RottenTomatoes.com and TV Guide have both listed the upcoming season of American Horror Story (AHS) as “The Mist”, finally solving the mystery behind this coming season’s theme. Now we know a little more of what to expect when it premieres on September 14. There are some disagreements though on whether this is a merely a mistaken “placeholder theme” or the real one. We’re betting it’s real and we’ll explain why below.
Here’s the story: for those not in the know, all of the previous seasons have had set themes, usually set within a location like Murder House, Asylum, Coven, Freak Show and Hotel. Even though we got a clue that part of this season will take place in the legendary abandoned colony of Roanoke, the actual theme had been a secret until now.
RottenTomatoes.com listed “The Mist” as season theme and then added the word “(FALSE)” next to it to let people know that it was not really the theme. Okay, sure… but then the latest issue of TV Guide listed the theme as “The Mist” as well. Some people have called this “a placeholder theme”, but TV programs don’t usually issue such placeholders because it confuses the branding and marketing behind the show. What’s far more likely is that the theme IS actually “The Mist” and Rotten Tomatoes and TV Guide just let it slip early.
As usual, the show released a series of ambiguous teaser trailers to get folks excited about the coming season highlighting such pleasantries as torture, creepy rural settings (demonic children in cornfields, walking scarecrows, a chainsaw and screaming noises coming from an isolated country home; all of them followed by “6?”, denoting the mystery theme. One teaser from August 12 was also called “The Mist”. Let’s take a look at it below:
“The Mist” seems to be a knock-off of both the 2007 horror film The Mist and the 1980 John Carpenter film The Fog (which actually had a 2005 remake). In both the films, murderous creatures mysteriously appear in the low-handing precipitation — in The Fog, it’s the ghosts of murdered lepers who have come back for revenge; in The Mist, it’s crazy-ass monsters from another dimension who have come to eat flesh and lay eggs in people’s chest cavities.
Anyway, knowing AHS’ kitchen sink approach to horror pastiche, it’s likely that their season will incorporate both these concepts and also combine them with elements from Children of the Corn, The Hills Have Eyes, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and campy horror films from the 50s and 60s. IN short, it’ll be the fun, freewheeling and sloppy mess it normally is; not that we’re complaining!
But then again, maybe AHS is taking a cue from Showtime’s queer-ish Victorian horror series Penny Dreadful and deliberately misdirecting viewers with a wonky ruse. One week before its season three finale, Penny Dreadful announced that it would be ending its series, an unexpected move that surprised pretty much all its viewers. Maybe elaborate ruses as this will become more common as TV horror-mysteries try to retain their surprise in the internet age.