American horror story
Set in the 1920's upper State New York, in an opulent mansion owned by the eccentric Cabot family. A group of wealthy artists and intellectuals spend a bohemian summer together along the shores of Lake George. Their paths cross with a group of vengeful gypsies and while passions are awakened, darker things are awakened too.
as alLan cabot
A Max Bodenheim type character. A satirist, poet and "collector of people" who uses his sharp intellect to belittle them. He says he is an observer of human foibles, though his brother Kevin calls him an instigator. Over opium and absinthe, Allan encourages his dinner guests to admit their fears and reveal their darkest secrets. All the guests seem to be plagued by nightmares and pulled into the same dream of a strange woman. They blame Allan for their poor sleep.
as paul cabot
Allan's youngest brother, an avant-garde painter and photographer. He is the quietest of the four Cabot siblings, sensitive and thoughtful. His nature allows him to observe things more closely. While taking photographs around the property, strange and disturbing images start appearing in the proofs, especially the image of a decaying woman with long, dark hair. He is the only one to believe Allan's daughter Molly about the strange things she has witnessed.
as molly cabot
Allan Cabot's daughter from his estranged first wife. She hates Georgina who says that Molly should be put in an institution. She is often seen in the company of the Burchill children, Bill and Evie, whose grandparents live next door. She is annoying, demanding, and starved for attention. This provokes her to get up to evil mischief. Her high pitched screams often have a "boy who cried wolf" scenario attached to them, so when things do go strange no one believes her.
as mimi brown
A world-famous Josephine Baker-type jazz singer and dancer. She is invited to spend the summer at the Cabot residence by Kevin Cabot to recuperate after a gruelling tour of the European continent. She is accompanied by her much younger French husband Thierry, who shares her taste in men. Over dinner, and at the urging of Allen, she recalls the gruesome tale of the Axeman of New Orleans who went on a bloody rampage in 1919 and how she witnessed the aftermath.
as baba zoya
The "Queen" of the gypsy clan. Edie asks Baba Zoya for a love potion so that Kevin's heart will be hers. Baba Zoya instructs her that it must be taken at the full moon and to ensure that she must be the first person he sees - but things don't go according to plan. Georgina seeks a potion to end her pregnancy; Baba Zoya warns too much causes death. This gives Georgina an evil idea how to get rid of Molly. When the Cabot's estate is attacked by malevolent spirits, they seek Zoya's protection.
A gypsy who suffers from "clinical lycanthropy" - he is under the delusion that he has been cursed to change into a wolf every full moon. He can't control his beast-like urges such as carnality and violence. He runs on all fours, kills animals and wears their skins. He has to be locked up otherwise he is a danger to the gypsy clan and others. Edith encounters him on her way to find Kevin and he ravages her, inflicting her with the same type of wildness.
as genevive foster
The cook and housekeeper at the Cabot's estate. Mrs Foster succumbs to a type of madness. She cooks the Cabots up a skunk that one of the gypsies killed, and has to be sent away to an infirmary. Molly tells everyone it's because she saw Vano jumping on top of Mrs Foster over the kitchen sink, which she says "might have rattled her brains". Marigold reluctantly agrees to take on Magdelana as the new cook when the household is at a loss.
as joseph burchill
A local historian and neighbour of the Cabots. As a young man he witnessed the drowning of a gypsy girl 50 years ago and identified the woman in Paul's pictures as the same girl. He warns Marigold not to trust the gyspies. A desperate Marigold ignores him. Instead of protection spells Baba Zoya uses invocation spells and creates a ritual of dark magic to raise the dead of the lake (the ghosts of the 1755 Battle of Lake George). The ghost of General Munro comes calling the the Burchill mansion to reclaim is pistol.
as kevin cabot
The middle Cabot brother who has just written "the great American novel". He is a bright, energetic, enthusiastic person - but he can be a bit self-absorbed. Kevin encourages everyone to go to a sideshow where he has heard about a real "freak", Ethel the Bearded Lady. Just as the local cops break up the illegal sideshow the group encounter Magdelana, an exotic gypsy fortune teller. They accept her offer to come to the gypsy camp at night so they can have a real reading.
as edie fraser
A Barbara Hutton type heiress. She is good-natured, boisterous and a bit competitive. This façade disguises her lack of confidence and her naivety. She desperately wants to be loved for herself and not her money. She is devastated when she catches her fiancé Kevin Cabot in the boathouse with another man. After an encounter with one of the gypsy men, her personality changes and she becomes wild and cruel, killing animals for sport. Allan urges Kevin to "do something".
as lucinda cabot
A vivacious, strong-willed person who finds it difficult to stand out from her brothers. She is an actress on Broadway but is often at loggerheads with her mother over her choice of occupation. She doesn't get on with Allen who she refers to as an "intellectual snob" and alludes that his alcoholism probably caused Molly to be the way she is. She becomes attracted to Elias, a gypsy man. She dreams of him but he turns into Magdelana. She wakes to find muddy footprints on the floor.
as thierry martin
Mimi Brown's husband, who begins a relationship with Kevin Cabot. He is a talented fashion designer, accredited with designing all of Mimi's costumes on her European tour. He is very popular with the women in the Cabot household, who cant get enough of his tales of famous people he has designed for. He becomes a victim of Charles Mott's jealousy, and is confused by Kevin's sudden interest in the gypsy Magdelana. He drowns his sorrows in opium and wine.
