American Horror Story’s “Delicate” Indicates the Demise of AHS 

Whether or not you’ve had the guts to watch it, you probably know the name: “American Horror Story” (“AHS”). The iconic horror series is back with its 12th season titled “Delicate.” The show is taking a new route with this season differing from the rest of the series as it is based upon the recent novel “Delicate Condition” by Danielle Valentine, the first time the show has been adapted from a book.

This is also the first season that the show’s creator, Ryan Murphy, has not written. Instead, actress and playwright Halley Feiffer is the season’s sole writer and showrunner. 

For those not familiar with “AHS,” it is a horror anthology television series, meaning the seasons are mostly independent mini-series. Throughout the series, cast members such as Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson have been repeatedly acting in “AHS.” Both Paulson and Peters have been key elements linking the show, independent from the shared genre of horror. While “Delicate” only features Emma Roberts and a returning actor, there are other staples of the show that are present, such as the theme music and particular color schemes that tie the series together. 

With Roberts as the only veteran of the show, the cast of this season is something worth mentioning, especially considering the familiar faces within it. Personally, I’m not sure I would be watching this season if it weren’t for the small but mighty addition of Kim Kardashian.  Kardashian is no trained actress, (and most likely will not be up for an Oscar in the foreseeable future) but this role was definitely for her.

Playing the role of a driven publicist, it feels like Kardashian is playing herself at times, which is to the advantage of the show. Unfortunately, my issue with Kardashian is that her presence in a scene automatically takes away any sense of fear I had. I will be surprised if there comes a day I find myself genuinely afraid of something involving Kim Kardashian, but stranger things have happened.

Another new addition to the “AHS” cast is Cara Delevinge. Unlike Kardashian, Delevingne has experience in the acting realm but is well known for being a fashion model. Much like Kardashian being displayed on the screen, it is hard to not focus on Delevingne’s presence. I think the casting of this season is entertaining nonetheless, but can leave seasoned “AHS” viewers disappointed.

Some fans have boycotted the series due to the striking absence of beloved actors Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters. Because of the exclusion of these actors, the series has taken a slight decline in both craft and engagement in recent seasons. Bringing in the iconic Kim Kardashian and Delevingne is undoubtedly a strategic move in terms of viewership but could potentially mar the series as past its prime, grasping for relevancy.

Unlike most “AHS” seasons that start off with simple ideas and twist into incredible horror, this season begins following the life of famous actress Anna Victoria Alcott played by Emma Roberts, and her journey of becoming pregnant through IVF. Episode one, titled “Multiply Thy Pain,” begins with relation to the Bible, displaying Genesis 3:16: “Unto the woman he said, ‘I will multiply thy pain and thy conception; in pain thou shalt bring forth children.’”

The verse is an interesting way to start the season by giving viewers an eerie religious introduction to pregnancy and implying the horror Anna may experience through it. The first scene features foreshadowing, portraying Anna waking up to an intruder in bed with her, a scene that doesn’t actually take place chronologically until episode two. Without giving spoilers, the gore is heavy from the first few minutes of episode one. If you squeal at the sight of blood you probably shouldn’t be watching this season — or “AHS” in general.

The second episode, which aired last Thursday, starts to form the series’ plot a bit more but in a different direction than I anticipated. While the degree of horror varies from season to season, I think this episode makes attempts with suspense and confusion to provoke fear. It’s a less frightening season, and as a result, they toe the line between being concerned and being afraid for the main character. This episode fell too far to the side of leaving the audience concerned for the main character, as the episode ended it left me more sad than scared.

For “AHS” fans holding out hope for a season that could contend among the likes of “Coven” or the OG “Murder House,” “Delicate” is not it. While the season has only aired two episodes, there is still the possibility things could ramp up significantly. However, I’m not counting on it. Until the day comes that the words, “Directed by: Sarah Paulson” roll with the end credits, I fear American Horror Story has passed its glory days.