Ryan Murphy recently unveiled new details about his expansion of the American Horror Story franchise. The upcoming FX on Hulu anthology series, titled American Horror Stories, will conjure up a fresh batch of nightmares which, according to Murphy, will be offered with “every episode.” But based on the American Horror Stories teaser trailer, it looks like some familiar backstories will resurface as well.
American Horror Stories Teaser
Last November, Murphy hinted that this series will be “16 one hour stand-alone episodes delving into horror myths, legends and lore…many of these episodes will feature AHS stars you know and love.” Now, a teaser trailer has dropped that provides some pretty fantastic imagery to see exactly what kind of nightmares audiences are about to experience.
And, I’m sold. The opening cinematography looks deceptively dreamy with a bird’s eye view shot of the ocean, Los Angeles, and then a quick detour to the outskirts where the hills run red. The rubber woman is a direct nod (and maybe companion) to the rubber man from AHS Season 1: Murder House, and this vast scene of the Murder House out in the middle of nowhere is giving me some serious Terry Gilliam vibes from Tideland. My eyes are immediately drawn to the floor decorated with the classic black and white zigzag pattern Twin Peaks fans know and love. Standing in the foyer, the rubber woman looks down several hallways that lead to some questionable characters that hit a lot of genre marks and seem to call back to some previous AHS seasons.
Creepy woman with a baby? Check. Abandoned hospital scene? Check. An obscure-looking guy reminiscent of Slenderman standing in front of a broken TV? Got it. Oh, and another scary guy running towards the camera with a weapon? Check. There is no visible evidence of aliens, but witches, murderers, otherworldly monsters, and creatures of the night are all potential and familiar plot points.
I honestly love this trailer as it clearly defines the artistic vision of the anthology framework with a little teaser in each part of the house itself. The visual elements make me reminisce over films like The Cell, Hostel, and Dario Argento‘s Suspiria. The ending scene with the rubber man and slicing into another dimension is also pretty damn cool. It makes me wonder if there will be alternate timelines, another dimension we’re working with, or perhaps just more sci-fi elements in general.
Murphy’s Sadistic and Scary Style
Ryan Murphy has clearly established a name for himself in the horror genre and one of the things he does best is creating a highly stylized story. With nine seasons in the American Horror Story franchise and the 10th season set for October 2021, each entry has a visual aesthetic unique to the plot in cinematography, costume design, and set design. It’s impressive that he has established a style while working within the anthology framework and can reinvent characters time and time again with actors that sign on for multiple seasons. The title sequences alone (courtesy of veteran designer Kyle Cooper) are sexy, scary, and highly stylized. By the end of the series, the title sequences all make sense for each storyline.
Even with his other shows Pose and Ratched, the color schemes, costumes, and set can be easily associated with Murphy. He has an eye for aesthetics and his vision only embellishes the alluring stories he can conjure up as well. Murphy successfully counterbalances the violence and sadism in his stories with uniquely colorful opulence and can create stunning visuals in an otherwise unsettling scene. It’s not an easy feat, so I’m looking forward to what nightmares he is neatly packaging for audiences this time around.
American Horror Stories will premiere exclusively on FX on Hulu on July 15, 2021.
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