Ryan Murphy keeps trying to one-up himself in taking American Horror Story fans down one magical and terrifying rabbit hole after another. But with Cult, the seventh season of the popular series, the horror comes from very relevant events in today’s world.
The last season of AHS: Roanoke, was kept completely under wraps (well, there were a few leaks) until it premiered in fall, with only really weird teasers to pique our curiosity. This time around, we are thankfully getting a better picture of the new season. We know, for instance, that it is set in Michigan and revolves around the 2016 U.S. Clinton-Trump election — the tail-end of it of it at least, which resulted in the current political divide under President Trump that is wreaking havoc in our country.
Murphy said that he’s using the election as a jumping-off point and plans to highlight “people who don’t have a voice in our culture. People who are ignored by the current administration and who are afraid and feel terrorized that their lives are going to be taken away.” (via The Hollywood Reporter). What’s up with scary clowns and swarms of bees, though? Inquiring minds are dying to find out.
Here’s what we know so far about season 7, as we take a look at the stellar cast of returning favorites as well as a bevy of promising newcomers to the AHS scene.
Paulson is one of the true veterans of the American Horror Story anthology, having appeared in all six seasons of the show. She’s been a psychic in Murder House, a journalist in Asylum (who she reprised in Roanoke), a junkie in Hotel — but our favorite so far has to be the conjoined twins in Freak Show. In Cult, she’s playing Ally Mayfair-Richards, who is married to Ivy Mayfair-Richards (Alison Pill). According to creator Murphy, however, Ally ends up having an epic “love story for the ages” with Kai, played by Evan Peters (see next). Not sure how the love story fits into the Cult, but Paulson recently said at the Television Critics Association panel (via Variety), “I think it’s going to reveal itself in surprising ways.”
Peters joins Paulson as the other mainstay in the AHS universe, having had a role in every season so far. He became a heartthrob in season 1, playing the sexy ghost Tate, had a lobster hands in Freak Show, but we think his best AHS character to date has been serial killer James March in Hotel. As Kai in Cult, Peters dyes his hair blue and apparently tackles his most in-depth character yet for the anthology series. Murphy posted drawings of all Peters’ show characters on Instagram, saying Kai was his “greatest” AHS role so far. We’re wondering if he’s going to wear clown makeup at some point.
Porter, best known for her roles in True Blood, Underground and Newsroom, first came on the AHS scene in season 1 in a very brief appearance. But it was in last season’s Roanoke that the actress made quite an impression as the alcoholic former cop who stopped at nothing to keep and protect her daughter. In Cult, she’s playing a broadcast news journalist named Beverly Hope, but not much else is known about the character as yet. One thing is certain: Her character is going to get in on some action. Porter said at the TCA panel (via Variety), “I’m so incredibly lucky to be working. To be able to still be in stunts and not be 12 is pretty spectacular. I appreciate that.”
Cult makes Jackson’s third AHS go around. He first appeared in Hotel as a fashion designer and the hotel’s owner, and then played Roanoke’s smarmy producer of the hit reality TV show “My Roanoke Nightmare.” He definitely had more to chew on last season (and his death was one of the better ones), so we’re looking forward to seeing Jackson portray Dr. Rudy Vincent in the upcoming season 7. Judging from some images, he looks like he might be a psychiatrist of some kind — and he might not be too happy about it.
The wonderful Conroy has been another staple in the AHS canon. She’s played the creepy, older version of a maid in Murder House, the Angel of Death in Asylum, and mother of a psychopath in Freak Show. Our favorite, though, is her powerful witch in Coven, a role she truly seemed to relish. Conroy once again returns to Ryan Murphy’s nightmarish realm in Cult, but we’re not sure who she will be playing. That’ll make it more fun to find out.
Veteran character actress Winningham made her AHS debut in Coven, playing the incestuous mother of a re-animated Evan Peters, and then Pepper’s cruel sister in Freak Show. We particularly love her as Mrs. Evers in Hotel, the establishment’s laundress who is madly devoted to James March and makes sure to bleach out all traces of his bloody escapades from the sheets and linens. Like Conroy, we haven’t heard yet who Winningham will be playing in Cult, but the two-time Emmy winner has done some of her best work on TV.
