The third season of Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy's grisly horror series American Horror Story begun with a suitably bloodcurdling episode of enslavement and torture.

Kathy Bates in 'American Horror Story: Coven'
Kathy Bates stars as slave killer Madame LaLaurie

Not that we didn't expect it to, but the first episode of 'American Horror Story: Coven' entitled 'Bitchcraft' was enough to scar any unsuspecting first time viewer for life! Of course, those who have in fact been exposed to the horror of season two 'AHS: Asylum' will be generally desensitised to all things petrifying, disgusting and not to mention controversial.

To recap, 'Asylum' saw a crazed killer doctor perform Nazi experiments on his mental patients and murder his patients' loved ones; Sister Mary Eunice, a nun who worked at the asylum, became possessed and sexually assaulted owner Monsignor Timothy Howard, and inmate Grace Bertrand got abducted by aliens. And those weren't necessarily the worst parts.

'Bitchcraft' starred Kathy Bates as Madame LaLaurie - a real life serial killer who tortured slaves in the 19th century. The episode credits showed her doing just that, and in the most gruesome ways you could possibly think of. One of them she transformed into a Minotaur; that is, if you are rusty on your Greek mythology, a creature with the body of a man and the head of a bull. It was certainly a deeply shocking way to kick off the latest series.

That's not all 'Coven' has in store either; a recently released preview showed a snippet of what to expect in episode two 'Boy Parts', which stars Emma Roberts as a ghoulish teenager with telekinetic abilities who wishes to create the perfect boyfriend out of various corpses. Meanwhile, there appears to be some sort of stand-off among the witches of the town including LaLaurie, accomplished witchcraft teacher Cordelia Foxx played by Sarah Paulson and the alarmingly formidable Marie Laveau played by Angela Bassett.

Be warned, this is a toned down idea of what you'd be getting yourselves into for this season so don't switch off the lights too readily! 'American Horror Story' hits screen every Wednesday at 10pm on FX.