The first episode of the new season of American Horror Story premieres tonight, which — if the internet is to be believed — could be themed around “Heresy,” the seventh circle of Hell according to Dante’s Inferno.
Subtitled Cult, Season 7 revolves around the 2016 presidential elections, and the first episode begins with footage of Donald Trump. But what’s interesting about Episode 1, entitled “Election Night,” is the sheer number of phobias Cult taps into from the off.
The Fear Factors
The most obvious of these is perhaps the fear of clowns, which it plays on ad nauseum. It’s not spoiling things to say that the show reintroduces Twisty the clown from Season 4, Freak Show, and then proceeds to terrorise Sarah Paulson’s character Ally with the introduction of a gang of sinister clowns.
But perhaps the most bizarre fear it tackles is trypophobia – the fear of holes. It’s an irrational fear of clusters of holes arranged in irregular patterns. It’s a fear that Ally suffers from, alongside a fear of blood, known as hemophobia. One scene combines the two – when she sees a crumpet oozing the red stuff. Yikes. Turns out it’s not even a crumpet. This girl’s got it bad.
Other fears tackled in “Election Night” include politicophobia – a fear of politics. The series theme alone taps into a widespread unease about the political climate but both Ally and Evan Peters’ character could be said to suffer from this. They both exhibit strange behaviour in reaction to the election results.
The episode also touches on xenophobia and homophobia — and it even touches on dementophobia, a fear of insanity.
This being American Horror Story, it’s a show focused on tapping into fear. No doubt as Season 7 progresses, more phobias will come into play. We can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.
Watch FANDOM’s Kim and Chris discuss how “Election Night” plays on everyone’s fears in the video above.
American Horror Story: Cult premieres Tuesday on FX in the United States and Friday on Fox UK at 10pm.