbors—one of whom is played by none other than Chaz Bono.

The trans actor/activist’s appearance was a big surprise to viewers. Even Mama Cher managed to keep the secret until after the episode aired.

That was the least of the surprising twists and turns, though. The Hollywood Reporter recaps the episode:

Matt blamed the events on hillbilly neighbors (one being Chaz Bono), but still called his sister, Lee (Adina Porter), who is portrayed by returning castmember Angela Bassett in the reenactment, to stay with Shelby while he travels for work. Lee was a detective before she was kicked off the force over a prescription pill addiction.

Shelby and Lee have Matt return home after a disturbing break-in and when Shelby leaves the house, she runs over a woman (Kathy Bates, also an AHS regular), who appears to be a Lost Colony ghost as she picks herself up off the road and displays colonial garb.

american horror story

Lost in the woods, Shelby is haunted by childlike figures that were similarly hung in her house and the vision of the pig-headed man she saw earlier, before a man missing half of his head appears. Surrounded by figures bearing torches, Wes Bentley then reveals himself from the shadows.

As even casual viewers of American Horror Story know, Murphy likes to cram the series will a LOT of material—and he’s confirmed Season 6 will finally tie together elements of the entire franchise—so this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Expect a lot more surprise cameos, sex scenes and at least one musical number (we hope!) At this rate, we could even see Jessica Lange popping up as a cannibal ghost.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.