What do murder houses, mental asylums, witches covens, freak shows and hotels all have in common? Fans of Ryan Murphy's work will know that this mouthful of a sentence lists every setting depicted in American Horror Story so far, but the question on everyone's lips is where will the next season take us?
Now that we know Season Six will premiere on Wednesday, September 14, the clock is ticking, yet the show's producers continue to keep the theme of the next run of episodes under lock and key. All we know so far is Ryan Murphy's tease that Season Six will include "elements of children."
In an interview with TV Line, the show's co-creator explained that;
"If you look at horror tropes, the innocence of children, that sort of wide-eyed entryway into some world, is always very dramatic and satisfying."
With that in mind, let's take a look at five potential child-related themes that Ryan Murphy and his team could use to freak out audiences this fall.
1. American Horror Story: Boarding School
As each season of American Horror Story passes us by, Ryan Murphy has developed more and more connections between each of the show's horrific settings, utilising the same characters that refer back to previous episodes to create one cohesive universe.
Thinking along these lines, the site Popsugar suggested that a throwaway line in the season finale of American Horror Story: Hotel could have provided a vital clue, suggesting that the next season will be set in a boarding school.
At the end of Season Six, the undead John Lowe moves into the Hotel Cortez with his family, but sends his living daughter to be educated at Thatcher School, where she can lead a relatively normal life. This just so happens to be the same place where Nick Drake sends his son Lachlan too. It seems strange that two characters would be sent to this place which is explicitly named if it wasn't going to become important later somewhere down the line.
2. American Horror Story: Antichrist
The team behind American Horror Story have been characteristically secretive about the next season's content, but a teaser recently shared across all of the show's social media platforms could provide the strongest clue yet as to the overall theme of Season Six.
The logo that appeared seems to be a cross between a question mark and the number six, suggesting that perhaps the Antichrist could become the main focus of the next season. Obviously, the number also refers to the number of the season itself, but the digits '666' have long been associated with the Antichrist in horror movies and the like.
The first season of American Horror Story ended with the birth of a child who would reportedly grow up to be the antichrist, so featuring him in the next run of episodes would be a great way to tie the ever-expanding American Horror Story universe together.
3. American Horror Story: Orphanage
Other than the child theme itself, there haven't been any overt clues to suggest that the next season of American Horror Story will be set in an orphanage, but the idea has taken hold for a number of fans due to the inherently creepy atmosphere of this setting.
The Spanish horror The Orphanage is one of the most terrifying and haunting movies released this decade; it's easy to imagine the likes of Lady Gaga or Angela Bassett overseeing a warped orphanage full of similarly freaky children who go out of their way to terrorise prospective parents.
4. American Horror Story: Children's Hospital
Hospitals naturally link with themes of death and loss, so it's easy to imagine the American Horror Story team shifting to a location like this. Nothing is more devastating than the premature death of a baby and the potential to explore this setting with the spirits of children is pretty horrifying to even think about.
There are rumours floating around that suggest a children's hospital will definitely feature in Season Six, but the problem here is that the setting falls too close thematically to the hospital that will feature prominently in the upcoming season of Scream Queens, Ryan Murphy's other pet project.
5. American Horror Story: Summer Camp
Thanks to the likes of Friday the 13th and other iconic slasher movies, summer camps have become a breeding ground for horrific murders in the realm of film and TV.
Older children and teenagers are typically the ones who attend summer camps, but if American Horror Story decided to pay homage to classic horrors from the '70s and '80s, the camp theme would still fit perfectly with Murphy's hint that children will feature heavily in Season Six.
Do you have any ideas for American Horror Story: Season 6?
American Horror Story Season Six will see the return of numerous cast members, including Lady Gaga, Cheyenne Jackson, and Angela Basset when it hits our screens on Wednesday, September 14. In the meantime, check out more American Horror Story goodness with an Evan Peters interview here, reasons why Sarah Paulson should win an Emmy here and find out how Jessica Lange recently won a Tony right here.
Finally, if your head's hurting too much from all of this sleuthing, take a moment to sit back and relax as Jessica Lange nails 'The Name Game' with ease in a standout episode from American Horror Story: Asylum.