In a truly miraculous turn of events, Ryan Murphy announced the theme of American Horror Story Season 7 with little fanfare: Election 2016. Not only is the choice a sharp divergence from anything FX’s AHS has done in the past, it’s also a chance for the show to live up to its name, as this recent election cycle is certainly one of the most horrific ever witnessed. But if you’re having trouble sorting through the heaving ocean of terrific events that Murphy and the gang could pull inspiration from, we’ve got you covered.
Below is a list of references, events, and comments American Horror Story could play up, flesh out, and use as anecdotal evidence to expose the horrors of this past election cycle. From the earliest debates to current events, here are eleven things pulled from the past year and a half that could put the “horror” back in American Horror Story.
The 2016 election’s 15 minutes of fame belonged to none other than Ken Bone and his red sweater. But Ken Bone was soon revealed to be a disappointment after the internet at large unearthed his Reddit account. Turns out, sweet Ken Bone’s got a thing for pregnancy porn, has admitted to a felony crime, and thought the shooting death of Trayvon Martin was “justified.” The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long, Kenny, and makes an excellent B-plot for Season 7.
10. Presidential candidate accused of being a famed serial killer
“Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer” started out as a joke. And then it was a meme. Now, it’s perfect horror fodder. What’s scarier than a serial-killing politician? Literally nothing. Get writing, AHS.
9. Hillary Clinton’s “damn emails”
Inquiries into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state was a main point of contention thrown about by both the media and Trump. Whatever your opinions on whether or not it was a big deal, the email issue plays into the common mistake of focusing too much on one thing, something Murphy and the gang could really play to.
The kids were definitely not alright this election season as many saw liberal champion Bernie Sanders lose the Democratic primary to Clinton. What resulted was a mass call of “Bernie or bust,” which essentially meant a ton of Bernie supporters refused to vote for Clinton. There’s something to be said for taking single-mindedness to such an extreme — there are a lot of lessons to be learned here.
7. Various baskets of deplorables
The term “basket of deplorables” just screams bad Murphy B-plot.
6. Menstruation “jokes” from a presidential candidate
The usual expectation that presidential candidates will be at least somewhat tight-lipped or politically correct was thrown out the window by Trump. His ongoing feud with then-Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly prompted Trump to comment that there was “blood coming out of her wherever.” Even though he was very clearly talking about a certain place, blood pouring from various bodily orifices is prime horror content.
5. Blatant sexism
Sexism ran rampant this election season. With Clinton being the first female presidential nominee of a major political party, Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” comments featured on Access Hollywood and his interrupting Clinton during a debate to call her “such a nasty woman” felt particularly bad. The nastiest women in AHS history were definitely the witches of Season 3’s Coven, and AHS is always looking to make references to its dark and gritty past. Bring on the nasty women.
4. Epic levels of gaslighting
Whether you’re talking inauguration crowds or the internet gaining a weird obsession with the word, gaslighting was really big this election season. Gaslighting actually means manipulating someone by psychological means into doubting their own sanity or what they know to be true. Psychological horror, anyone?
3. The proposal (and execution) of a Muslim ban
On December 7, 2015, Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.” On January 17, 2017, President Trump took the first steps toward making that a reality. Muslim ban, meet the apocalyptic horror genre.
2. Trump’s legendary lurk
Prime monster content. That’s all.
1. Declaring the American press an “enemy of the American People.”
A free society cannot exist without a free press, and a national leader who disavows and delegitimizes that free press because he disagrees with it is something for AHS to both poke fun at and use as a legitimate plot. The downfall of a working society is about as scary as it gets.
American Horror Story Season 7 begins shooting in June.