The election might have triggered the clown hysteria
"Urban legends and hysterias are always born out of the moment's societal fears," filmmaker and urban legend expert Josh Zeman told The Huffington Post last year, noting that the clowns may be a direct reference to the nation-wide fear of political change. Zeman explained that clowns are viewed as "agents of chaos," and that, "as society becomes more structured we need to find outlets for our 'evil.' And the clown serves as this outlet."
In an opinion piece for The Guardian, writer Mary Valle was even more direct in drawing a line between the clown hysteria and President Trump. "[His] dark undertow is pulling other killer clowns out of the shadows. Emboldened, they walk the streets, bearing the possibility that we, as a nation, may be stepping off a cliff of denial into a valley of hatred, fear and fascism."
That seems to go hand-in-hand with what we see of Evan Peters's character in the trailer. Emboldened by Trump's win, he jumps from his couch in celebration and mock-humps his television screen. Later, in a conversation with Billie Lourd – who looks to be indoctrinated into whatever ideology Peters is crafting – he says this notable line: "If you get people scared enough, they will set the world on fire." Will his character use the fear inflicted by Trump to prey on those made nervous by political upheaval?
Wherever it goes, clowns are a great fodder for American Horror Story, which – to varying degrees of success – loves to prey on stateside terror and tension. Past seasons have dabbled in school shootings, witch trials, mental illness, the persecution of the LGBT community, and a generalized fear of others. AHS: Cult will kill several birds with the same stone when it tackles hysteria, politics, and the chaos of change.
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.