The clues have been coming fast and furious for the upcoming 7th season of the horror anthology TV series “American Horror Story,” which premiered on Tuesday, September 5, on FX.
While there will be a number of returning characters from past seasons – including Ally Mayfair-Richards (played by Sarah Paulson), Kai Anderson (played by Evan Peters) and Dr. Rudy Vincent (played by Cheyenne Jackson), there will also be a number of interesting new twists and turns, as well as new talent (Billie Lourd, Alison Pill, Lena Dunham). Here’s what to expect from “American Horror Story: Cult.”
#1: “American Horror Story: Cult” will be based on the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election
While FX has not released the exact plot lines and narratives of Season 7, we’ve received a number of tantalizing clues from the trailer as well as from the show’s director and co-creator, Ryan Murphy.
Here’s what we know: the action in Episode 1 will start on election night 2016 and all of the action will take place in Michigan. From the trailer, we see two very different reactions to the results of the election: Ally appears to be horrified while Kai appears to be exultant. (In fact, Kai lets out a roar of approval and then proceeds to mimic having sex with the television in front of him!)
As Murphy has pointed out, the fallout from the 2016 presidential election is a “horror show” with a “horrifying aftermath.” While he has said that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump will appear on screen during the show, Season 7 is clearly intended to be an “allegory” of what could happen – or what might already be happening – in much of America. As such, one person close to “American Horror Story” has said that Season 7 will be the “first full season of narrative television conceived, developed and written in response to the November election.”
#2: “American Horror Story: Cult” will focus on cults, not the occult
There’s another important point to keep in mind about the upcoming season of FX’s “American Horror Story” – it will not feature supernatural elements, as in past seasons. Instead, the focus will be on cults, and what happens when people feel very afraid and vulnerable.
From what we know, Kai Anderson (played by Evan Peters) is going to be a cult leader. The real reason why he’s so excited about a Trump win is because it frees him to run a cult where he can recruit very vulnerable people. In fact, there’s a line in the trailer that’s actually a bit alarming, “If you get people scared enough, it will set the world on fire.”
And we get another clue from the names of the episodes that have been released. If you look at Episode 7, it will be called “Valerie Solanas Died For Your Sins, Scum Bag.” That episode will feature Andy Warhol, the cult around the Factory in New York City, and the events that led to Valerie Solanas shooting Warhol for not including her in his cult of personality. Director Ryan Murphy has already cast Lena Dunham for the role of Valerie Solanas, and has said that the episode will focus on “female rage” and what feelings people have when they are not accepted into cults.
#3: Get ready for Twisty the Clown and other regulars in “American Horror Story”
We’ve been getting a lot of clues from the team at FX that evil clowns – including Twisty the Clown from Season 4 (“American Horror Story: Freak Show”) – will make their way back into Season 7. And Director Ryan Murphy has also suggested that a number of other characters from previous seasons – including Bloody Face, Rubber Man and Piggy Man – will also appear in Season 7.
In fact, it’s all a bit creepy. Who’s not afraid of evil clowns? And judging from the trailer, these evil clowns and other characters start to become part of different phobias taking over the town in Michigan. In the trailer, we hear someone say, “It has just been getting so much worse” since the election, and it’s unclear what exactly this references – but it could be that the clowns are somehow connected to the cult of personality that Kai is trying to create.
#4: The link between “American Horror Story” and the 1976 film “Network”
What’s really fascinating about Season 7 is how it seems to be much more of a statement on American society than previous episodes. You can interpret “American Horror Story” to be a metaphor for the broader swath of American society that has fallen under the misguided ideas of President Donald Trump – the people marching in Charlottesville, for example.
And that’s a point that Ryan Murphy makes – he says that much of the action in Season 7 was actually inspired by the 1976 film “Network,” which was a media satire. That film, says Murphy, helps to explain much of what we are seeing today.
#5: Plenty of evil plot twists involving children and bad neighbors from hell
One of the questions that we hear in the trailer for Season 7 is, “What fills your heart with dread?” The answer is both confusing and chilling: “Children.” And then the next scene is of an evil nanny or babysitter doing bad things to children. Yikes!
But again, it’s unclear for now how the phobias, the clowns, and the cults are related. We do have some clues from the episode titles, though. For example, Episode 2 is called “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” and Episode 3 is called “Neighbors From Hell.”
There’s a good chance that, if “American Horror Story: Cult” is a rousing success this fall, it will lead to an entirely new type of genre on TV: the political horror film. Who needs the supernatural and occult to scare you when you have the politicians in Washington, DC?
And this is something that Season 7 intends to use with great effect – there’s even a rumored plot line involving Kai running for a city council spot and then dreaming even bigger – a shot at the U.S. Senate. At which point, you’re probably thinking about Kid Rock and his recently announced U.S. Senate bid from the state of – you guessed it – Michigan (where “American Horror Story” takes place). These are scary times.