Ryan Murphy just loves to give away clues to Entertainment Weekly about the topic of American Horror Story Season 5. The latest revelation is that a top hat will be a "big Season 5 clue" to AHS . But this time, he may have given away too much. Murphy's comments have sent the whole Internet on a mad hunt to try and find out the significance of the "top hat" symbol —and they may have succeeded. Operation Top Hat was a top-secret US Military tactical exercise, where they tested chemical weapons like nerve gas on unknowing civilian subjects. That could be AHS' fifth season right there — American Horror Story: Military Base.
Of course, as with anything Murphy-related, he's wont to change his mind or imply plenty of things that he doesn't mean. For instance, he promised time and time again that he wasn't going with a circus theme for Season 4, even though he ended up choosing the basically identical but semantically different "Freak Show." Say what you will, but he's using contortionists, clowns, and even a Ferris Wheel — it's basically a circus/carnival. So even though he swears that the season won't be about space, for example, that might not mean that he won't be doing a story about aliens or extraterrestrial life. The whole thing could take place on the military base where Operation Top Hat occurred. Area 51 has passed into legend, so we could see what a small town at the border of a government facility has to go through, from exposure to chemicals and radiation to UFO sightings.
But if Murphy is considering adapting a story inspired by Operation Top Hat, a lot of its elements will be pretty familiar to AHS fans. The aliens were the most underbaked element of Season 2, Asylum. Operation Top Hat took place in 1953, just one year after Freak Show, and would cover similar themes of uncommon genetic mutations and unwilling patients being experimented on for the purposes of science, like the victims of Asylum's Dr. Arden. And so far, the show has alternated between period pieces and contemporary seasons. Setting the show on a 1953 military base wouldn't break from that pattern.
But a top hat could also signify several other things, like a season all about Abraham Lincoln, a Monopoly-themed season, a season all about ballroom dancing (like the Fred Astaire film Top Hat), or an educational company. However, it's a little hard to find where the horror would come from in those scenarios. Except for Monopoly. Real estate is genuinely terrifying.
Image: Michele K. Short/FX (2)