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Villains Wiki
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The devil doesn't reside in hell, Mr. Walker. He lives right here in the frontal gyrus; the occipital lobes. Inside those beautiful brains lies the secret of understanding the darkness of the human psyche, and ten of them put together are not as dark as what resides right here in this cute, blond melon.
~ Dr. Arden while experimenting on Kit Walker.

Dr. Arthur Arden (real name: Hans Gruper) is the secondary antagonist of American Horror Story: Asylum and the overarching antagonist of American Horror Story: Freak Show.

He is the physician and Administrator at Briarcliff Manor. A confirmed Nazi war criminal, he was responsible for the altered humans running rampant in the surrounding forest.

He was portrayed by James Cromwell, who also played Joseph Campbell in The General's Daughter, The Colonel in DreamWorks' Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Professor Robert Callaghan in Disney's Big Hero 6, Captain Dudley Smith in L.A. Confidential, William Donahue in Eraser, and Warden Hazen in the 2005 remake of The Longest Yard.


Dr. Arden was an older man, standing tall at 6'7", with a shaved scalp and Van Dyke beard. Arden suffered from microphallus. 


Before he was a Nazi, he was originally a snuff filmer, notoriously known for being behind Elsa Mars losing her legs in a snuff film.

A small box on his bedroom dresser contained Nazi memorabilia and a series of amateur photos depicting women bound, beaten and perhaps dead, giving hint to his early life as a snuff filmer. While he was originally the supervising physician at Briarcliff when it was a tuberculosis ward; Monsignor Timothy Howard allowed him to stay on under the belief that his research could aid humanity.  

He regularly performed tortuous experiments on the patients of Briarcliff Manor and did not believe in using an anesthetic. Arden's lab was sealed off from the rest of the asylum's staff, affording him the privacy to pursue his twisted experiments.


Dr. Arden was a man of science with very little regard for the archaic and religious practices of his employers. He was also a sadistic misogynist, who not only expressed great disdain for vulgar and loose women, but also took delight into torturing and possibly killing women back in the past, before running a concentration camp and then an asylum.

However, he became increasingly remorseful and revulsed by Sister Mary's atrocious experiments and desired to put an end to her victim's suffering at the very end, indicating that he was not completely irredeemable and still possessed a moral code - albeit a twisted one.

He loved fine wine and Chopin. He had also made anti-Semitic comments on numerous occasions.


  • Dr. Arden is primarily based on the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele.
  • The younger Dr. Arden/Hans Gruper in the flashbacks was portrayed by John Cromwell, who is the son of James Cromwell.


           Ecran Titre d'American Horror Story.png Villains

Murder House
Rubber Man | Constance Langdon | Hayden McClaine | Larry Harvey | Moira O'Hara | Charles Montgomery | Infantata | Bianca Forest | R. Franklin | Michael Langdon | Langdon Family | Fiona | The Devil

Bloody Face (Dr. Oliver Thredson, Johnny Morgan & Imposters) | The Devil | Dr. Arthur Arden | Sister Jude | Timothy Howard | Leigh Emerson | Jenny Reynolds

Fiona Goode | Marie Laveau | Madison Montgomery | Delphine LaLaurie | The Axeman | Hank Foxx | Spalding | Papa Legba | Minotaur | Joan Ramsey | Archie Brener | Alicia Spencer

Freak Show
Elsa Mars | Dandy Mott | Stanley | Bette and Dot Tattler | Maggie Esmerelda | Twisty the Clown | Chester Creb | Dell Toledo | Edward Mordrake | Rita Gayheart | Larry Gayheart | Dr. Arthur Arden | Penny's Father

Countess Elizabeth Johnson | James Patrick March | Ten Commandments Killer | Sally McKenna | Addiction Demon | Ramona Royale | Richard Ramirez | Hazel Evers | Charles Montgomery

Tomasyn White | Scáthach | Polk Family | Agnes Mary Winstead | Shelby Miller

Ally Mayfair-Richards | FIT (Kai Anderson, Ivy Mayfair-Richards, Beverly Hope, Harrison Wilton, Meadow Wilton, Gary Longstreet, Jack Samuels) | Winter Anderson | Babe Babbitt | Twisty the Clown

Cooperative (Michael Langdon, Miriam Mead, Jeff Pfister, Mutt Nutter & Wilhelmina Venable ) | Madison Montgomery | Dinah Stevens | Ariel Augustus | The Devil | Tate Langdon | Constance Langdon | James Patrick March | Moira O'Hara | Langdon Family | Papa Legba | Delphine LaLaurie | Marie Laveau

Margaret Booth | Richard Ramirez | Mr. Jingles | Lavinia Richter | Donna Chambers | Montana Duke | The Devil | Bruce

Double Feature
Part 1: Red Tide
The Chemist | Belle Noir | Austin Sommers | Alma Gardener | Lark Feldman | Ursula Khan | Flesh Phantom

Part 2: Death Valley
Theta | Valiant Thor

American Horror Stories
Season 1
Rubber (Wo)man: Scarlett Winslow | Ruby McDaniel | Maya | Adam | Tony Peterson | Infantata
Drive In: Verna | Larry Bitterman
The Naughty List: Santa
Ba'al: Ba'al| Matt Webb| Bernadette
Feral: Ferals
Game Over: Scarlett Winslow | Ruby McDaniel