We’ve been greedily snapping up bits of American Horror Story marginalia in the waiting period for the new season. A lot of signs point to a show taking place in two time periods, one modern and the other less so. Everything we know so far points to the “back-then” being the Roanoke colony referenced in the first season. But what about the here and now? To figure that out, we’re going to need to do some serious dot-connection. Many signs, we’re finding, point to the Manson Family. First, we have to remember that series creator Ryan Murphy nearly focused the show’s third season on the Manson Family. He told Deadline that he chose not to do so out of respect for the victims of the murder. We should also note that the Manson Family is having a moment. Emma Cline’s debut novel The Girls about a Manson-esque family opened to widespread critical acclaim. You Must Remember This, the masterpiece film podcast from critic and writer Karina Longworth, did an entire series about the Manson murders last summer. David Duchovny’s show Aquarius is about the murders. So they’re in the zeitgeist. Now let’s take a look at some teasers. First up, the creepy-baby-hand teaser. The mobile appears to spell out “pig,” just as Manson’s followers did after murdering Sharon Tate.
Manson created a lot of arachnid-themed art while in prison, as HuffPo notes. Another piece of evidence is the possibility that either Dylan McDermott or Evan Peters could be playing the cult leader. The McDermott resemblance is striking, and Evan Peters posted an image to social media that bears a startling closeness to Manson.
Some redditors have noted that the image wasn’t taken when Peters was filming the new AHS season. It’s entirely possible that the show won’t take a literal interpretation of the Manson Family, but rather a Manson-like Satanic cult that’s existed throughout the history of America. That would make sense and jibe with the show’s strategy of taking on subjects that are very nearly historical. We’ll probably find out tomorrow when American Horror Story has its day on the Television Critics of America’s press tour.