We are now days away from the premiere of American Horror Story Season 6 and the anticipation is getting higher. To add to the nail biting, Fox has gathered all of the teasers we have seen and compiled them into a glorious 30-second long trailer, with Lady Gaga's newly released song as the backing track. A perfect illusion indeed!
No doubt, this season has been the hardest to crack. Instead of giving fans a cast list and theme at the annual Paleyfest panel held earlier in the year, the team over at Fox decided to shake things up by keeping fans in the dark right up to the premiere. Even though it was revealed that we were purposely being thrown off — as only one of the teasers are real, so fans were led on a wild goose chase — we've still been trying to decipher every possible clue thrown at us.
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After going further and further into a dark hole trying to find some spec of truth within all of the rumors and speculation, a certain fan theory caught my eye. A Reddit user has come up with a particular theory backed with lots of evidence, so it is by far the most convincing I have come across. (And trust me, I have read plenty!) The original post from user hypodermicsally is very lengthy, so here is a breakdown of the major points.
Charlie Manson Clues
Turns out there are references to the infamous cult leader Charles Manson in every season of American Horror Story. The first reference to the cult leader can be found in the very first episode of Season 1. Tate Langdon, played by #EvanPeters, utters the words "Helter Skelter," which was Manson's vision of an apocalyptic war arising from racial tensions between blacks and whites.
It is also pointed out that Tate's character description in the script reads "could be a cult leader or a movie star." Ryan Murphy has said that the "key" to Season 6 lies within the very first season, so besides the lost Roanoke colony theory from Season 1, could this obscure mention and all of the Manson talk throughout the show possibly hint towards a season theme or plot?
This brings us to the promotional content for Season 6. The Reddit user goes through a handful of teasers, explaining how they all reference the Manson cult or cultish behaviour in general. Here are the two I found most mind-blowing...
"Lullaby": The Rosemary's Baby Connection?
In this teaser, we see a mobile made with sharp objects, such as knives and hooks hanging above a baby crib, before a green hand shoots up to grab one of the knives. If you look closely, it appears that the mobile spells out "PIG." Many picked up on this visual and agree that this teaser on a whole is a nod to the Roman Polanski film Rosemary's Baby. If you have not seen the film, it is basically about a pregnant woman who finds out that her husband has made a deal with a religious cult — and that the true father of her baby is, in fact, the devil.
Are you seeing the connections? Well, Polanski's pregnant wife Sharon Tate was brutally murdered in 1969 by members of the Manson Family, and written in her blood on her front door was — you guessed it — the word "PIG." Pure coincidence?
"Camp Sight": A Nod To Heaven's Gate?
In this teaser, we see a tent and a flickering campfire while a person is lifted by a beam; suddenly their body is snapped backwards, resulting in death, yet they are still being pulled by the beam. Similarly to "Lullaby," this teaser alludes not only to the Manson Family cult but also to Marshall Applewhite, leader of the religious cult Heaven's Gate. Applewhite convinced his followers that Earth was going to be "recycled" and that to survive, everyone had to board a spaceship following Comet Hale–Bopp. All 39 members, including Applewhite, committed mass suicide in 1997.
The Reddit user suggests that this could possibly be a nod to Applewhite's belief: the only way to be taken by the spaceship to "a higher level of existence beyond humanity" was to die and free the soul. If that doesn't convince you, then let me tell you how it connects back to Manson. This teaser was captioned "Rise," the same word written in blood on the living room wall of the LaBiancas, who were murdered by the Manson Family in 1969.
After reading through all of the other teaser explanations, the final nail on the head is that this theory managed to answer a question on nearly everyone's mind: what is with all the damn spider/bug imagery?
A handful of the teasers depict the creepy crawlies as fake eyelashes, and even show them entering different body parts. Well, the answer lies again with Charles Manson — he is known for creating pieces of art that depict his fascination with arachnids. A special nod or just Ryan Murphy trying to freak us out?
So, Where's All This Manson Talk Going...American Horror Story: Sect?
We know that Ryan Murphy isn't one to select an obvious subtitle. When fans guessed Season 3 as Salem, Murphy said Coven, and when fans guessed Season 4 as Circus/Carnival, Murphy said Freak Show.
By definition, sect means "a group of people with somewhat different religious beliefs (typically regarded as heretical) from those of a larger group to which they belong" — in other words, a cult!
With all that has been said, it is worth noting that Ryan Murphy went on the record during Season 3 about the idea of a Manson theme: "I want to do an entire season about the [Charles] Manson case, but then we decided that wasn’t respectful to the victims, and it’s really hard to get life rights. We might go back to the Manson thing in some regard one day."
It is highly likely we won't see an actual Manson character any time soon — but it was never said that a character inspired by him is off the table.
Rumors are already circulating that American Horror Story alumni Evan Peters is set to play the villain this year — a charismatic cult leader, perhaps? I am already fully convinced, plus Peters proved in Season 5 that he has the chops for a role like that.
Anything is possible in the world of American Horror Story, and it is known to have multiple plot lines and time frames, so for those of you set on the theory of the Roanoke colony, it is not out of the picture. Will we be seeing the colony in flashbacks, whilst Evan Peters leads a cult in the present day?
Whatever the case, all will be revealed when American Horror Story returns on September 14th.