American Horror Story always releases creepy posters before its new seasons hit FX. But even if you're a devoted fan, you might not have caught all the references in the show's ads along the way.
The show's seventh season, American Horror Story: Cult, which premieres on FX tonight, is about the "hive mentality," so its ads have included images of bees and hints about brainwashing. But did you know the posters were also geared toward three specific phobias, too?
Todd Heughens, FX Networks' senior VP of print and design, explained to Entertainment Weekly what inspired the American Horror Story art over the years. For the Cult posters, Heughens' team focused on coulrophobia, the fear of clowns; hemophobia, the fear of blood; and trypophobia, the fear of irregular patterns of holes. (For the last one, FX was so good at creating the posters that people with trypophobia have been actively avoiding the ads.)
"American Horror Story: Cult brings a lot of things to mind," Heughens told EW. "We learned there were gonna be clowns and phobias addressed... We were given the first two or three scripts, and in one of them, you learn that the neighbors keep bees. We immediately knew that was a symbol for a cult. Bees have a hive mentality. A cult has a hive mentality. There's a leader. There's the queen. There's the woman who has the trypophobia texture to her skin. She has bee eyes, and she has these manipulative hands coming up over her head, and that represents the cult leader and manipulation and control of the people in his cult. There's the image of the woman wearing that mask with the holes in it. The holes are all hexagons, so that again pulls from the hive, but it also pulls from trypophobia and bees, the anonymity of the hive mind. You're giving up your individuality."
Heughens' explanation might be even more terrifying than the posters themselves — but he definitely captured the season's concept in the images. To read more about what inspired the first six seasons' posters, you can read the full slideshow over at EW.
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