Why Season 10 of 'American Horror Story' Is Split Into Two Parts

AHS fans who have not been paying attention may be very confused next week when the FX show goes from a story about artist-vampires to one about the boom in UFO sightings in the 1950s.

No, this is not one of American Horror Story's many flashbacks: Season 10 has been split into two parts this year. The first part is "Red Tide" which viewers have been watching on FX and Hulu over the last five weeks, and the second part is "Death Valley," which begins on Wednesday, September 29.

The fact that American Horror Story Season 10 would be split in two was teased by this season's title, "Double Feature."

However, fans have still found themselves wondering exactly why the show is fitting two stories into the space of one.

Why American Horror Story Season 10 is split into two parts

AHS creator Ryan Murphy has been teasing that Season 10 would tell two stories since the end of the 1984 season in 2019. In a Variety interview, he said that he was toying with "dealing with two ideas and I lean towards whichever is more in my brain right now."

However, as American Horror Story: Double Feature shows, the super-producer eventually decided to do both ideas.

Murphy also hinted that year that the new season would involve extra-terrestrial. When TV Guide asked him what the Season 10 theme would be, he pointed them to Episode 8 of 1984. In that episode, a true-crime journalist mentions aliens in a conversation with the characters played by Emma Roberts and Angelica Ross (who went on to star in AHS Season 10).

Notably, she also mentions Bigfoot in this exchange, who would become a major plot point in an episode of the AHS spin-off American Horror Stories.

american horror story double feature
Promo image for "American Horror Story: Double Trouble." This season has two stories: One about vampire-like creatures in modern-day Provincetown and another about aliens in the 1950s. FX

American Horror Stories also gives us a further clue as to why the original show has split Season 10 into two. The creation of the spin-off show that tells a new story every week showed that the show was willing to experiment with telling shorter stories.

Different seasons have had different episode lengths depending on how long the story they wanted to tell was. 1984, for example, was nine episodes, while seasons like Freak Show had been 13.

In doing this, the show is also paying tribute to Hollywood history. The season is named Double Feature after a marketing gimmick movie theaters in the U.S. used to bring people in during the Great Depression and for the next few decades afterwards.

A double feature would see a theater offering two films for the price of one. Sometimes this would be a lower-budget "b" picture (which is where the phrase "B-movie" comes from) followed by a higher-budget "a" picture. Other times, it would be two genre movies together, be it sci-fi (which inspired the Rocky Horror song "Science Fiction Double Feature") or horror (which inspired American Horror Story Season 10).

Murphy is a well-known fan of classic Hollywood, as seen in shows he has worked on like Hollywood and Feud: Bette and Joan, and this seems like his latest tribute to the Golden Age of Hollywood.

American Horror Story Season 10 airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. CT on FX. Episodes are available the next day on Hulu.