American Horror Story is a cable show which makes what might be called pretentious, political horror. IThe show is now gearing up for its 7th season and this year the “horror story” in the title is the 2016 election. Yesterday the producers released the first full trailer for the season. Here’s how Rolling Stone summarizes the trailer:
The preview begins with various people reacting to the news of Donald Trump’s presidential election win. In Michigan, Ally Mayfair Richards (Paulson) begins screaming and crying at a party where the attendees are sitting around watching the news break. Kai Anderson (Peters) is more enthusiastic, similarly screaming but with glee before humping his television set.
Naturally, of course, the Trump fan played by Evan Peters doesn’t stop at having sex with his television. He’s also some sort of incipient cult leader who gets his equally creepy follower to take a job as a nanny for Ally’s children. The goal is apparently to gaslight/terrorize Ally based on her pre-existing fear of clowns (yes, really).
In the clip, we see several moments where people in scary clown masks are following Paulson’s character and another where she is discussing her fear with a therapist. But even Ally’s wife (played by Allison Pill) doesn’t believe her. “I don’t know how much more of this I can take,” she tells Ally in the trailer.
But there is a socially-redeeming point to all of this supposedly. Show creator Ryan Murphy told the Hollywood Reporter, “[Cult is] about illuminating and highlighting people who don’t have a voice in our culture — people who are ignored by the current administration and who are afraid and feel terrorized that their lives are going to be taken away.” It’s still too soon to tell if the references to Trump (and Hillary) are just a gloss on the story or intended as more of an analogy.
I watched the first season of this show years ago and, despite some clunky moments, I thought it was pretty good. Attempts to watch subsequent seasons did not take for me. The subject matter this season doesn’t really encourage me to try again. In fact, the plot is giving me flashbacks to Fox’s The Following, a truly awful show about a cult that terrorized people for vague reasons having to do with Edgar Allen Poe…or something. Anyway, here’s the Trump-laden trailer for AHS: Cult.