The long awaited premiere of American Horror Story: Cult finally hit the airwaves on Tuesday, September 5th. Although I’ve been a fan of the FX series for some time due to its twisted and unique standalone themes with subtle crossovers, my interest has gradually dwindled over time. While some people remained diehard fans, I found Hotel lacking focus and Roanoke to be a glorified reality television show. In the opening premiere of season 7 titled Election Night, a type of focus and substance is offered that has been missing from the franchise since Murder House.
Opening with news clips from the 2016 presidential electioneering, which is still all too fresh in everyone’s memory, Election Night captivated my attention from the beginning. Regardless of one’s political affiliation, clips from the election results and various reactions from all sides are sure to provoke high emotions in viewers across the nation. The episode segues into a semi-realistic reaction from two completely opposite personality types personified in two primary characters: Ally (Sarah Paulson) and Kai Anderson (Evan Peters). While American society begins to clash and brawl in the streets, paranoid, fearful, coulrophobic Ally begins to lose her grip on reality and succumbs to hysterical fear. Anarchist Kai takes things to another extreme, wanting to see society crumble and seek sanctuary out of fear.
While many people may shy away from this season due to its theme, ironically fearing a political bias, it only makes this season all that much more important. Recent rumors claim that Netflix may be dropping the series. While I’m not aware of any explanation, assuming this is true, I have very little doubt that this potential decision is due to American Horror Story: Cult having the guts to do a political and social criticism season based on a touchy subject that could upset people from either political side.
If this Netflix rumor rings true, it is a passive aggressive attempt to suppress tasteful creativity as well as a very relevant social criticism piece. Cult has a lot to say about people on both sides of this hard issue, which may not settle well with some passionately political people regardless of party affiliation. With this year’s theme and the premiere episode, the deep and ever growing political divide and the way we continue to see it on a daily basis is a horrific reality, which is accurately portrayed. The real horror conveyed in this American Horror Story season is in the demented mind that sees a social niche to further their own cause. It is a story of how someone may use the prevalent fear and hysteria of current events to further chaos in exchange for loyalty while they watch the world burn.
While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the controversy surrounding American Horror Story: Cult and the boat it has rumored to rock is a testament to the relevancy of the subject and of the horror, grounded in reality, that this season is about to unleash. While some people may have shrugged this off as a bias narrative, I would be curious to know how they stand politically, since this subject matter seems to be critical of both sides, and both sides can find fault in the show’s logic. American Horror Story is about to demonstrate how our society is ripping itself apart on the basis of political fear while demonstrating that neither side is correct. Artistic and social criticism of current events are important to help people take a step back, think and reflect. While it may lack the original outstanding classic horror storytelling element from the original season, American Horror Story: Cult fuses important current events and realistic American horror. It is one American horror story that should not be silenced.