'American Horror Story: Double Feature' Trailer: Come Up To The Lab And See What's On The Slab

The latest installment of American Horror Story, affectionately known as Double Feature, has been shrouded in mystery (per usual). And while creator and showrunner Ryan Murphy is often very secretive about what each season will bring to the table, this season seems to be throwing some curveballs. Namely that the season will be split in half with two potentially isolated stories.

The brand new trailer and poster for the season sheds a bit more gloom on the matter and offers some eerie insight into what's in store. 

A Tale of Two Creepies 

The initial poster for the season was vague (again, per usual), and Murphy coyly shared the hint "Things are beginning to wash up on shore..." on his Instagram back in March of 2020. This March, Murphy turned to Instagram yet again to give us a bit more information on the tenth season of the anthology series: "One by the sea...one by the sand." 

Danielle Ryan broke down what we know thus far just two weeks ago including information about AHS newcomers Macaulay Culkin and model-actress Kaia Gerber. What she gleaned then was that one story would focus on mermaids or sirens of the deep, while the other would be centered on aliens and potential abduction. 

This new poster and trailer, both released today, confirm that. 

Something Scary This Way Comes (Hopefully)

I'm a conflicted fan of the series if I'm being honest. While I love its camp, I'm also torn by its often reductive treatment of the genre. More often than not it frames horror as little more than a collection of synthesized stereotypes that you can just throw at a wall and see what sticks. 

No season illustrated that quite as much as Assylum, in my opinion. 

The entirety of the second season was a chaotic mess of endless horror tropes, most of which did not go well together. We had aliens, abduction, possession, Anne Frank for some reason, Nazi scientists, a killer Santa Clause by way of a woefully underutilized Ian McShane, as well as torture, body horror, serial killers, and I think I'm just scratching the surface. It was a mess. 

My favorite seasons, on the other hand, have to be Coven and Apocalypse, mostly because they're distinctly aware of their camp factor and they're just a blast to watch. But the best by far and easily the most cohesive season has to be Roanoke

My Roanoke Nightmare

The sixth season kind of took a double feature approach in as much as it was split in half. The first half was presented as My Roanoke Nightmare, a documentary and dramatic reenactment of everything that happened to couple Shelby and Matt Miller (each played by Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe as well as Cuba Gooding Jr. and André Holland respectively) in their haunted home. Paulson and Gooding Jr. took on the fictionalized roles of the "real-life" Rabe and Holland. 

The second half of the season takes a bit more of a One Cut of the Dead meets Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum approach to things by leaning more into found footage. The cast of the documentary rejoined their "real-life" counterparts to spend one night in the actual home that caused so much terror. 

The biggest complaint anyone can lodge against AHS as a franchise is its inability to cohesively pace a season. It actually functions better in two distinct parts, and Roanoke got that right off the hop. Seasons like Freak Show, Hotel, Cult, and 1984 — although this really applies to all of them — kill off who we assume will be the big bad by the halfway mark. Audiences are left scratching their heads wondering why the villain they'd been selling us for months was suddenly and underwhelmingly dispatched. 

Double Feature may actually work to Murphy's strengths in this regard. It's still unclear if the season will be two completely distinct stories that happen to be told back to back, or if there will be any connective tissue between them. At the end of the day, that doesn't matter. That a show this campy and fun (despite my gripes) is finally tackling mermaids and aliens is genuinely very exciting. 

Take it from a woman who spent her whole life being asked "wErE yOuR pArEnTs FaNs Of ThE LitTlE mErMaId?" Getting to see unromanticized merfolk in popular media would be a blessing.

American Horror Story: Double Feature will premiere on FX in the U.S. on Wednesday, August 25 at 10 p.m. EST, and will be available for streaming the next day on FX on Hulu.