American Horror Story’s newest season may be the scariest yet
Monsters, devils, witches, freaks, vampires, and ghosts; American Horror Story has always played on humanity’s worst fears. September 5th marked the hour and a half premiere of the popular show’s newest season, Cult, this time conveying an even deeper horror; reality.
Creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have released an alternate perception to the idea of “fear” in a psychological sense all while keeping the plot extremely relevant. This season is filled with political satire, naturally generating great controversy. Even the very first scene seemed as though the show was headed in a very liberal and almost annoyingly biased direction with a confusing plot. However, truth is revealed in American Horror Story: Cult no matter which side of the political spectrum you are on.
Recurring stars Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters each portray the ideal characteristics of political extremists. Ally (Sarah Paulson) is a vulnerable, liberal, lesbian with dangerous phobias that threaten her sanity and well-being, triggered by the election of Donald Trump. Kai (Evan Peters) is an unhinged, young man whose ambitions are undirected and his desire for power is overwhelming. Each character signifies the stereotypical ideals of the left and right sides respectively. Right away Ally is portrayed as a snowflake and Kai as a lunatic. When this is the very first thing seen as a viewer, an eye roll is necessary.
The plot commences with the election of Donald Trump. The unwiring of Ally begins while Kai’s power hunt develops. “There’s nothing more dangerous in this world than a humiliated man.” This imperative quote, stated by Kai in the first episode, alludes to the central theme of the season, and more importantly the current state of our country. Kai’s potential for destruction is hinted upon in this quote and later revealed through his deceitful actions as he antagonizes a group of men with the sole intention that he will benefit from their savage response. He publicizes their brutality, depicting himself as a victim for his own campaign. Now seen as a resilient hero to gang violence, Kai’s ulterior motives prove to be detrimental. This threatening scene is definitely an eye opener and does its job in horrifying viewers. These events must come from somewhere and the truth of reality is American Horror Story’s most chilling concept yet. In society, the undermining of a powerful man can truly be dangerous. This serves as a warning and I hope it will be heard.
This season is not entirely filled with the ridiculing of Trump supporters. On the contrary, the underlying message indicates that “right” or “left” aside, fear can dominate a country and expose its most vulnerable aspects. The political agenda is not always obvious and misconceptions are likely. In just two episodes AHS managed to demonstrate these abstract concepts while also, of course, giving America a little fright. This is where the clowns come to play.
Perfect timing. With Stephen King’s, It, newest movie adaptation, clowns seem to be a central theme for Halloween this year. Ally’s greatest phobia is her fear of clowns. Coincidently, she is being followed and antagonized by a group of clowns who may or may not be real. While the plot so far is slightly unclear, we do know that this psychological fear furthers the idea of fear paralyzing a person or even a nation. These clowns do become physical beings when Ally’s son, who it seems is being brainwashed by an uprising cult, witnesses these clowns brutally murder the neighbors. Is the son’s perspective trustworthy? His babysitter, Kai’s sister, seems to depend on it seeming otherwise. The clowns who kill the neighbors; a creative representation of bottled fear and an interesting way to convey political satire.
Ally’s living in fear, Kai is campaigning for local governmental power, the young generation is witnessing evil, and masked clowns are playing on everyone’s worst nightmare; fear itself. As a show that’s meant to make people think and of course scream, AHS created a rising cult of clowns with a political undertone that demonstrates the repercussions of a divided nation. Hopefully without too much bias, because no one wants to relive the election drama, the season will continue with a fun and terrifying plot of killer clowns with a central theme of the real enemy; fear. Trump or Clinton, we are American and AHS defines the crippling inner identity of fear and its potential destruction.
Photo courtesy of Vulture