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Everything You Need to Know About American Horror Story: Cult

Find out who's in and who's out!

Sadie Gennis

The return of American Horror Story is fast approaching, which means details about the anticipated seventh season are starting to come together (unlike last season, which kept us in the dark until the actual season premiere). While we wait for the FX anthology to return, check out everything we know about American Horror Story: Cult so far!

It will be inspired by the election. Season 7 will begin on election night, complete with real footage of the 2016 presidential race, with the following episodes detailing the fallout from the "terrible [thing] that happens in the lives of our characters on election night as they're watching it all go down," according to creator Ryan Murphy.

More than anything, explained executive producer Alexis Martin Woodall, this season will be about "the streak of paranoia" that erupted within our society over the past election cycle.


Murphy has also said that that the series will showcase both sides of the political divide, but specifically highlight groups of people who "are ignored by the current administration and who are afraid and feel terrorized that their lives are going to be taken away." Murphy added: "I'm interested not just in writing about those people but also in using my financial means to give back to them as well."

First American Horror Story: Cult Trailer Pits Sarah Paulson Against Evan Peters

There won't be a Trump character. Although it initially appeared as though a character would be directly based on Donald Trump, Murphy has since clarified that his take on Trump and Hillary Clinton won't be so obvious and that AHS will instead do what AHS does best: take on real-life issues through allegory. However, Clinton and Trump masks do make appearances in the new opening credits sequence.

American Horror Story Season 7 title will be revealed very soon

Evan Peters is going evil (again). Evan Peters will return for what is being heralded as his best season yet. The AHS staple will star as Kai, a Trump supporter who will be the main vehicle for Murphy to explore "the cult of personality." Following Trump's win, Kai will exploit the fear permeating society in order to craft his own rise to power, going from the city council to eventually the senate.

Throughout the season, Peters will also appear as other famous cult leaders in flashbacks, including Charles Manson, David Koresh, Jim Jones and Andy Warhol, who wasn't a literal cult leader but did have a dedicated cult following. Peters' turn as Warhol will lead to Lena Dunham's guest appearance in the seventh episode, "Valerie Solanas Died For Your Sins, Scumbag," which will find her playing Valerie Solanas, who attempted to assassinate Warhol in 1968. That episode will be specifically about female rage, both then and now.

Evan Peters, American Horror Story: Cult

Sarah Paulson will be terrorized (again). Throughout AHS' history, Paulson's roles have run the gambit but Cult will find her harkening back to her Asylum days. Once again, Paulson will play a woman who is terrorized by forces (and people) beyond her control. This year, she'll play Ally Mayfair-Richards, a suburban woman who runs a restaurant with her wife, Ivy (Alison Pill).

Despite Ally and Ivy's relationship, Murphy teased that Ally and Kai would have "a love story for the ages" on Instagram. But rather than romantic love, it appears their relationship will be a twisted, manipulative and cruel one, possibly fueled by Kai's apparent fixation on Ally.

​Sarah Paulson and Alison Pill, American Horror Story: Cult

There will be tons of other familiar faces. Other returning stars include Cheyenne Jackson, who plays Ally's therapist Dr. Rudy Vincent; Adina Porter, who is playing a newscaster Beverly Hope; as well as Frances Conroy and Mare Winningham.

Emma Roberts will appear in one episode as reporter Serina Belinda, who gets a promotion above Porter's character because she's willing to do "what it takes to survive." Angela Bassett will direct the ninth episode of the season, but hasn't yet been confirmed to appear onscreen.

Watch American Horror Story: Cult's Terrifying Title Sequence

Not everyone will be back. Murphy confirmed that Lady Gaga will not be appearing in Cult after having starred in Hotel and making a brief appearance in Roanoke. Kathy Bates, who has appeared in the past four consecutive seasons, will also not return. However, Murphy has said that he believes most former cast members -- including Jessica Lange -- will return to the anthology series one day.

A lot of new stars are joining the AHS family. This season, Murphy is reuniting with Popular alum Leslie Grossman and Scream Queens vets Colton Haynes and Billie Lourd. Grossman will play Meadow Wilton, Haynes will play Detective Samuels and Lourd will play Winter Anderson, a follower of Kai who is convinced to face her hatred of children and work as Ally and Ivy's nanny. Murphy also cast AHS newbies Billy Eichner (who is playing one of Ally and Ivy's neighbors, Harrison Wilton) and Chaz Bono.

Billie Lourd, American Horror Story: Cult

Clowns and bees play a major part. The promotional materials for Cult have relied heavily on clowns and bees. Both were featured in many of Murphy's early Instagram teases for the season, as well as the official teasers and posters that have been released since.

All the clown imagery was explained in the first trailer for Cult, which revealed that Ally suffers from a terrible phobia of clowns, something which was trigged by Trump's presidential election. This fear is then exploited by people in her life who seek to drive her to the brink, including Kai and her new nanny, Winter, who gives Ally and Ivy's son a Twisty doll to play with.

As for the bees, Ally and Ivy's new neighbor, played by Eichner, is a beekeeper. Plus, as Murphy explained, "bees are the original cult."

It will be 11 episodes. Cult will premiere on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 10/9c on FX and run for only 11 episodes, one more than Roanoke but shorter than the typical 13.

The title sequence is back! AHS fans have always gotten a thrill from dissecting the clue-heavy opening credits for each season, which is why viewers were disappointed when Roanoke skipped the title sequence completely. Fans got their wish this season, though, when Murphy brought back the title sequence which is filled with terrifying clues and an updated version of the iconic theme song.

It will take place in Michigan: Murphy revealed in a Twitter Q&A that the location will be Michigan, a state that proved to be crucial in the election when Clinton, who was projected to carry it, lost by a small margin.

Twisty the Clown is back. Murphy revealed on Instagram that Twisty the Clown would be returning for Cult despite having been killed in the '50s. The announcement falls in line with Murphy's previous confirmation that Season 7 would be connected to Freak Show, but set in present day.

These American Horror Story: Cult Character Portraits Seem Normal...Until You Take a Closer Look

Decades after Twisty's death, the killer clown now has his own doll and comic book series, Twisty the Clown Chronicles. But Twisty will live on in Cult through more than just the memorabilia. Fans should expect John Carroll Lynch to reprise the role that has haunted our nightmares for years.

​John Carroll Lynch, American Horror Story: Freak Show

There won't be any supernatural elements. For the first time ever, Cult won't feature any supernatural elements. All the horror will be derived from people inflicting terror on each other through regular means. No magic, no ghosts and definitely no aliens.

Prepare for potential cannibalism. In some of the script excerpts released in anticipation of the season, a character finds a crumpet filled with severed pinkies. Whoever finds this disgusting pastry is understandably horrified, so we doubt they wind up chowing down on it, but it does raise the question of how much cannibalism we might see this season. Was this a one time thing, like Arya and her Frey pies onGame of Thrones? Or does Ally and Ivy's restaurant, The Butchery on Main, serve up more than what some guests bargained for?

American Horror Story: Cult premieres Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 10/9c on FX.