An American Horror Story Community
Wednesday 10:00 PM on FX
Recently, it was revealed that AHS would (obviously) be renewed for a fourth season and apparently Ryan Murphy already has a non-contemporary setting picked out-- whatever that means! With this news though, I've decided to start exploring possible American locations for future installments of the series. The show is clearly inspired by both American horror movies as well as real-life events so I’ve picked out settings which could easily incorporate this standard formula that AHS uses every season. Also, because they tend to use the ‘flashback’ fairly often, it would make sense for them to choose locations that have a lot of history. And, just because everything is better with music, I've got Harry Belafonte's Shake Senora below for your listening enjoyment (from one of the greatest movies of all time... BEETLEJUICE):

Now, check out the list below:

#1 Traveling Carnival / Abandoned Amusement Park

Ever since Pepper made her first appearance in Asylum, there was some speculation that AHS would be heading to a ‘Freak Show’ traveling circus for one of their future settings. I couldn’t be more on board with this!

For one, those places are creepy as hell—and the Carnies, think about how much fun this show could have with a cast of characters who are members of a traveling Carnival… the possibilities are endless!

This being AHS, I think the Carnival/Freak Show setting would make for an entertaining season of television and could be based on some pretty bizarre real-life acts such as the Elephant Man, the Four-Legged Lady, the Half Lady, the Human Unicorn and the Lion-Faced Boy just to name a few (see pictures here).

Not to mention that this would be a great way to introduce a killer clown into the show! I don’t know too many people who find clowns cute and funny these days—so why the hell not introduce a clown-type story if it has the potential to scare the crap out of us… just like Stephen King scared the living piss out of 10-year old past me with Pennywise-- the scariest clown on Planet Earth.

And, they could even explore the REAL story of the Killer Clown from Chicago, John Wayne Gacy.

Man, I get goosebumps writing this stuff knowing it actually happened IN REAL LIFE. The flashback potential for this would be through the ROOF! And the traveling circus thing could eventually put our setting in Chicago, the real setting where Mr. ‘Killer Clown’ Gacy committed his heinous crimes.

Basically, Gacy was a real-life serial killer whom they called the ‘Killer Clown’. He ended up murdering 33 teenage boys and young men, a majority of which were buried in the crawlspace of his home and covered up with concrete. The F’d up meter is through the roof on this one.

The entire story is so messed up that it is hard to believe it actually happened. That said, there is definitely something about a dude joining a local clown club called the ‘Jolly Jokers’ and naming himself ‘Pogo the Clown’ that would give people nightmares! Also, another bizarre fact: Gacy met First Lady Rosalynn Carter, adding yet another weird twist to the story. This has AHS written all over it. If you’d like to read more about the Gacy story, click here.

Now just throwing this out there but picture Eric Stonestreet (from Modern Family whom also made a guest appearance in Season 1 of AHS—Piggy, Piggy anyone?) as Gacy sewing together a clown costume and teaching himself how to apply clown makeup! And the clown part isn't even the craziest part of this story!!! Basically, the story goes something like this. Gacy had brought back a teenage boy, Jack McCoy, to spend the night. When Gacy awoke the next morning, the boy was standing in the doorway with a kitchen knife. After a brief struggle, Gacy ended up stabbing the boy to death. After walking downstairs, however, Gacy found bacon and eggs on the counter and the table was set for two. The boy had inadvertently brought the knife with him when he went to wake up Gacy—the incident ultimately leading to Gacy’s spiral of craziness. Obviously, I don’t support this kind of behavior whatsoever—but we’re talking about AHS here, and this tragic set of events is beyond bat shit crazy.

Regardless, a carnival theme has instant classic written all over it and would be much more upbeat than previous seasons (see Asylum).

#2 Graveyard / Funeral Parlour

AHS has already been to a murder house and an asylum so I thought why not have an entire season dedicated to a Cemetery/Funeral Parlour location.
The entire season could revolve around a family who runs a funeral parlour located on the Cemetery grounds (think Six Feet Under meets The Addams Family). We’d get to meet different kinds of quirky characters like The Embalmer and the Undertaker. And of course, in AHS fashion, they could include some corruption within the family (i.e. maybe one of the family members is selling corpses or body parts for a profit). To be honest, the possibilities are endless when the setting in question is a resting place for the dead. Or dead animals—Pet Sematary FTW!