A beautiful gypsy who lives in a caravan on the perimeter of the main gypsy camp. Baba Zoya says she is one of her kin but she is cursed. Magdelana is intent in seducing all of the Cabot brothers. She is not what she seems and has invoked the spirit of Scathach to avenge a wrong that was committed years ago. Molly finds her wandering the shores of the lake, looking for her baby. Molly offers to help, but when she takes Magdelana's hand the fingers are bony and decayed.
The brother of Marco. He threatens Charles Mott, who after hearing about Marco's condition, unlatches the door of the caravan where he is locked up. The gypsies want vengeance for the chaos caused by Charles, but Marigold manages to appease them by her offer of employment over the party weekend. Elias is betrothed to Sonja and is enraged when he finds out she has been with Paul, he threatens to kill him if Sonja does not return.
neil patrick harris
as F. Scott fitzgerald
The Fitzgeralds are extra guests invited up for the Midsummer party weekend. F.Scott and Zelda first made Kevin Cabot's acquaintance in New York, and they also know Mimi Brown from their sojourn in Paris. F.Scott has a spirited debate with Hubert about the existence of hell and if curses are real. The debate becomes a personal attack on each other's ideals. The argument gets physical ending up with a brawl on the lawn - much to Allan's delight.
as violet Gilderton
The elder of the Gilderton sisters. Now in their 40s the sisters have ended up at Lake George in permanent exile from New York society. Plagued by one too many scandals, their father threatened them with either living in seclusion or cutting off of their inheritance entirely. Violet is a nymphomaniac with a smart mouth, explosive temper, and a drinking problem. Both sisters are eccentric, extroverted gossips and consider themselves to be the foremost authorities on what goes on around Lake George.
as georgina harris
A gifted writer and poet, similar to Anais Nin. She is brooding, mysterious and highly intellectual. She likes to shock, and often dresses in men's clothing. She is Allan Cabot's muse and lover. They share a passionate and tempestuous relationship, especially when Allan critiques her work. Georgina starts to be tormented by strange dreams of a dark haired woman in her room. She follows her into the lake and nearly drowns but Kevin Cabot and another guest rescue her.
as marigold cabot
The matriarch of the Cabot family who fusses over her three sons and bickers with her daughter. She tut-tuts Edie's tears over Kevin, saying that not all marriages are about love, friendship is a better foundation and that "passion causes one to lose one's head." The Cabot's host a lavish Midsummer Party, inviting neighbours along Lake George's Millionaires' Row. Additional guests arrive for the weekend. Marigold hires the gypsies for entertainment, but partly to appease them.
as CHARLES EDWARD MOTT
A filthy rich, brash, self-proclaimed "patron of the arts" although it becomes obvious he has little clue about things and just wants to fit in. Allan Cabot has invited him up for the summer because he says that Charles' boorishness amuses him. He is infatuated with Lucinda Cabot, although she can't stand him. He is insanely jealous of anyone she talks to. The gypsy queen, Baba Zoya, curses him with madness and the date of his death. She also tells him the Mott line will end with his son.
as Hubert t. hORDER
A Lovecraft-type character, who is a socially awkward genius. Painfully shy, he has difficulty in relating to (live) women and so he succumbs to necrophilia. He has an obsession with philosophy, the occult and the darkness of men's souls and has just published a number of novellas on the macabre. The stories were so terrifying that at one of his readings, six women fainted. Allan met him in Greenwich Village and thought that Hubert's strangeness might entertain the other guests over summer.
A grand-daughter of Baba Zoya. She warns Paul Cabot not to get involved with Magdelana because she is dangerous. In order to break Magdalena's spell over Paul she has sex with him, even though she is promised to another man. Sonja later reveals that Magdelana is not her sister, but her real maternal grandmother, who was drowned in the lake 50 years ago by Paul's father and his cohorts. She helps Paul to escape when the gypsies turn on the Cabots.
Leader of the gypsy clan, and the father of Sonja, his youngest. He negotiates work for the clan with Marigold. The gypsies rid the property of skunks, a wasps' nest and fix other things that seem to have plagued the Cabots of late. He later reveals to Paul that he (Paul) is related to Sonja by blood and their relationship is doomed. Paul is shattered to learn Sonja's mother was his half sister, the result of his fathers affair with Magdelana.
as zelda fitzgerald
Zelda embarrasses F.Scott by her drunken admission about her affairs to all who will listen. They argue and she runs off to the lake saying she is going to kill herself by throwing herself in. F.Scott finds her wandering the shore and babbling that she has seen Hell's gateway. He blames Hubert for upsetting his wife's fragility. The Fitzgeralds leave first thing in the morning with Zelda in a semi-catatonic state - she will not say what she saw in the lake.
as rose gilderton
Rose (the youngest) is sweet, ditzy, oversexed, and an incurable romantic. She has an unfortunate knack for falling in love with married men. The sisters live across the Lake from the Cabots and witness the many goings on through a telescope on their front balcony. They often visit their neighbours around the lake on a motor boat skippered by their long-suffering butler. The sisters help Paul, Hubert, Mimi and Charles (the last survivors of that summer) escape the carnage that has been unleashed on the Cabot estate.