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American Horror Story: Cult is ready to relive the 2016 presidential election.
The official trailer for the FX anthology series released on Tuesday begins in Michigan on election night, with Sarah Paulson’s character screaming in horror at the results that Donald Trump has been elected president.
In another home not too far away, Evan Peters’ blue-haired maniac offers an emphatic reaction, thrusting his body up against his television screen in shrill delight.
The polar opposite responses are meant to serve as an entryway into the American divide showrunner Ryan Murphy has promised to tackle with the latest cycle of his horror anthology.
“[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,” Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter about this season, which has been revealing more about its cast and plot each week as the horror story inches its way closer to a Sept. 5 premiere.
Trump’s win triggers several phobias for leading lady Paulson’s character, who is named Ally Mayfair Richards and is married to Ivy (played by franchise newcomer Alison Pill).
“Since election night it has all been getting so much worse,” Ally tells Cheyenne Jackson’s therapist, Dr. Rudy Vincent, of her coulrophobia — a fear of clowns.
Meanwhile, Billie Lourd’s character, Winter Anderson, tells Kai Anderson (Peters) that children “fill her heart with dread” and gives Ally and Ivy’s son a Twisty the Clown doll. The clown, played by John Carroll Lynch, is a fan-favorite villain from previous cycle Freak Show and his return was all-but confirmed by Murphy in recent weeks.
“If you get people scared enough, they will set the world on fire,” Kai says amid a montage of clowns and dread. The trailer ends with Kai standing before the cult’s symbol and whispering “Join me,” a phrase that has been heavily utilized in the season’s unique and interactive marketing campaign.
The 11-episode season begins on election night, but the real events only serve as a jumping-off point for the season. No actors will be taking on the roles of Trump or Hillary Clinton. Cult‘s opening credit sequence, which was absent during last season’s mysterious Roanoke, showed what is presumed to be cult members donning Trump and Clinton masks amid images of bloodied American flags.
A second promo for the season focused on the cult, with many of the pre-released clown-themed promos merging into one during what appears to be a dream sequence. Paulson’s Ally is then shown being woken up by two shadows on the other side of her bedroom door. “Before you watch the Cult… Experience the Cult,” teased FX on Twitter.
— AmericanHorrorStory (@AHSFX) August 29, 2017
This season’s returning cast also includes Emma Roberts, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, Chaz Bono and Adina Porter, along with newcomers Billy Eichner, Colton Haynes, Leslie Grossman and Lena Dunham (for one episode).
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