The American Horror Summer is underway, with Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Stories arriving on Hulu last week, and the brand new season of American Horror Story called Double Feature, set to premiere on August 25th. Debuting with a two-episode premiere entitled “Rubber W(o)man,” American Horror Stories quickly became the most successful launch of any FX/Hulu series. The highly anticipated spin-off of American Horror Story will move away from the season-long story arc approach of the original and instead tell self-contained, anthology-style episodes. Murphy announced the show back in May 2020 promising AHS stars “you know and love” were set to appear. Promises of Easter eggs and links to the main show have been made, but we are just as excited to see a whole new set of twisted tales. Here we take a look at five things we want to see in American Horror Stories.
The story of Bloody Mary is one of the most popular Urban Legends of all time and has become a popular slumber-party ritual undertaken by generations of children. The legend says that the vicious and vengeful spirit of Mary can be summoned by repeating her name into a mirror several times. Given the huge popularity behind the myth, many different versions of the story have been told. One of the most popular tales dates back to the 1700s where a real-life woman named “Mary Bloodsworth,” was hung for crimes of witchcraft in the Boston area. While another suggests a woman named Mary was forced to watch as a village killed her child in front of her. American Horror Stories would have a lot of ways to tell this story – taking the show back to the 1700s for a period piece, or bringing a more modern interpretation to the legend. Bloody Mary has been seen in cinematic releases, as well as her infamous appearance in Season one of the hit horror show, Supernatural. Ryan Murphy recently conducted an online poll, asking fans what they would like to see from the AHS universe moving forward, and Bloody Mary was one of the most popular subjects throughout – so it is very possible we will see this story play out in one form or another.
The Wendigo is a mythical creature or evil spirit popularised in North American folklore. The creature is said to be a malevolent spirit with human-like characteristics, that invokes feelings of insatiable hunger and the desire to cannibalize human beings. The story has been told in the regions of the great plains of the United States and the East Coast forests of Canada. One of its first appearances in popular culture dates back to Algernon Blackwood’s 1910 story entitled “The Wendigo”, with more recent depictions seen in shows like Supernatural, Grimm, and Hannibal, as well as the video game Until Dawn.
As well as making a Creature-Feature in the wilderness terrain, the show could take the story in another direction, taking it down a more psychological path as the Wendigo term lends its name to modern psychiatry in a condition called “Wendigo Psychosis.” – symptoms exhibited by patients include a craving for human flesh and a fear of becoming a cannibal! There are actually two documented examples of this condition. Firstly, dating back to 1878 where a Plains Native in Alberta known as ‘Swift Runner’ butchered his wife and five children. The family was said to be miles away from any supplies during the harsh winter conditions, resulting in the father resorting to cannibalism. Swift Runner confessed to his crimes and was executed by authorities. Another case dates to 1907 where a medicine man named Jack Fiddler was arrested for homicide as he killed many people with the condition – by doing so, he purportedly earned a reputation for having powers that enabled him to defeat Wendigoes. All of these tales could serve as inspiration for Murphy to craft his own unique version of the story.
Another popular Urban Legend is that of The Hook-man – a faceless, silhouetted man wearing a raincoat and hat, who stalks and kills his victims with a hook for a hand. The most popular origin story for this is one of an amorous young couple who are getting intimate in a secluded area when the radio broadcasts news of a Hook-Handed lunatic’s escape from a local mental institution. They are soon hunted down by The Hook-man, who ends up suspending one of them above their car, leaving them scratching the roof as they swing lifelessly. The legend has been a central inspiration in popular horror franchises like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Candyman. The story works as a teen slasher or ghostly horror, so there are creative opportunities for American Horror Stories to bring this popular American tale to life with its own unique, twisted version of the story.
Unlike many urban legends, this one has some basis in actual events – In 1970s North Virginia, a couple was driving and parked near a train overpass bridge for a moment to get their bearings. As they did this, a mysterious and threatening figure appeared out of nowhere and began threatening violence on the couple if they did not leave. They later reported the incident to the police, saying that the man was dressed in white clothing and had something on his head. Over the next few days, weeks, months, and years, this report became interpreted as their attacker having rabbit ears – and so the myth began.
Many different versions of the urban legend have been told, but one of the more popular versions says that The Bunnyman is the spirit of a crazy man who escaped from an asylum. During his escape, he was said to have begun killing people and animals, mutilating the bodies afterward. As the story is told over many decades, the ghost of this man is now said to be the thing that continues to bloodshed, although theories suggest copycat killers keep the story alive. The infamous hauntings are mostly reported at ‘Bunnyman Bridge,’ which is actually illegal to walk across as it sits on active train lines. The place has been a hotspot for paranormal investigators throughout the years. American Horror Stories could approach this episode in many different ways – mixing genres between the true story and haunting elements, or opting to do a found-footage piece involving a group of paranormal investigators.
THE LADY IN WHITE
Little is known about the origins of The Lady In White urban legend, but one of the more popular stories talks of The Lady haunting Route 126 in California. Dubbed by some as “Highway to Hell,” Route 126 is apparently known to be one of the more dangerous routes across the country. The legend says that an apparition appears on a road near the highway, often faceless and floating mere inches off the ground. Other reports suggest that she appears in full human-like form and attempts to hitch-hike. Once she emerges, she reaches into the skulls of her victims and fills their heads with visions of their worst nightmares, causing them to crash off the road. Theories on her origin suggest that she died in a car accident on that road, with another claiming she was hung from a tree during the American/Mexican conflicts of old. The Lady in White story has been depicted in many Film and TV formats over the years, with Supernatural choosing the story for their pilot episode back in 2005. American Horror Stories would be the perfect place to reintroduce this classic tale to a new audience – crafting an episode with its own unique style.
There are a few ideas we would love to see in American Horror Stories! What stories would you like to see take place in the series? Let us know in the comments section below and on our social media pages.
American Horror Stories is now available to stream on Hulu. Check out the trailer below.
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