American Horror Story is an American horror drama television series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. Described as a loose anthology series, each season is conceived as a self-contained story, following different sets of characters and settings, with its own “beginning, middle, and end.” Some plot elements of each season are also inspired by true events. However, there are some characters who appear in different seasons either in cameos, flashbacks, or namedrops. So far, each season has had a supernatural twist incorporated into the story, but that all changed this year with American Horror Story: Cult.
(Beware as there are spoilers for previous seasons of American Horror Story below)
Excluding the aforementioned American Horror Story: Cult, supernatural elements have been a big part of the American Horror Story lore. These supernatural elements of the show range from ghosts to vampires. Seasons 1-6 contain the following supernatural elements:
- American Horror Story: Murder House – Ghosts/Medium/Antichrist
- American Horror Story: Asylum – Demon/Aliens/Mutants
- American Horror Story: Coven – Witches/Papa Legba/Ghosts/”Franken-Kyle”
- American Horror Story: Freak Show – Ghosts/Edward Mordrake
- American Horror Story: Hotel – Vampires/Ghosts/Demon/Witch/Medium
- American Horror Story: Roanoke – Ghosts/Scáthach
The main focus of American Horror Story: Cult is, as the name suggests, a cult. The cult is run by Kai Anderson, played by intelligently by Evan Peters. He is inspired by infamous cult leaders Marshall Applewhite, David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson all also played by Evan Peters. He uses his cult to spread fear and gain political power during the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump. While the season does possess some extremely dark themes and crazy hallucinations it never dives into the supernatural territory. There is mention of Lana Winters, a character seen in Seasons 2 and 6, Twisty the Clown from Season 5, and the Zodiac Killer, also briefly seen in Season 6. However, Lana has no supernatural abilities, Twisty is seen as a comic book character and not in his ghost form, and the Zodiac — well his story becomes very confusing, but he is also not seen in ghost form. Considering how knowledgable Kai is on the history of cults it would have been great if he were actually inspired by the ghosts of real cult leaders instead of former S.C.U.M. member Bebe Babbitt.
The lack of a supernatural element is a first for the American Horror Story franchise and may be something that the anthology will continue in future seasons depending on how long the show lasts. There is a rumor that the show is based on Inferno, the first part of Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. The theory suggests that each season of the show represents a different circle of Hell. It further explains why the same actors are playing different characters each season as the viewer is seeing them suffer their different forms of damnation, depending on how they lived their lives. Co-creator Ryan Murphy has added fuel to this fire by posting an interesting image on Instagram.
American Horry Story has been renewed for an 8th and 9th season due to air in 2018 and 2019 respectively. If we are to believe Murphy’s post then the show may end after Season 9. And the final two seasons will cover the themes of lust and violence. This is probably not the case as Murphy said he hoped the show would last “decades and decades.” Maybe he plans on adapting Purgatorio, the second part of Dante’s Divine Comedy. One thing is for sure, the next couple of seasons aren’t guaranteed to involve a supernatural theme.
Do you like American Horror Story? Do you want supernatural elements to return in Season 8? What would you like the next season to be about? Leave your comments below!