American Horror Story Delicate: Is the TV Show Inspired by a Real-Life Episode?

Starring Emma Roberts as Anna Victoria Alcott, a talented actress doused in fame due to her recent success who is more focused on starting her own family than all the glitz and glamour that surrounds her. After multiple failed attempts at conceiving a child, she has a sense of fear that something or someone is targeting her and her pursuit of motherhood. Finally, the one time that she becomes pregnant, thanks to IVF, it results in a tragic miscarriage.

With the growing sense of belief that the child is still alive inside her, Anna finds it hard to make her husband and doctor believe the same. Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, the horror thriller series explores some realistic themes, including pregnancy and its effects, while also focusing on supernatural elements. Thus, it is bound to make the viewers question if the film is based on a true story.

American Horror Story Delicate is Based on a Novel

In fact, for the most part, it is adapted from the novel titled ‘Delicate Condition’ written by Danielle Valentine, who instilled some portions of her reality into her work. This means that the screenwriter Halley Feiffer took inspiration from the chilling book and penned down the script for the twelfth season of ‘American Horror Story,’ bringing the story to life using her creative mind and exceptional penmanship.

When Danielle conceived the idea for ‘Delicate Condition,’ she was seven months pregnant with her daughter Harriet, who is more than three years old, as of writing. Before welcoming Harriet, she was expecting her first child in 2018, which resulted in a heartbreaking miscarriage. She was taken aback by how much toll something like that tends to take on a woman, both mentally and physically, and the fact how complicated a perfectly average pregnancy could be. This is one of the things that fueled her to write ‘Delicate Condition’ and base it on her own personal experiences, helping her go through her pregnancy loss better.

Moreover, in a July 2023 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Danielle explained how her novel is heavily inspired by the 1979 sci-fi horror film ‘Alien.’ She said, “It’s really a movie about pregnancy, 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.”

Danielle further expanded, “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.” Conceiving the basics of the idea within an hour or so, she then checked to see if they had been tackled before in the 1968 psychological thriller ‘Rosemary’s Baby.’ Other than that, she also gives due credit to the works of Stephen King and Sarah Michelle Gellar-led ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’

In the general sense, the horror novel delves deeper into pregnancy and explores the physical gruesomeness associated with it. At the same time, it also sheds light on “the medical gaslighting that even modern, very privileged women experience as they’re going through their pregnancies and the symptoms.” Since the series as well as the novel, taps into so many true aspects embedded in reality, including the author’s personal life, it would be safe to come to a conclusion that ‘American Horror Story: Delicate’ might not be an entirely true tale but it consists of various real elements.

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