american horror story
"AHS: 1984" should deliver the thematic elements fans love, yet again. (Illustration by James O’Toole, Grand Valley State University)

Eight years ago, the first season of “American Horror Story,” titled “Murder House,” premiered on FX and was one of 2011’s most-watched new cable television series. Although every season brings new stories and characters, one thing about the show has remained constant — its high ratings and praise.

Now, show creators and executive producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk are getting ready to release the ninth season of the show, “AHS: 1984.” The new season is set to premiere in the fall and will have at least 10 episodes.

Each season of the show is like a miniseries, featuring new cast members, new production sets and new storylines. Each of the storylines is loosely based off real-life events, which is actually frightening because some of the stories like “Asylum” and “Murder House” were eerie and disturbing to watch.

Even though the eighth season of the show, “AHS: Apocalypse,” was successful and fans wanted more, a continuation into Season 9 is unlikely. Season 9, titled “AHS: 1984” is rumored to give a tribute to slasher films, despite the misleading title, which remind some of George Orwell’s novel of the same name. Judging by the trailer, the music — Billie Eilish’s “Six Feet Under” — adds a more innocent tone, which insinuates that most of the characters in the new season will be youthful.

According to Murphy, the inspiration for the new season came primarily from classic horror films like “Friday the Thirteenth” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” hence the name “AHS: 1984,” because both films were released during that year.

Many fans have been coming up with theories as to what surprises could unravel in “AHS: 1984.” Ever since the second season, “AHS: Asylum,” many fans have been buzzing about the possibility of a space-themed miniseries for Season 9. It’s been about five years since “American Horror Story” included extraterrestrial characters into their show, so there is huge potential for an alien-slasher season to happen, especially considering the number of hints given in the previous season.

In “AHS: Apocalypse,” there were multiple references to Russia, and Carpenter’s “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” was featured multiple times. From these recurrences, fans have gathered that “AHS: 1984” could focus on the Space Race or Area 51, and even feature some spies. Also, Venable (Sarah Paulson) referred to the servants as “the grays,” which is a common nickname for aliens, and Mead (Kathy Bates) sang a song that was famously performed in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” For most people, these minute details may not mean much, but for die-hard fans, they are everything.

Paulson and Bates will most likely make appearances in the new season, along with series regulars Emma Roberts, Leslie Grossman and Billie Lourd. However, Evan Peters will not be returning this season, due to the “emotional toll” the show has had on him.

The cast of the horror anthology series has won many accolades for their performances: Jessica Lange — who has been in five out of the eight seasons and will probably return for Season 9 — won two Emmy’s, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild award. Series regular Kathy Bates also won an Emmy, so it will be no surprise when the performances this season are exceptional.

Fortunately, “AHS: 1984” won’t be the last season of the series. It’s already been renewed for Season 10, so there is still time to film crossover episodes and room to produce the storylines that fans have been waiting for. Some fans were expecting the “Coven” witches to return in the new season, but unfortunately, they aren’t coming back for this installment, although Murphy made it clear that the witches will be back eventually.

Looking back on the series as a whole, there are intriguing theories as to what the show represents, and one could hint at the Season 9’s theme. Murphy reposted one theory on Instagram, captioning it “Interesting.” The post claims that each season of “American Horror Story” focuses on one of the nine circles of Hell: Limbo is “Murder House,” Gluttony is “Hotel,” Greed is “Freak Show,” Anger is “Roanoke,” Heresy is “Cult,” Fraud is “Asylum” and Treachery is “Coven.” The two circles left are Violence and Lust, and “Apocalypse” covered violence pretty thoroughly, so maybe “AHS: 1984” will highlight Lust.

As the new season could spotlight a space race or finding extraterrestrial creatures, Lust could come in the form of discovering the unknown and possibly tie back to Greed.

Every horror movie or television show, at least the ones worth watching, deliver messages that are painstakingly true and the ones that people are afraid of hearing. So far, “American Horror Story” has delivered exactly that, every season. The acting is phenomenal, and the stories are guilty pleasures. It can be a bit much at times, but that’s part of the appeal. There is no satire; it’s strictly horror. The horror genre is usually hit-or-miss, but “American Horror Story” has consistently hit the nail on the head and cracked the skull.

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