Another Ryan Murphy favorite, it has finally been confirmed Roberts will return to the AHS anthology in Cult. She began her stint as the bitchy witch-in-training in Coven, and followed up as a con artist medium in Freak Show. She took some time off after that to star in one of Murphy’s other shows, Scream Queens, which was recently canceled after two seasons. Now, she’s back, and from the looks of it, she’s “ready for action.”
It looks like Twisty the Clown is also going to make a triumphant return, in some fashion, in Cult. Murphy has been posting all kinds of terrifying pics of Twisty on Instagram as hints (thanks, Ryan, for that). Lynch immortalized the psychopathic clown in Freak Show and then went on to play famed serial killer John Wayne Gacy in Hotel. Since Cult seems to involve creepy clowns, it makes sense Twisty will be there. Our guess? He’s probably a thing the cult idolizes.
Chaz Bono made his debut in last season’s Roanoke as a doomed hillbilly, so we’re thinking he might have an even juicier role in the upcoming Cult. And as an added bonus, Bono’s mother, Cher, may also make a cameo. She shot off a tweet earlier this month, stating “My ‘For Fun’ Surprise Project, first wk Sept.” Hmmm, sounds promising!
My“For Fun”Surprise Project,First wk Sept
— Cher (@cher) August 5, 2017
As for any of the other AHS stalwart players returning, it’s been confirmed that Kathy Bates won’t make an appearance in the new season (due to scheduling conflicts). Too bad. Word is still out on possible appearances by Lily Rabe and Angela Bassett.
Pill, probably best known for her great performance in Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series Newsroom along with movies like Scott Pilgrim vs the World, makes her AHS debut in Cult. She plays Ivy Mayfair-Richards, who is romantically entangled with Sarah Paulson’s character, and from the looks of the images released from the show, is also maybe a butcher of some kind. There’s a slab of meat and a cutting knife in her hand, so that’s a clue, yes? Said Pill at the TCA panel of her time on the show, “This particular season has a streak of paranoia that’s infectious. I’d be happy to bid that slightly creepy feeling adieu.”
Although Lourd made her onscreen debut in Murphy’s Scream Queens, season 7 will mark the actress’ first foray into AHS territory. She portrays Winter Anderson, a sad-looking young woman with silver hair, who supposedly has a close relationship with Paulson’s character. Murphy teased on Instagram, “Winter is coming” and hailed the young actress. Lourd, who briefly appear with her late mother, Carrie Fisher, in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, said of her experience, “This is straight-up horror drama. It’s definitely less of my comedic side, more of my dark side. I do have emotions this time, which is really exciting.”
Heartthrob Colton Haynes, of Arrow and Teen Wolf fame, ventures into new territory with his debut in Cult. He plays Detective Samuels, who may or may not have a thing for Winter Anderson. Again, Murphy gives us a clue when he posted a drawing of Winter and Samuels, which, at the very least, indicates they will know each other in the show. Word of advice to Haynes, though: Detectives don’t usually fare all that well in American Horror Story, so watch your back.
This casting has us the most intrigued, if we are being honest. The hilarious Eichner, known for harassing people on the streets of New York in his truTV series Billy on the Streets, is going to show off his dramatic chops as Harrison Wilton. Eichner joked on Seth Meyers’ Late Night, “There are some darkly funny moments, but it’s mostly serious and violent and sexual — all the things people have always wanted to see from me,” adding that Cult is “a gory, fantasy, violent, sexual, surreal take on post-Trump America.” Good times.
Grossman reunites with Murphy after starring in his late ’90s high-school drama Popular to portray Meadow Wilton in Cult. Obviously, she’s related to Eichner’s character somehow (we are guessing his sister), but it’s not clear yet whether she’s a series regular or a recurring character. Grossman seems really excited about the role. She tweeted a clip from Popular in which her character is being stalked by a killer, writing, “I have been preparing to be on American Horror Story for years.”
I have been preparing to be on American Horror Story for years https://t.co/8mp2MVHD3r
— Leslie Grossman (@MissLeslieG) August 3, 2017
Yes, the Girls star is set to make a cameo in Cult, you know, now that’s she has got some free time on her hands. Murphy tweeted how the two of them have wanted to work together for years and that he is “thrilled” she’s joining the cast. The Hollywood Reporter confirmed Dunham will be in one episode, so that means she most likely she’ll be one of the first people to die in some horrifically wonderful way. We’re pretty sure Dunham ate that stuff up.
American Horror Story: Cult premieres September 5 on FX.