‘American Horror Story’ Season 7: How Is ‘Cult’ About Politics?

For anthology series American Horror Story, the announcement of the theme for each season is a drawn-out process. Little hints are dropped in the lead-up to the premiere, and Season 7 is no different.

But when the title for Season 7 was finally revealed to be American Horror Story: Cult, many were confused. We had been previously led to believe that there was a political element to the story — and that may or may not be the case. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming season.

Ryan’s announcement

Ryan Murphy posing

Ryan Murphy | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Creator Ryan Murphy is famous for his mysterious remarks leading up to each season. But on Watch What Happens Live in February 2017, he revealed a very big hint to host Andy Cohen.

“I don’t have a title, but the season we begin shooting in June is going to be about the election that we just went through,” Murphy said. Cohen was visibly surprised by the announcement, and when he asked Murphy if a character would portray Donald Trump, the showrunner replied, “Maybe.”


An sketch of an elephant with a clown smile

A sketch of an elephant with a clown smile | Ryan Murphy via Instagram

Murphy clarified not long after the interview that the connections would be allegorical, Of course, news outlets took this information and ran with it. Other the next few months, theories sprung up across the internet.

While some imagined a nautical theme, others looked to past Murphy comments to draw conclusions. In May, Murphy shared an image on his Instagram account that evoked more speculation surrounding the election tie-in: A terrifying elephant, perhaps a nod to the mascot of the Republican party.

Setting the scene

Times Square filled with people at night as the results of the 2016 presidential election are shown on screen

Results on election night | Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AFP/Getty Images

In April, Murphy gave a more definitive answer into the election tie-in comment. This clarified the connection, but didn’t tell us anything in regards to whether politics are a theme for the season.

He told E News,“The first 10 minutes of the season, this season, takes place in a very eerie macabre way on election night and there’s something terrible that happens in the lives of our characters on election night as they’re watching it all go down. Which in itself was a horror story, so it’s like a horror story upon a horror story.”

The title reveal

Last month, we finally learned about the subtitle, “Cult.” At San Diego Comic-Con, guests were treated to a teaser video, which heavily featured clowns.

This certainly wasn’t what anyone expected to hear, and once again, media outlet speculation began. More small ties to the election were made, including the fact that the season will take place in swing state Michigan.

Producers speak out

The Women of American Horror Story: Cult at the 2017 Summer TCA Tour sitting on stage in front of an audience

The Women of American Horror Story: Cult at the 2017 Summer TCA Tour | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

As Murphy can be cryptic, it’s nice to occasionally hear from others on the AHS team. Alexis Martin Woodall, an executive producer on the show, spoke at a TCA panel “The Women of American Horror Story,” and she addressed the election connection.

“It’s more about what’s going on in our world around us, the idea of paranoia,” she said. “It’s not what you think it is. Knowing less is so much more because it’s going to unfold for you. But it is an element in our launch point.”

Everything else we know

A drawing of Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson as their American Horror Story: Cult characters

A drawing of Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson as their American Horror Story: Cult characters | Ryan Murphy via Instagram

Aside from politics, we’ve learned quite a few other details about Cult recently. With weekly clues being released on a promotional site, here are the highlights.

We know that Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson will be featured prominently, playing characters named Ally and Kai. The season will also feature several new actors, including Billy Lourd, Alison Pill, and Billy Eichner.

Connection to other seasons

Twisty the Clown holding wooden juggling pins

Twisty the Clown | FX

There’s one other big question left on everyone’s minds, but this one likely won’t be solved until the actual viewing. For the last few seasons, we’ve finally seen a few ways in which each connects to one another, and Season 7 is no different.

The most obvious similarity here is the focus on clowns, so Twisty from Freak Show is frequently mentioned in speculation. And with the season taking place in the modern day (or, at least partially), there could be a lot of callbacks to previous characters through their ancestors, as we’ve seen done before. But again, nothing is confirmed until we see it on screen.

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