Killer clowns unleash political nightmare in 'American Horror Story'

American Horror Story Evan Peters is returning a cult leader called Kai

Cult kicks off in a quiet MI neighborhood on election night 2016, as the news that reality television star Donald Trump would become the 45th President of the United States of America.

The show's creator, Ryan Murphy, recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter and said that he had the idea of opening Cult with the election result all the way back in September 2016, at which point he was assuming that Hillary Clinton would win.

Afraid of clowns - and the fate of the United States after Donald Trump is elected - a restaurateur (Sarah Paulson) thinks a posse of insane clowns is sneaking into her house and causing trouble.

Cult is here, and it's going to drastically change the way you view the emojis page on your iPhone.

On the other end of the spectrum, Kai, watching the news alone that same night, is ecstatic. He then shouts "F*** you, world", humps his TV, tosses some Cheetos into a blender and covers his face in the orange Cheeto dust as an homage to the first ever Orange-American president. "What's wrong with CNN for not giving us a trigger warning before giving us the results?" It's an interesting first scene to say the least, and the best of the episode.

Cut to a few weeks later, and Ally is not doing well.

Actors Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson will take over roles as main characters while stars like Emma Roberts, Cheyenne Jackson, Frances Conroy, John Carroll Lynch, Adina Porter, and Mare Winningham are all also returning. When Trump is announced the victor, Ally emits a guttural scream that'll make you shiver. It doesn't look to be an accident - at a press screening and Q&A last month, Murphy teased that he would take a "satirical" approach to Ally and Ivy's white privilege. Instead, Murphy is using Ally's range of phobias - from clowns to confined spaces and holes - as a way to explore a "growing sense of anxiety" in post-election America, and Kai's manipulation to explore the anger and passion in the country that Trump tapped into that was ignored, particularly by liberals.

Meanwhile, Kai has been keeping busy.

Oh, and later, Kai pees into a condom and chucks it at a group of construction workers while hurling racial slurs at them, because of course he does.

Evan Peters: Give this man an Emmy, like, yesterday.

Scary clowns have made a recent comeback in pop culture and seem to have an unsettling connection to Donald Trump; past year there were cases of clowns attempting to lure children into the woods, following and taunting people on the street, and otherwise being generally creepy. She hurls bottles of rosé at the assailants and runs to her vehicle, where one of the figures waits for her.

Ivy pauses. "Well, you did it, and now it's done", she replies flatly.

It's hard, however, to see how the season could not be an allegory on Trump's populist movement, as the series' focus is on an angry white male using the feelings of similarly angry people for political success - which is how many would characterize the president's rise. Most clearly, it plays with the creepiness of clowns, which are meant to exude positivity and fun like a smiley face, but are often twisted into something evil in horror movies, as represented by the bloody red splotch in the middle of the smiley face.

Grounded in an adrenalized version of the divisive reality that now coats the country, the 11-episode seventh season finds an increasingly anxious Paulson and new cast member and The Newsroom alum Alison Pill as the nearly too easily mockable, Rachel Maddow-loving married proprietors of an upscale restaurant. And then (Murphy) comes out here and spills the entire thing. Ally and Ivy look to hire a nanny, who is naturally exposed as rather shady so that the audience can be "in the know", and decidedly uncomfortable.

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