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American Horror Story tackles political polorization

Vikram Balasubramanian & Skyler Spears, Satire Editor & Photography Editor

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“American Horror Story” ( “AHS”) lives up to its name in season seven, masterfully combining “American” and “Horror Story.” The unique American political world has created a set of circumstances that director Ryan Murphy has expertly capitalized on, creating a striking, visceral and thrilling fear within viewers.

We’ve never been more scared of an episode. Technically, that is the goal of every “AHS” episode, but this season blurs the line between reality and fiction. It’s hard to imagine the probing aliens of “Asylum” and the blood orgies of “Hotel” occurring in everyday life, but everyone can relate to what they felt on election night, whether it was fear or thrill.

If you’re a Hillary supporter, you can feel the horror creeping up on you like a murderous clown behind you, and worry for the future and the rights you hold so dear. If you’re a Trump supporter, we are certain you can relate to Evan Peters’s character, “Kai”, and his exuberance of a win for a candidate who promised a brighter future (maybe without the screaming and Cheeto Puffs.)

However, “AHS” manages to play both sides. Liberals are portrayed as dependent on “trigger warnings” and precious “snowflakes.” The positioning of a lesbian couple that is portrayed as anti-gun and ultra feminist is not accidental but rather a reflection of the microcosm liberal “coastal elites” live in; this provides contrast with the fringe Trump voters one expects elsewhere.

Trump supporters are also shown on a hyperbolic scale with Evan Peters playing a blatantly racist ‘white trash’ character who lives in his parent’s basement screaming “USA” at every turn. But he serves the larger purpose of representing how liberals perceive every single Trump supporter.

Obviously this characterization is incorrect, but it brings to mind the reason that Trump supporters exist. It is easy to resonate and hate Kai, because that’s how we think of someone who targets minorities. Liberals ask, “How can we care about someone who so blatantly doesn’t care about us?” (It’s not about the “economy”– it’s about us versus them). And suddenly, this is the state of politics, and now, art.

The political satire of “AHS” takes a dark turn as Kai, the Trump supporter, takes an anti-semitic, pro-fear stance. In line with “AHS”, and according to Kai, fear is the ultimate human motivator.

Despite his manic presences, Kai genuinely believe in his message of fear being a motivating factor. To ensure this belief is incorporated in the new world created by the election of Trump, he appears before his local council. Not as the screaming, blue-haired person the opening scenes introduced, but as a calm and collected citizen. A suit and tie affords him an initial aura of trust and respect, but it is immediately reduced and ridiculed by the other side. It seems to portray how liberals view every Trump proposal.

It’s said that art imitates life. “AHS” capitalizes on that idea by using a new season to tell us how we feel. Murphy uses this ‘clownish’ medium to present a wider truth on the state of American life.

Perhaps the biggest consequence of the election is the pervasiveness of politics into everything. Nothing is safe from political controversy.

True to its roots, “AHS” sticks to its time-honored traditions of pure, nonsensical horror. In one scene, Murphy taps into human’s primal instincts. Twisty the clown murders a couple, weaves youthful lust, adrenaline and gore together, all things “AHS” is known for.

The scene also shows the season’s fail to expand on its original plot. The show is most noteworthy for having a new set of unrelated characters each season, but rather copies “Freak Show”’s motif. The scene is fun and light when a viewer hasn’t seen the show’s classic plays since last season but falls flat in providing viewers with the unique feeling a new season’s story expected to provide.

One thing the show does right is bring ing back a fan favorite of clowns. While the image of Ronald Mcdonald may pop into your head, anyone familiar with ”AHS Freak Show” knows that these clowns rarely bring a smile to your face. These clowns are sinister and terrifying. Interestingly enough, Murphy directs the clowns to not only play with viewers’ emotions but to also play with our minds, never confirming if the clowns are real or a delusion of the troubled main character Ally. Either way, they are a welcomed element and bring the horror in “American Horror Story”.

“AHS” excelled in one area: it made me sick to my stomach, and it brought a fear and uncertainty that is nearly impossible for a synthetic medium to present. “AHS” is one of the best and most promising shows of the season.

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The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.
American Horror Story tackles political polorization