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How Alien inspired American Horror Story season 12 with its focus on "physical gruesomeness" of pregnancy

Danielle Valentine explained how her novel Delicate Condition, which is the basis for season 12, owes some inspiration to Ridley Scott's scifi classic

Image credit: 20th Century Fox, FX

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If you're a horror fan and have been keeping up with the latest season of American Horror Story, you might think some inspiration for the pregancy-based chiller comes from Rosemary's Baby. You wouldn't be alone - Collider, Polygon, and Bloody Disgusting have all compared the new season, titled Delicate, to the 1968 classic. But according to the mind behind the season, author Danielle Valentine, Delicate owes its parentage to a different horror staple.

"I was really much more inspired by Alien," she says.

If you didn't know, Valentine's creator role doesn't come from being showrunner or screenwriter. Rather, Valentine is the author of Delicate Condition, the book upon which season 12 is based. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Valentine explained the connection she discovered between Alien and pregnancy gone awry - both are tales of body horror, a "physical gruesomeness," as she puts it.

"[Alien is] really a movie about pregnancy," Valentine says, "but it's been written by a man who doesn't understand that that's what he's writing about. [...] It's what happens when a guy thinks, What's the scariest possible thing I can come up with? And it's this idea of, what if you're growing this creature inside of you and it's using your resources to get bigger and you can't control it? It has a mind of its own, and then one day it just bursts out of you in this gruesome, bloody mess. When I first saw it when I was a kid, it didn't occur to me that that's basically what pregnancy is, but at six months pregnant, I'm like, 'Oh, wow! That's just a pregnancy story without the pregnancy.' That was the seed right there."

And it was, to extend the metaphor, a seed that bore fruit. As of now, Valentine holds the distinction of being the only person to have authored a book that's inspired a season of American Horror Story, and that season reached almost half a million households upon debut.

Whichever horror classic those viewers choose to compare it to is just a bonus.


Let Popverse carry you into the dark with our American Horror Story watch guide. Already a fan of the show? Stay informed on the AHS Season 12 release date. Think you're an expert? See if you know which AHS cast member has returned the most times. And if you've finished the series and still need more, check out these six shows to watch after American Horror Story.

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About the Author
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Grant DeArmitt

Contributing writer

Grant DeArmitt (he/him) likes horror, comics, and the unholy pairing of the two. He has written for Nightmare on Film Street and Newsarama, despite their better judgement. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner, Kelsey, and corgi, Legs.
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