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American Horror Story: Cult Is Inspired by Paranoia of the Trump Era

The election is only a launching point

Sadie Gennis

Every since Ryan Murphy dropped the bomb that American Horror Story's seventh season would be inspired by the 2016 presidential election, fans have been speculating about what exactly that might look like. Will we get Murphy's terrifying take on Trump? Will it follow the lives (and deaths) of Washington politicians?

But according to executive producer Alexis Martin Woodall, American Horror Story: Cult won't be as literal a take as all of that.


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"I think it's more about what's going on in the world around us -- and we talk about the streak of paranoia -- I think that there's a lot of ideas that launch from that point," Woodall told reporters at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour on Wednesday. "It's not what you think it is, and I'm not trying to be cagey... It's an element in our launch point."

The paranoia that runs through the season is apparently so powerful that AHS newbie Alison Pill admitted that she's even had a hard time letting go of that fear when she leaves the set at night. "I have a baby and when I have to get up at night to do feedings and come back into my bathroom, knowing that there's the shower door that's right behind my sink when I'm washing my hands never used to be a problem," Pill said. "Suddenly, about two weeks into shooting, I was like, I'm going to just turn on that light and make sure nobody's in the shower right now behind me hiding with a knife."

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"It's really fun and this particular season has a streak of paranoia that I think is infectious," added the actress.

While the panelists did remain extremely tight-lipped about what fans can expect of Cult beyond these few teases, Woodall did give three clues for viewers to speculate on: "We've got bloody tension, a well-cooked meal and an exciting rip to the grocery store," Woodall teased.

As for what any of those mean, we'll find out soon enough when American Horror Story: Cult premieres Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 10/9c on FX.