American Horror Story: Cult (Episode 1 - Election Night)

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American horror story is back for is 7th series this week and not a moment too soon. I really enjoyed the slight departure in last series’ Roanoke story, however it feels good to be back in the familiar horror story format along with the title sequence.

Only now we see a new kind of horror

Election Night

We open the story on Election night in the United States - the actual election night we witnessed last year with the election of Donald Trump. This event sets the story off for the two principal characters: Evan Peters’ Kai Anderson, and Sarah Paulson’s Ally Mayfair-Richards.

Both American Horror Story veterans, Paulson and Peters portray their characters brilliantly as always. Paulson plays one of two women in a same sex marriage with a son, whilst Peters plays a hard line Trump supporter who couldn’t be more excited that Trump got into power.

Clowns Everywhere

The result of the election causes Ally (Paulson) to relapse into phobias that she had since conquered - the most notable of these being her fear of clowns. Not only have the series creators took inspiration from the clown sightings of late last year, but they have also brought back an old favourite: Twisty the Clown from series 4 (Freak Show). Although Twisty does only get shown through the visualization of a comic that Ally and her partner’s son is reading, I really hope he somehow makes it in the flesh.

A new type of horror

American Horror Story has always been known for its graphic display of violence, in all its forms. However, for me the real horror in this episode wasn’t necessarily from the clown gang, or the butchering of a young couple by Twisty, but in the actions and attitudes of people. To be precise, people who now feel authorised to take negative actions against those they consider to be outsiders.

Another aspect of the horror, and the one that really got under my skin, was when Ally’s new babysitter, who also has a personal connection to Kai, shows her son graphic images of real deaths on the “Dark web”. Essentially explaining to him that it’s good for him to watch it in order to build up his immune system to it. This girl, played by Billie Lourd in her first AHS role, is completely sick in the head: A perfect fit for the show.

In Closing

I have good feelings for this series and love the nucleus of the story idea. There have always been elements from our own world in American Horror Story, however, this is the closest the show has felt to being right on our doorstep.

This could be one of the only good things to come as a result of Trump in power.