- The man who has half of his face burnt has the surname of Harvey, as in Two-Face character Harvey Dent.
- Larry Harvey says that when he murdered his family under the influence of voices, he felt like an obedient child. The character played by Laurence Harvey in The Manchurian Candidate murdered people under the influence of his mother.
- Larry Harvey is also the name of one of the founders of Burning Man. And what happened to the show's Larry Harvey?
- The Infantata in the basement and Dr. Montgomery's story are very similar to the villain and events in The House by the Cemetery.
- The second episode uses the score from Psycho and is reminiscent of The Strangers.
- Charles and Nora Montgomery are a shout-out to Nick and Nora Charles, the famously sassy and devoted couple from The Thin Man novels and their film adaptations.
- Vivien is raped and impregnated, gives birth to the spawn of Satan, and eats a brain as in Rosemary's Baby (although it was a liver there).
- In episode five, they reference The Breakfast Club. Tate and Violet are confronted on the beach by five teenagers: A jock, a cheerleader, a nerd, a goth girl, and a guy dressed in a leather jacket. Violet even calls them "The Dead Breakfast Club".
- Tate axes a serial killer groupie named Bianca. Anyone familiar with the Manson case will recognize those names.
- Tate references Taxi Driver when he says something similar to Bickle's "rain washing away" speech when he first meets with Ben.
- Also when the SWAT team shows up to arrest him, he indicates that they should shoot him by making a gun with his fingers and aiming it at his head, as Bickle does when the police catch him after he shoots up a brothel.
- The show uses the score from Bram Stoker's Dracula, particularly in the scene where Nora opens the door to see her "baby" in his room.
- The show also gives a couple of subtle shout-outs to The Shining. Tate's practically an homage to Twisted Nerve, whistling the theme tune and everything. Then there are all of the Rosemary's Baby references.
- One of those The Shining shout-outs happens with Beau's ball. He rolls it to an unsuspecting person while hidden in the shadows, like how a tennis ball is rolled unsuspectingly to Danny.
- "Twisted Nerve" plays over Tate's shoot out, the theme to the eponymous film about a psychotic boy who does crazy things for a girl he loves.
- When Ben sees Larry for the first time in the first episode, the scene itself is an homage of Laurie seeing The Shape in the Strode backyard for the second time.
- A more obscure one: Travis' last name, Wanderley, is shared by the protagonist of Peter Straub's novel Ghost Story. Straub's novels in general are similar in tone and execution to this series.
- The ending of the season when the family is united in death and stages elaborate hauntings to scare out the new family has many shades of Beetlejuice.
- The final shot of the dead Harmons watching the new family running away is most likely one to the very similar scene at the end of The Others.
- Ben and Tate's relationship in the early episodes comes off as one big Shout-Out to the plot of The Sixth Sense, though with the twist that it's the patient who turns out to have been a ghost the whole time, not the doctor.
- Quite an obscure one — one of the detectives who come to question the Harmons is named Jack Colquitt, which was the name of the Cigarette-Smoking Man's Author Avatar in The X-Files.
- In "Open House", the prospective buyer of the house bears the last name Escandarian, which is a reference to the Armenian Mardiros Iskenderian, his business (the famous Zankou Chicken), and the infamous Zankou Chicken Murders.
- The murders in "Home Invasion" are very, very similar to those of Richard Speck, although he committed them in Chicago, not LA.
- The Murder House works in a very similar way to Kesandru House in the Nothing Dead Here arc of Sluggy Freelance.
- Violet mentions The Addams Family in the pilot.
Shout Out / American Horror Story: Murder House