Tonight begins American Horror Story: Cult, and it promises to be a deeply disturbing run.
In the opening credits, we see a montage of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spliced in gruesome caricatures — a sanguine jolt of flavor for the season to come.
The cult of personality and the exploitation of fear are front and center in the seventh season of Ryan Murphy’s critically-acclaimed anthology series.
The first episode sees the main characters Ally (Sarah Paulson) and Kai (Evan Peters) reacting dramatically to the American presidential election of 2016, one wailing in horror and one practically having an orgasmic reaction to Donald Trump’s win.
It is the unchecked paranoia (Ally) and the taunting, edgy ugliness (Kai) that erupted with this unparalleled election that will fuel the run of the season.
Clinton supporter Ally is married to Ivy (Alison Pill) and they have a son and what appears to be an undocumented nanny who disappears post-election.
But Ally has intense clown phobias, which ignites when she finds her 10-year-old son surreptitiously night-reading a Twisty the Clown comic book.
Subsequently, Ally, who is up-ended by the political events, seeks therapy with Dr. Rudy Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson) to try and manage her spiraling fears.
Her hyped-up fears are artfully fleshed out in what appears to be a killer-clown infested trip to a grocery market late at night.
But the security camera, of course, will reveal only that Ally is in her head a little too much.
This causes a rift in her relationship with her wife Ivy, who also is her business partner in a restaurant aptly named The Butchery.
To replace the Guatemalan nanny on the lam, the couple inadvertently hires a babysitter named Winter Anderson (Billie Lourd) who has bizarro sibling ties to Kai.
Orange cheese doodle aficionado Kai — who is styled to resemble equal parts Heath Ledger’s iconic The Joker and a Juggalo — is elated that chaos rules the land.
He is reveling in Trump’s victory and develops a following of like-minded thinkers to terrifying results.
Later, we wonder if those creepy clowns actually are real after a gruesome crime witnessed by their son.
Fans of Twisty the Clown can look forward to a revisiting of Murphy’s most terrifying character as lore and cult muse.
Are you as excited as we are for American Horror Story’s return?
American Horror Story: Cult airs Tuesdays s at 10pm E/P on FX.