We’re now less than a month and a half from the September 14 premiere of Ryan Murphy’s FX phenomenon American Horror Story and unlike seasons past, fans of the series have no clue what’s in store. The most information that the horror anthology series has given about its sixth season was released last Wednesday via Snapchat in the form of teaser trailers.
Going into season six, Murphy has good reason to keep mum on the content. The once lauded anthology series hit a critical lull last season. It also failed to resonate with fans; the season finale was a low point in the series’ viewership.
That’s not to say that American Horror Story: Hotel was without merit. Lady Gaga took home a Best Actress Golden Globe for her performance as the hotel’s matron, and several fans’ responded to the trippy, reeling nature of the season’s neighbors. For many, though, the latex-clad season was something of a turn off. So, for season six, it seems that AHS masterminds Murphy and Brad Falchuk are going back to their roots, which is to say that they’re taking viewers back to a scary house. Only this time, it’ll be a bit more remote than before.
If American Horror Story keeps with tradition — and there’s nothing to suggest they won’t — then season six will be a fresh twist on an old story. Or, several old stories. Judging from the scant glimpses we’ve been given so far, here are a few possibilities.
1. The Dark Plains of Rural Texas
All right, this one is a total gimme. A solemn house sitting on a hill in the middle of parched, waving grains. That’s got Leatherface and his brother, the murderous stars of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre written all over it. One of the fixtures of AHS is sexual oddity, and a cross-dressing chain saw wielding murderer seems like he’d be right at home in the midst of the series.
What’s more, the American Horror Story audience has never really been treated to “isolation as terror” format before, so it’d be a nice change of pace for the show.
2. An Abandoned Nuclear Testing Site
On a long enough time line, even previously nuclear territory can begin to look reasonably normal. Sure, in The Hills Have Eyes, the pack was relegated to living in caves, but that doesn’t mean an old bomb site house could be left behind for habitation.
Plus, the third teaser, with the person running down metal stairs, has “old abandoned government site” written all over it.
3. Small Town Anywhere
An unsuspecting passenger, stopping for the evening at a local motel … okay, Murphy and company are probably going to steer clear of the whole overnight stay thing since they did it last year. However, a lone house on a hill calls to mind eerie recollections of Hitchcock’s classic, Psycho.
More in line with Murphy’s particular taste, though, Psycho was based, in part, on the murders of serial killer Ed Gein. When Gein was arrested, his home was filled with furniture made from the skin and bones of his victims.
4. Rosemary’s House
No matter how disconnected each anthology might seem, Ryan Murphy is adamant that each season of American Horror Story is connected. As a result, some fans have begun to speculate that — in light of the insane baby mobile seen in the second teaser — this season might focus on Michael Langdon, the show’s prophesied Antichrist.
Langdon, as you’ll remember, was the result of a ghost raping a woman who thought her husband was trying full-on rubber suit sex for the first time without giving her a head’s up. Whether it’s Langdon or not, the hand reaching up to grab that blade is definitely not wholly human.
5. A Roadside Tourist Trap
Given Murphy’s proclivity for the theatrically odd (à la Freak Show), it’s not out of the question for us to get a little influence from such modern cult horror classics as Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses, in which a bunch of unwitting writers (including Dwight Schrute) get completely brutalized by a bunch of psychos.
In the original, the family’s house actually lies above a labyrinthine series of tunnels haunted with a bunch of creepy shambling freaks who answered to a man named Dr. Satan, the monster at the middle of the maze.
6. A Lakeside Summer Camp
All right, sure, none of the teasers here explicitly hinted at a camp-style location. However, you got to find a reason to get a bunch of potential victims out in the middle of nowhere, right? Even more, you have to give them a reason to stay in the middle of nowhere, even though some of them are starting to get picked off in particularly horrible fashion.
A summer camp ups the number of potential victims — always a cause for joy — while also leaving the possibility open for the introduction of the always delightful unstoppable killer. AHS may have done that one before, but can you ever really have too many unstoppable killers?