The advent of fall each year means a lot of things: pumpkin-flavored everything, spooky marathons, and, of course, a new season of American Horror Story.
Fall 2023 will be no different in that regard — the latest edition of the long-running horror anthology is fast approaching. As usual, FX has opted to show rather than overtly tell us about the new episodes via a series of short, cryptic, and spine-tingling teasers.
In the lead-up to the 12th season, which has been dubbed AHS: Delicate, EW is breaking down what we think it all means, below, as well as everything else you need to know — from who's in the cast to when and where to watch.
Who's in the cast?
AHS alum Emma Roberts, who previously starred in Coven, Freak Show, Cult, Apocalypse, and 1984, is headlining this season as Anna. She is joined by series newcomers Cara Delevingne and Kim Kardashian.
Not much is known about their characters yet, though they each have their own poster. Kardashian's promo shows her with long, white-blonde hair and freakishly long eyelashes, with a giant spider on top of her abdomen. Series creator Ryan Murphy previously told The Hollywood Reporter that Halley Feiffer, the season's showrunner and sole writer, had "written a fun, stylish, and ultimately terrifying role especially for Kim, and this season is ambitious and unlike anything we have ever done."
Delevingne's poster, meanwhile, shows her sporting similarly severe white locks with spider-esque glasses and a devilish grin, holding a surgical needle with a treacherous spider within.
FX Networks Cara Delevingne's 'AHS: Delicate' poster
Pose Golden Globe winner Michaela Jaé Rodriguez and AHS veteran Zachary Quinto will also appear in Delicate. The official trailer (below) also officially confirms the casting of Matt Czuchry, Billie Lourd, Denis O'Hare, and Leslie Grossman.
What is this season about?
Per FX: "In American Horror Story: Delicate, after multiple failed attempts of IVF, actress Anna Victoria Alcott (Roberts) wants nothing more than to start a family. As the buzz around her recent film grows, she fears that something may be targeting her — and her pursuit of motherhood." It's the first season in the horror anthology to be based on a book, in this case Delicate Condition, by author Danielle Valentine, which was released in August.
What do we know about the show from the book?
The book follows Anna, a New York City-based actress who has a breakthrough performance in a hit indie film and thus finds herself dealing with her newfound fame while enduring countless IVF treatments. Though she finds solace in her friend Siobhan, a more famous actress than she is, no one really believes Anna's claims that there are malevolent forces at play stalking her and attempting to stop her pregnancy. When she finally gets pregnant, her doctor later informs her that she has had a miscarriage. And yet, she can still feel the fetus growing inside her and see the physical toll the pregnancy is having on her body. The effects of the pregnancy only become more obvious and severe as someone starts stalking her through the Hamptons.
"It is essentially a horror novel about pregnancy," Valentine previously told EW of her book. "It's a novel exploring not just the actual physical gruesomeness of what pregnancy is, but also the medical gaslighting that even modern, very privileged women experience as they're going through their pregnancies and the symptoms that I feel we as a culture still don't talk about for strange reasons." While early praise for Delicate Condition likened it to a modern, feminist Rosemary's Baby, Valentine clarified, "I was really much more inspired by Alien, which I think will also give readers an idea of where I'm taking this."
Although it's too soon to tell how the show will hold up to the book, the official logline for the season so far is strikingly similar to Delicate Condition.
What do the trailers potentially tell us about the new season?
Arachnophobes, look away! The first two teasers (above) share very similar imagery that lines up with what we know about the new episodes. They're both set to a slowed-down, eerie rendition of "Rock-a-bye Baby" and feature horrific spins on pregnancy and baby-related images, as well as — gulp — spiders galore.
Just because spiders and their webs and creepy-crawly ickiness are all over the teasers, though, that doesn't necessarily mean they'll star in the new season. In past years, the imagery used in AHS teasers has often taken on a more metaphorical role, so it's more likely they're meant to represent traps, or webs of lies and deceit, than outright spider monsters. (Though this being AHS, you never know.) Case in point: Kardashian can be seen in the middle of a web, holding what appears to be a baby. Perhaps she's the one trying to take Roberts' child away?
FX Kim Kardashian in 'American Horror Story: Delicate'
The pregnancy and pregnancy loss motifs are a bit more obvious. IVF definitely factors in here, as we see Roberts on an operating table getting a supportive kiss from her partner, with visions of embryos and needles shown throughout. Delevingne is holding a needle, like in the poster, so it's possible she could be a fertility doctor. There's also a creepy rocking cradle, a bird's egg falling from a treetop and shattering, and long fingers grasping at a pregnant belly. Presumably representing the omnipresent, faceless threat that Roberts' character imagines for herself, there's also plenty of shots of white-haired, ambiguous women moving ominously in a circle.
A third teaser, below, takes this one step further by focusing on Roberts being chased through a hallway with people crawling all along the walls behind her.
The full-length trailer, released Sept. 6, reveals the first official footage from the season. It shows Kardashian's character as a sort of mentor and (possibly sinister) friend to Roberts' Anna, and introduces Czuchry as Anna's husband. Delevingne, meanwhile, is shown as possibly following Anna in addition to being one of her fertility doctors.
When and where can I watch AHS: Delicate?
AHS: Delicate hits FX on Sept. 20 and will stream on Hulu the next day. It will be split up into two parts, with part 1 consisting of five episodes. A premiere date for part 2 has not yet been announced.
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