American Horror Story is gearing up for its 10th season, and Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Finn Wittrock, Lily Rabe, and Kathy Bates are signed up to return. So is Macaulay Culkin, and that fact alone is the only reason that I might actually watch the show.

Don't get me wrong: I loved AHS when it first came out. Murder House disturbed me more than most horror flicks ever have, and Asylum and Coven were both wonderously twisted and genuinely well-written. But somewhere along the way, things started getting formulaic. The excess of violence felt less purposeful and more like empty gore. The campiness felt less resonant, the characters less sympathetic. By Hotel, I was done.

I never thought I'd return to American Horror Story. I did binge-watch Roanoke during a rather low period in college, but watching that miserable show actually might qualify as self-harm more than anything else. I stumbled on someone watching an episode of 1984 while home for the weekend and felt my insides shriveling up like the baby corpses in the basement of the murder house.

Then, AHS announced that Macaulay Culkin is joining the cast this season. They haven't yet announced the series' title, but I am sincerely hoping that we'll be graced with American Horror Story: Macaulay Culkin, starring Macaulay Culkin as himself.

That might be the only hope the series has left. Culkin could star as a haunted, washed-up former child actor who continues to relive the traumas of his notorious near-death experiences during the filming of Home Alone. The whole thing could be a commentary on childhood and memory and the thin lines between commodity and tragedy. It could be about the commodification of violence in Hollywood and mostly just about Macaulay Culkin, waking up screaming in the night as he hears yet another killer trying to break into his home.

Most likely, AHS's 10th season will be called something like "AHS: Martians," "AHS: Zombies" or "AHS: Beach House." I may also be converted by a show called "AHS: Climate Change," but that might be too real.

You can watch the ominous and admittedly aesthetically pleasing first glimpse below, via Ryan Murphy's Instagram account:

Despite all the headlines that have spread rumors about him over the years, Culkin actually seems to be doing quite well. He's dating Brenda Song, and he has a satire website called Bunny Ears, a podcast with 100+ episode, and two cats named Apple and Dude. He was once in a pizza-themed comedy band and his legal name is "Macaulay Macaulay Culkin Culkin." And now we'll get to see him embroiled in at least a few brutal murders.

The friendship between Michael Jackson and Macaulay Culkin has raised eyebrows since the early 90's. But according to Culkin, it shouldn't. On a recent edition of "Inside of You With Michael Rosenbaum," the Home Alone star discussed his relationship with the king of pop.

He said, "I mean, at the end of the day, it's almost easy to try say it was like weird or whatever, but it wasn't, because it made sense. At the end of the day, we were friends."

The pair were separated by a 22-year age gap, which caused concern and media buzz, particularly after Jackson stood trial in 2005 on charges of child molestation, for which he was found not guilty. Culkin said the only reason people question the friendship is because of Jackson's fame. "It's one of my friendships that people question, only because of the fact that he was the most famous person in the world. I was a peerless person. Nobody else in my Catholic school even had this much idea of what I was going through, and he was the kind of person who'd been through the exact same frickin' thing and wanted to make sure I wasn't alone." Culkin later described Jackson as "gentle" and "hilarious." "For me, it's so normal and mundane," Culkin said. "I know it's a big deal to everybody else, but it was a normal friendship."


While it may be true that there was never anything illicit or illegal about Jackson's relationship with the young actor, it does raise questions about the suitability of a friendship between an adult and a child. Culkin claims that Jackson's interest in him was in part because of Culkin's indifference to fame. "I really didn't give a shit about famous people. I was thoroughly unimpressed by them," he remembered. "So when I first met him I was like 'oh cool, you're that guy who sings songs. I sing songs in school. That's great. So anyway.' I think that's also one of the reasons why we got along. Everyone was always thoroughly impressed by him, so the fact that there was somebody treating him like a normal person, it really was that simple."


Brooke Ivey Johnson is a Brooklyn based writer, playwright, and human woman. To read more of her work visit her blog or follow her twitter @BrookeIJohnson.



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"Macaulay Culkin" is Macaulay Culkin's New Middle Name

After polling fans on his website bunnyears, the actor announced "Macaulay Culkin" beat out "Publicity Stunt" as his new legal middle name.

"Macauley Culkin" is Macauley Culkin's soon-to-be middle name.

On Christmas Day, the actor took to Twitter (his handle is @IncredibleCulk) to announce the winner of a contest in which he'd invited his fans to vote for his new legal name: "My new middle name has been chosen. You voted and the winner is clear. In 2019 my new legal name will be: Macaulay Macaulay Culkin Culkin. It has a nice ring to it (if you like my name)."

The contest was run on the actor's website, which he describes as a hybrid of Goop and The Onion: bunnyears: Macaulay Culkin's gentle internet hug. The post reads: "My middle name is something dumb. Larry? Orange? Honestly, I can't even remember it. So I asked you all to send in some better options so I can go down to the courthouse and explain to a judge why I need to change my middle name to something cool."

bunnyears


After what appear to be over a hundred thousand votes (which on Culkin's tongue-in-cheek website could be arbitrary estimates), he appeared on Jimmy Fallon to announce the five finalists: Shark Week (which he's never seen), Kieran (which his brother, Kieran, suggested), The McRib Is Back (excellent), and Publicity Stunt (far too meta). He vowed that he was "seriously" going to change his name, promising Fallon he'd return to show him his new ID.

When Fallon asked his thoughts about "Macaulay Culkin" as an option, the actor imagined the perfect scenario, telling Fallon, "So if somebody comes up to me at the airport and says, 'Excuse me, are you Macaulay Culkin?' I go, 'Well, Macaulay Culkin is my middle name.'"

Culkin is well-acquainted with publicity stunts, though it might be more accurate to say that he mocks publicity stunts by being so overt about them. For instance, in a wildly successful Google commercial that debuted less than a week before Culkin's Twitter announcement, the 38-year-old actor reprised his role as 10-year-old Kevin McCallister. The one-minute long commercial re-enacts iconic moments from Home Alone if Kevin had Google Assistant at his disposal.

Home Alone Again with the Google Assistant youtu.be

In an appearance on Ellen earlier this year, he told Degeneres how as an adult he's thankful for his early work, stating, "I felt like some kid worked really really hard and I inherited all of his money...It allows me to treat everything like a hobby." He announced the launch of his podcast Bunny Ears, in which he and a co-host "talk about things, and stuff, and stuff," all saturated with the same irreverent tone used on his website cheeky enough to ask fans to re-name him.


Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.


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