After six seasons, FX’s horror anthology series American Horror Story is doing something radically different than it ever has before. Instead of releasing the subtitle, theme and synopsis of the show’s sixth season months before its release date, FX is now making fans wait for it — potentially until the show’s Sept. 23 season premiere. According to his interview at the Television Critic’s Association press tour, FX Networks’ CEO John Landgraf said that the American Horror Story marketing team “went out and created many more trailers than you’ve actually seen for hypothetical seasons of American Horror Story, in different genres, different places. One of them is accurate, and the others are all misdirects.”
So while we don’t know the secret theme just yet, clues from the set — and one potential red herring teaser — has had fans convinced that Charles Manson and his cult will be part of the Season 6 theme. I’m just hoping that it’s not.
A very convincing article on The Huffington Post explores the potential Charles Manson theme, which American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy stated in 2013 that he wanted to use for future seasons of the series. The new poster could hint that he’s doing it with Season 6, as the show’s promotional shot features a woman with spiders for eyelashes — or, rather, spiders hiding under her eyes. Manson was a big fan of those creepy crawlers, and even created spider-themed artwork in prison, according to The Huffington Post. Couple that with one of the teasers seemingly featuring the word “PIG,” the very same word that was written in Sharon Tate’s blood at the Manson family’s crime scene, it seems that the evidence is stacking up for a Manson family theme. And I’m kind of meh about it.
— Creepy Catalog (@CreepyCatalog) July 30, 2016
It makes sense that Murphy would want to explore this story: It still holds a public fascination. Of course, some people take that fascination to dangerous levels, as Manson still gets thousands of fan letters in prison.
The idea that someone could be so compelling that they can organize serial killings is very unsettling and definitely the kind of stuff that American Horror Story likes to work with. But the Manson story has also been done a lot recently. It was the subject of Lifetime movie Manson’s Lost Girls, NBC’s series Aquarius and Emma Cline’s debut novel The Girls. These works all have value and tell different versions of the Manson story from different perspectives, but does American Horror Story have to throw its hat in the ring as well, when we know the purpose of the show is to make something that will make us scared and uncomfortable?
— Cosmic Book News (@cosmicbooknews) August 6, 2016
I’m sure that Murphy and the other American Horror Story producers are careful not to glorify any of the murders that happen on the show, but at a certain point, the glorification isn’t up to American Horror Story. The series doesn’t exist in a bubble. It exists in a time in which we’re still talking about the horrific actions of this cult decades later and one in which Manson still holds an icon status for some people. American Horror Story loves blending creepy fiction with even creepier history, but I wonder if the Manson story is one that they need to latch onto for Season 6. American Horror Story can tell an original story that doesn’t come with quite as much baggage.