Another really interesting component that I would absolutely love to see on AHS is a Ghostbuster type theme. So, for example, why not have a group of people (kinda like the two geeky guys from the Insidious movies) who basically go around bustin’ ghosts. It would be a shout out to one of the best horror comedies ever made! And the graveyard is an easy setting to introduce this type of plot. Maybe some ghosts and goblins can escape from their graves and start wreaking havoc, sending in our ‘Ghostbusters’ to investigate. Who you gonna call?

The graveyard setting also makes it very easy to introduce any historical figure. Pick a tombstone, any tombstone—the possibilities are endless! This season, we have already seen the writers introduce the Axeman of New Orleans into the story and even explain what happened to him (even though no one actually knows what happened to him in reality). So why not have the show explore the disappearance of another real person like Jimmy Hoffa and the mystery of his body? Once again, they could take an existing mystery that is extremely interesting and continue the story with an American Horror twist of course! I said it once and I’ll say it again—the possibilities are endless. If you want to learn more about the Jimmy Hoffa story, click here.

#3 Campground on Beach/Lake

So many classic American horror movies take place in the woods: Blair Witch Project, Evil Dead, Cabin in the Woods, and of course, Friday the 13th could all be used as inspiration for an entire season dedicated to the campgrounds of the USA!

Who can’t relate to a good ghost story by the campfire while roasting some marshmallows (mmm…burnt marshmallows) and hotdogs on the open flame. And what better way to start the story than by having a group of campers telling ghost stories by the fire while they are out on a camping trip.

Regardless where the writers went with this idea, I’m pretty sure it would be awesome no matter the choice! For one, they could easily explore the origins of Bigfoot given the entire season would be taking place in the bush—or any other type of monster that dwells in the forest for that matter.

Or why not pay homage to Friday the 13th and have a Jason-type serial killer on the loose in the woods. Nothing says American Horror like Jason and Friday the 13th!

Another interesting concept might be to use a theme about nature and the destruction of nature. Why not have the wildlife, plants and trees come to life and take revenge on the human beings who are desecrating their lands! Woodland Critter Christmas, anyone?

With so many horror movies taking place in the woods, I think we will have to see something like this sooner or later! Now, where did I put those marshmallows?

#4 American Northwest (South Dakota/Wyoming/Montana)

This season features a pretty heavy theme of Witchcraft vs. Voodoo, which opens up the door for some other potentially crazy wild showdowns. I have an interesting idea regarding how this could all play out. The American Northwest is known historically for the gold rush as well as a little well-known battle that took place in 1876—the Battle of Little Bighorn. This entire setting and the history that comes with it would be amazing on the television screen. I can already see it: somehow General Custer is back from the dead and he’s brought an army of dead cowboys with him! Only to be met by Sitting Bull and his army of dead Indians, armed only with Tomahawks and Bow and Arrows… maybe throw a little magic in there too… epicness.

Again, this setting would allow the show to go back and forth between present and past. It could introduce historical figures such as General Custer and Sitting Bull. And offers a unique plot that is loosely based on real facts. Moreover, the writers could go deep into magic vs. non-magic belief systems and even incorporate shape-shifting into the story (for some reason I’ve always wanted to see a tribe of Leopardmen Shapeshifters—anyone else with me here?).

That said though, the story could begin in a small town in South Dakota (a town that I had the privilege of visiting when I was younger while on a family vacation). The town I am referring to here is named Wall, South Dakota. Now, you might be wondering what is so special about this particular town. The town is actually famous for the Wall Drug Store and its Marketing campaign. The drug store has hundreds of billboards that can be seen for hundreds of miles throughout South Dakota and neighboring states (and can be found on a 650-mile stretch from Minnesota to Montana). Pretty neat stuff.

Now, how does horror fit into all of this? Well, I could potentially see a season like this starting off with a family heading out on a vacation and it all starts with them seeing these billboards for miles before actually reaching Wall, South Dakota. The twist, however, could be that the billboards are really a way for the locals to lure tourists to their town—think ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ or Rob Zombie’s ‘House of 1000 Corpses' or 'The Devil’s Rejects’ as inspiration for this little idea. Plus, the Badlands is in close proximity, adding a little more creepiness to the setting.

As you can see, the American Northwest would make for a completely awesome, unique and interesting setting. So much history, a lot of which never gets put into the mainstream.

