Five things from 'American Horror Story: Cult' that will give you nightmares
American Horror Story is back for a seventh season, and it's as satirically subtle as a blue-haired character smearing orange Cheeto dust on their face to celebrate Donald Trump winning the presidency.
Creator Ryan Murphy has teased that this season of the FX series would center on the 2016 election. But after teasers, a trailer and three episodes sent to critics ahead of Tuesday's premiere, we now know election night was just the jumping off point. This season's Cult focuses on the bewilderment felt by many after Trump won the presidency. Murphy took the idea of the world turning upside down on Nov. 8, 2016, and ran with it.
This season also is the first to not have any supernatural elements. But there are still plenty of things that will scare you. Here are just five.
Clowns: Don't even think about watching this season if you have coulrophobia (fear of clowns). Sarah Paulson plays the stereotypical liberal "snowflake" whose world is shattered on election night. Since then, her severe anxiety and phobias have manifested themselves in the form of a roving band of creepy clowns. The group terrorizes Paulson's character, Ally, and her wife, Ivy (Alison Pill), and goes around town butchering people. Their painted faces and sinister grins overwhelm almost every scene. Good luck sleeping.
Reliving election night: The premiere is triggering for those whose election night expectations were shattered by Trump's win. On one side, we see Ally and Ivy having a watch party at their beautiful suburban home. When Trump is announced the winner, Ally emits a guttural scream that'll make you shiver. On the other side, Evan Peters' blue-haired character, Kai, roars in triumph and pelvic-thrusts the TV.
Evan Peters: Give this man an Emmy, like, yesterday. I've been thoroughly impressed with Peters' talents since the series' start, and in Cult he is set to play three notorious cult leaders in addition to anarchist Kai. He's also reportedly playing Andy Warhol, who had a large following of his own. Peters sets the standard for how terrifying he'll get this season in one of his first scenes: Kai grinds up Cheetos and smears the orange dust on his face after Trump's win. With his bright blue hair, he becomes one of the more terrifying clowns this season.
Billy Eichner's beekeeping character: Eichner and Leslie Grossman play a strange couple who move in across the street from Ally and Ivy. They're sensitive lefties with a strange marital setup and an even stranger hobby -- Eichner's Harrison is a beekeeper, reminding us that hives of bees are cults of their own. His character seems innocent enough at first, but there's something seriously off about a couple who are perfectly okay with living in a house that still has physical reminders of a recent brutal double murder.
America under Trump: Paranoia, prejudice, political correctness and a lost sense of reality - they're all issues plaguing the country and they're all reflected this season on AHS. Like The Purge, Cult quickly becomes an ultraviolent satire about fractured political ideologies in America and how that leads to people huddling together only with those who agree with them. You'll see Paulson's character obsess over every social media step Trump makes and lose sleep over her paranoia and pessimism. You'll also see Kai slowly create a cult of fear and feed off the anxieties of others. He sees this "new world" as a place where fear is currency, and he's ready profit.
Contact Chelsea Tatham at email@example.com. Follow @chelseatatham.
American Horror Story: Cult premieres at 10 p.m. Tuesday on FX.
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