This past season of American Horror Story tackled, in addition to murderous clowns and nail gun torture, the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, a true horror I only just stopped waking up in the middle of the night to sweat over. (Just wait until we go to war!) And indeed, it appears even the cast of AHS: Cult thought those particular wounds were a bit fresh this time around, even though this and past seasons have featured so many literal wounds, but honestly I’d rather watch witches die 80 times over than listen to another Trump speech, so.
On Friday, AHS:Cult cast members attended an Emmy panel at the WGA Theater in Los Angeles, and a few spoke to the Hollywood Reporter about working on the AHS anthology’s seventh season. Sarah Paulson, who plays a woman who was traumatized by Trump’s election, said fictionalizing real life really sucked this time around.
“By the time we were shooting ... we all thought that maybe we were not over [the election], but in a place where having to access this would be sort of easy,” she told THR. “But we all kind of felt, as we were watching the tape, it was just really hard to believe that it happened. And it just felt way too fresh. Too soon to be reenacting it with a sense of safety for your internal well-being. But instead, it was like, nope, go in there and pick at it.”
And while a big side plot this season involved murderous a clown cult, Leslie Grossman, whose (SPOILER ALERT) character is manipulated by a cult leader into committing a mass shooting, said taking on gun violence in the aftermath of so many real shootings was much scarier than the clowns. ““I’m not afraid of clowns; I don’t have phobias; I’m not afraid of all that stuff,” she said. “I’m afraid of gun violence, so confronting that directly was uncomfortable.” Grossman said she thought she was going to throw up while filming the shooting scene. “[I]t’s much scarier to do the real stuff than over-the-top horror stuff.”
It appears we’re not straying too far from our Trumpian reality next time around, since, per Variety, showrunner Ryan Murphy says Season 8 will take place 18 months in the future. Though perhaps Trump and his two large adult sons will get (fictionally) abducted by aliens, probed, and banished to a failed Elon Musk colony— Murphy says the next season will be more “fantasy inspired,” and that is my fantasy.