And, a couple more obscure ideas: Devil’s Tower National Monument is close-by, located in Wyoming and would make for an awesome setting. There is also some Native American mythology attached to Devil’s Tower. The story involved a group of girls who ended up being chased by a group of giant bears. They climbed up a rock and prayed to their Great Spirit. The rock ended up rising, protecting them from the bears. The bears clawed their way at the rock, leaving claw marks in the sides of the rock and giving Devil’s Tower its unique look. Oh, and it was also featured in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Need I say more. Check out more about Devil's Tower here.

Lastly, they could even explore the mythology of the Jackalope for a little comedic relief. I mean, who wouldn’t wanna see a little rabbit with antlers on this show!?! That would be AWESOME!

#5 Snowy Alaska

Call me crazy, but Siberia could have been a good show…it had SOME potential, especially with the snowy setting it had offered up. Of course, the show ended up being pretty terrible, but that is not to say that it didn't provide me with a great idea for an upcoming season of AHS.

Obviously, many horror movies take place in the ice, cold and snow so by doesn't AHS head North to Nome, Alaska. Nome is an ‘interesting’ setting for so many reasons—but the main reason is that, apparently, there were some disappearances back in 2002 which spurned a 2009 film called ‘The 4th Kind’. Apparently the film was promoted as being “based on true events” and that alien abductions were the reasons for the disappearances but this has been disputed and people have suggested that the movie makers were only trying to exploit the situation. See, we already have a plot!

AHS could easily explore this setting and, being the great horror fiction show that it is, they could easily create a story revolving around some disappearances in a remote town in Alaska. This could also open up the flood gates to drop some other awesome horror genres. I’m thinking a story about a pack of werewolves (which could be a possible explanation for those Nome disappearances), and maybe throw in an Abominable Snowman for good measure!!! Like this season and the Coven, I think it would be a great idea to explore a pack of Werewolves and is there no better setting than icy Alaska for this story to take place?

A snowy setting would completely switch things up. It would introduce a lot of new ideas to the show and movies such as The Thing and The Shining come to mind when I think about getting my scare on in the snow.

#6 Florida Keys / Bermuda Triangle

My last idea could be really original and unique if done properly. Now, you’re probably wondering how in the hell a tropical setting like the Florida Keys could possibly make its way into American Horror Story! Well, hear me out… this one is actually inspired by some pretty cool, unsolved mysteries. Not to mention that hit horror movie about killer sharks… JAWS!

With Coven, AHS decided to explore witchcraft and voodoo, and they have done so in a way that is original, fresh and unpredictable. Well, why not do the same thing using a Florida Keys setting. Oh, and did I mention that a tropical backdrop could totally lead to the introduction of MERMAIDS! And I’m not talking about the lame Once Upon A Time Mermaid’s… this is AHS after all.

Wait, there’s more! Just because I’m an advocate for the ‘bat shit crazy’, why not throw in some stories about sea monsters or… dare I say it… DINOSAURS (where Terra Nova failed miserably, AHS will succeed). Jurassic Park and Island of Dr. Moreau instantly come to mind as featuring horror in a tropical paradise, but given that we have to stick to the US of A, the Florida Keys would work best given its close proximity to the Caribbean (where pirates used to sail the seas) and the Bermuda Triangle (and swamps). Shiver me Timbers…

Speaking of the Bermuda Triangle… this is yet another mysterious phenomenon that we don’t see too much in the mainstream. And since the Florida Keys makes up a corner of the triangle, this might not be too far-fetched to explore the idea of boats and planes vanishing at sea! I mean—sea monsters, mermaids, dinosaurs and the Bermuda Triangle… who WOULDN’T watch that!

Now I know there hasn’t been a lot of horror that takes place in paradise, but I’ve provided a link to one of the coolest video game trailers ever made (zombies + paradise + slow motion in reverse—need I say more). Check it out below, especially if you haven’t seen it before:

See… horror can clearly work in the tropics! :)

Obviously these are only 6 of many, many potential settings that could be used in future seasons of AHS! If you have an awesome idea, please share it in the comments below, especially if its BAT SHIT CRAZY!


Mike Polychuk is a freelance writer/editor, M.B.A. and aspiring novelist / TV writer. He currently runs his own review blog, Mikey (Dis)likes It. Follow him on Twitter: @mikeydislikesit
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