The Terrifying Stories That Inspired American Horror Story: Cult

Photo: Frank Ockenfels/FX.
American Horror Story has been teasing for a while that the upcoming season, Cult, is about the election. However, a recent review in The Hollywood Reporter reveals that's not the only inspiration behind the story, which focuses on a town in Michigan reeling from the aftermath of the 2016 election, as well as the unfolding threat of masked killer clowns. Creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk also took elements from both recent and classic horror movie hits to weave together this story that somehow looks more terrifying than any of the ones that came before it.
Before we take a look at those influences, let's break down what you can expect from the September 5 premiere. We're presented with two very different reactions to the election: Ally (Sarah Paulson) and Ivy (Alison Pill), a couple who begin screaming "Merrick Garland! What's going to happen to Merrick Garland?" as soon as the results are announced, and then there's Kai Anderson (Evan Peters), who couldn't be more elated. Billie Lourd plays his sister Winter, who dropped out of school to campaign for Hillary Clinton, and now doesn't know what's next.
These topsy-turvy results seem to coincide with a growing faction of clowns who are intent on murdering everyone in town, feeding Ally's already out-of-control paranoia thanks to her agoraphobia, trypophobia, and coulrophobia. She's scared of small holes and clowns, and the political climate is making her even more fearful of facing either one.
Kai, however, is thriving in a world where it seems his views have been emboldened and justified, and now he wants to lead — and seek revenge.
We'll see it all in action on September 5 when the series premieres on FX, but until then, learn about the movies that inspired it all ahead.