After months of teasers featuring bee-spewing clowns and cultish chants, we finally have a longer glimpse of American Horror Story: Cult. The seventh season is set to premiere on September 5, and if you’re like us, you’ve already marked your calendar, binged Roanoke, and poured over the new opening credits (our verdict: House of Cards meets the bloodiest circus you’ve ever seen). Now we’re here to break down the trailer.
It’s election night, 2016. A blue-haired Evan Peters asks, “What’s the thing that scares you the most?” before we cut to the announcement of Trump’s presidential victory. As Sarah Paulson screams in horror, the deranged Peters enthusiastically humps the television. Nothing about this sequence is subtle—but then subtlety has never been Ryan Murphy’s M.O.
It’s clear from the start that Sarah Paulson’s character isn’t at her best. Though the trailer does not confirm the rumors about her post-9/11 trauma, it does mention her fear of clowns, or “coulrophobia.” We’re then presented with an image of a Goosebumps-style book featuring the familiar face of Twisty the Clown. Years have passed since his murder spree in the 1950s, and somehow the AHS: Freak Show monster has become the stuff of lore in the AHS universe...
It isn’t his only appearance. Billie Lourd, as a child-hating Wednesday Addams, offers Paulson’s son a Twisty figurine. She seems to be in cahoots with Peters, and is the babysitter from hell.
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The trailer is also full of Twisty copycats, some popping up in windows and others stepping out of ice cream trucks. Judging from the disturbing drawing released in May, we’re still betting that a Twisty-inspired cult is either allied with the government, or rebelling against it: “If you get people scared enough,” says Peters, “they will set the world on fire.”
After flashing to various scenes of terror, we end with the close-up of a cackling clown. For a second there, we were back in the mid-2000s and playing The Scary Maze Game.
While the trailer shows one scare after another, it doesn't give us many answers (the characters’ names, for example)—but that’s all the more reason to tune in on September 5. Tell us what you think in the comments below, and then stay away from ice cream trucks, okay?
American Horror Story: Cult premieres on September 5.
Featured still of "American Horror Story: Cult" via FX