(Note: This post contains spoilers for the premiere episode of “American Horror Story: Cult.”)
Judging by fan reactions, the first episode of “American Horror Story: Cult” kicked off some serious coulrophobia (that’s fear of clowns, by the way).
Set in the real world of post-election America, but in a fictional Michigan town, “American Horror Story: Cult” set up a story that’s full of killer clowns and political anxiety. Though it’s not expressly about either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, the election looms large for all the characters, creating plenty of conflict and anxiety for all.
“American Horror Story: Cult” spent its first episode largely focused on the experiences of Ally (Sarah Paulson), a woman with some serious phobias whose anxieties are coming back full force after Nov. 8, 2016.
Fans freaked out during the show’s creepiest scene, in which Ally finds herself in an empty grocery store that’s suddenly filled with scary clowns.
“AHS” really was all about the clowns in its premiere, with the return of the murderous Twisty from “American Horror Story: Freak Show.” His reappearance had fans spooked as well.
But the creepiest character on the show so far might not be a clown, but Evan Peters’ unhinged Trump supporter, Kai. Fans couldn’t decide to love or loathe Kai as he threw lattes, and grosser liquids, on people.
And then there was Kai’s sister, Winter, played by new “AHS” addition Billie Lourd. She is maybe not someone in whose care to leave your child, but that doesn’t stop Ally and her wife, Ivy (Alison Pill).
The episode, dubbed “Election Night,” also stirred up some fan conspiracy theories related to the season’s subtitle, “Cult.” While much of the episode presented the clowns as possibly figments of Ally’s imagination, toward its end, it was revealed that Ally son, Oz, saw the fiends as well.
That had fans thinking that Ivy might be in on the carnage as a member of the titular cult.
But for just about everyone watching “American Horror Story: Cult,” the reactions were a mixture of politics and tension.