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Can American Horror Story: Apocalypse save the show?

Friday 14th September 2018

As 2018 passes by, this time year heralds some good news for TV fans everywhere—it means another season of American Horror Story is preparing to creep its way onto our screens.

Titled American Horror Story: Apocalypse, season eight—which premieres in the UK on September 27, two weeks after the US—will be going back to the start of Ryan Murphy’s anthology for the long-awaited Murder House/Coven crossover.

After seven seasons of highs and lows, we’ve seen everything from alien abductions to killer clowns, a vampiric Lady Gaga to Kathy Bates going full Misery, but what happens next?

Whether the show is destined for the graveyard or season eight will get a full blood transfusion, here’s how Apocalypse’s end of days crossover can bring the horror back to American Horror Story.

The characters

The harrowing horror of the Harmons is what kicked off American Horror Story back in 2011 and gave FX a memorable cast of colourful characters. Season two’s Asylum raised the bar further, while season three’s Coven added possibly the best crop of creations yet.

Although Murder House and Coven’s particularly high body counts didn’t leave much of their creations alive by the time the credits rolled, death has never stopped American Horror Story before. From Tate Langdon to Moira O’Hara, Madison Montgomery to Marie Laveau, there are almost too many possibilities of who could come back and why for Apocalypse. Every season has had its standout characters but Murder House and Coven have had some of the most wicked

New blood

While Cult added fresh meat including Billy Eichner and Alison Pill, there was a sense that some of the biggest names were missing out. Without Angela Bassett, Lily Rabe, Kathy Bates, and of course, Jessica Lange, there were some major gaps in the AHS yearbook.

Thankfully, Apocalypse could change all of this with an already-confirmed cast that will bring back series stalwarts like Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, and Bates alongside newer additions like Eichner. However, in an almost perfect piece of casting news, Murphy has landed soap royalty thanks to the addition of Joan Collins. Who Collins will lock horns with remains to be seen, but just imagine if her arrival coincided with the return of Jessica Lange.

Eichner only recently posted a cast photo from Apocalypse  with a mystery “friend” that is yet to be revealed (see below). Could this be Lange? Murphy, make it happen!

Back to basics

Love it or hate it, AHS is known for its meta take on the world. Adapting real-life stories like the Black Dahlia, Delphine LaLaurie's attic of horrors, and Charles Manson’s murder spree, the show is a sometimes grim look at history. While Murphy can excel at this, the political prowess of Season 7’s Cult may have been too much for some thanks to current events.

Heading back to Murder House and Coven, neither series took itself too seriously. In particular, Coven stole a place in the heart of many Horror Story fans. From the joyful Fleetwood Mac soundtrack to the ever-quotable Lange as Fiona Goode, Coven put the fun back into the show after the chilling events of Asylum.

More connections

It is no secret that Ryan Murphy has crafted his own Murphyverse that connects the various seasons of American Horror Story. Queenie appeared in Coven and Hotel, Madison Montgomery shares a name with Murder House’s twisted doctor, and fan-favorite Pepper played a part in Asylum and Freak Show. With some seven years of Horror Story history now under the franchise’s belt, Murphy can cherry-pick who and what he wants to include.

While the arc of Apocalypse could go anywhere, it looks like the season’s first teaser poster will pick up the long-forgotten thread of Tate Langdon’s Antichrist offspring. Murder House ended with the tantalising reveal that Lange’s Constance Langdon was caring for the demonic child of her wayward son and Vivien Harmon. Babies were a massive part of Season 1 and everything appears to be coming full circle for Apocalypse.

This is a woman’s world

In an era when everyone is obsessed with female-first TV shows, American Horror Story: Apocalypse could nestle in among the likes of Game of Thrones and Westworld’s powerful feminine figures. Violet and Vivien Harmon may have been highlights of Murder House, but nothing could compare to the power of Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies in Coven.

As fans look to Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a possible all-female Avengers lineup, Murphy may jump the gun and fly the flag for the women of Apocalypse with another season of heroine horror.

Will it work?

Ultimately, AHS is up in the air until Murphy decides to tell us more. Given the show’s notoriously cryptic marketing campaigns, who knows what’s just around the corner. Remembering that the acclaimed writer told The Hollywood Reporter that he is “very interested” in adding Anjelica Huston, it could be a serious case of “b*tchcraft” when American Horror Story casts a spell over us all once again.

Either way, American Horror Story: Apocalypse could reinvent the series and prove why the show is not only a jewel in the FX crown, but in Murphy’s impressive catalogue of shoes. The options are frankly endless and there is no denying that Season 8 of the scary showcase is riding on some serious hype right now. Here’s hoping Apocalypse is just the end of days for the characters and not for American Horror Story itself.

Apocalypse premieres on September 27 at 10pm on FOX.

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