Unholy Night
American Horror Story Asylum



Critic Ratings: 17
Critics Consensus

"Unholy Night" makes up for its transitional storyline and unanswered questions with a welcome return to the grotesque and a standout scary performance from new cast member Ian McShane.

Episode Info

A killer who dresses as Santa Claus is an inmate at Briarcliff. As Sister Mary Eunice organises a Christmas party, Sister Jude returns to confront her... but Sister Mary Eunice thinks it's time for 'Santa' to come out and play.


Jessica Lange
as Sister Jude
Sarah Paulson
as Lana Winters
Evan Peters
as Kit Walker
Lily Rabe
as Sister Mary Eunice
Zachary Quinto
as Dr. Oliver Thredson
James Cromwell
as Dr. Arthur Arden
Joseph Fiennes
as Monsignor Timothy Howard
Ian McShane
as Leigh Emerson
Barbara Tarbuck
as Mother Superior Claudia
Chris McGarry
as Martin Lancaster
Lara Harris
as Rhonda Lancaster
Jennifer Holland
as Nurse Blackwell
Tehya Scarth
as Susie Lancaster
Show More Cast

Unholy Night Photos

Critic Reviews for Unholy Night

I guess it was time for an episodic bridge, an installment with dialogue set to soap-opera music (and an instrumental of the creepiest carol, "Hark How the Bells"), but it seemed a little bit on the nose compared to weeks past.

Aug 30, 2016 | Full Review…
Top Critic

We sure saw a fair volume of [blood] spilled in this twisted Christmas spectacular!

Aug 30, 2016 | Full Review…

It was by far the most season-one-esque episode of the season so far, with little unifying material to tie it together and a bunch of storylines that didn't join together so much as just travel parallel to each other until they simply stopped.

Aug 29, 2016 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

The thematic notes that "Unholy Night" rang hard and loud like a Salvation Army bell: Broken promises, hypocrisy, deceit.

Aug 26, 2016 | Full Review…

After last week's relatively tame episode, we're back to the kind of snappy, rapey dialogue that makes me simultaneously want to giggle and cry.

Aug 26, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Featuring Ian McShane (Deadwood) as a deranged Santa Claus, tonight's episode wasn't just a fantastic addition to the series so far, but a stand-alone dark holiday classic.

Aug 29, 2016 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…

Instead of focusing on the scary, the story has shifted into a battle between good and evil with the sides becoming more clearly developed.

Aug 23, 2016 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

It seems a bit slight to call this episode a fun romp, seeing as how bloody and unhinged it was, but watching McShane chew up the set and slash at people with glass tree-toppers was just gruesome enough to make me giddy.

Aug 26, 2016 | Rating: 8.8/10 | Full Review…

Often confusing but never boring mess.

Jun 19, 2018 | Full Review…

Leave it to American Horror Story to want us needing more.

Aug 29, 2016 | Full Review…

The good news is that on this episode of "AHS" Santa is played with sadistic glee by Ian McShane ("Deadwood"). No matter how bad his Santa is, that's still pretty damn good.

Aug 29, 2016 | Full Review…

In American Horror Story land, murderous Santa psychopaths just scream heartwarming, heart-stabbing holiday special, and that's why I love this sick, twisted, brilliant programme.

Aug 29, 2016 | Full Review…