By Pavel Zlatin – 1851 Staff
“American Horror Story” is back on screens for the seventh year. “Cult” tells the story of a strange and extremely violent cult formed in the fictional city of Brookfield Heights, Michigan.
Many have noticed that after season three, American Horror Story has been slowly, but inevitably meeting its death. Season six incited doubt of that assumption, when after a pretty weak start, it transformed into a great story. However, season seven can only support the fact that the AHS franchise has nothing else to say. When AHS has lacked substance, it has delivered style, and season seven doesn’t have any of it.
The good news is that casting is always great. The new season stars Evan Peters as Kai Anderson, a charismatic leader of the cult with strange political beliefs. Billie Lourd, the daughter of the late Carrie Fisher, plays a creepy nanny named Winter, and Kai’s sister. The cast also includes Sarah Paulson as Ally Mayfair-Richards, Alison Pill as Ally’s wife and another member of the cult, and Adina Porter as a shady reporter and member of the cult, Beverly Hope. Porter is also known for her leading role as Lee Harris in AHS season six. The cast also includes Leslie Grossman, Billy Eichner, Chaz Bono, and Colton Haynes.
Sarah Paulson is back, dear fans, as her old, hysterical and unstable self. But unlike her character Lana Winters in season two, she doesn’t really have a fascinating story. Ally, Paulson’s character in season seven, is just a panic-stricken housewife with a bunch of phobias who is trying to conduct an amateur investigation on the mysterious cult. The good news ends here.
Season seven characters seem pretty unnecessary, with no charismatic creep-factor or substance at all. Paulson’s role as a hysterical lesbian housewife seems more like a joke than an actual role.
The cult that is supposed to be mysterious and creepy is also a gigantic failure. To begin with, it’s just a bunch of suburban residents dressed in clown’s outfits, murdering their fellow residents as if it were the Scream franchise, trying to get their leader elected in the city council. The members of the cult claim to be sick of the current political situation in the country, and are in search of change. Electing a blue-haired weirdo in the city council of a small, middle of nowhere town? Good luck with that.
Also, centering the whole season upon the election is just tiring. People are exhausted. Can we just move on?
As usual, the Murphy/Falchuk duo are attempting to integrate real-world events into their story. While this proved successful in the first three seasons, it has now become another failure. In episode seven of the current season, Murphy and Falchuk tried to develop the storyline of Valerie Solanas, an infamous radical feminist and author of SCUM Manifesto, who is usually remembered for her unsuccessful assassination of Andy Warhol. In the episode, Solanas is portrayed by Lena Dunham. Murphy and Falchuk develop her story line in the most ridiculous way, by twisting her into a homicidal psycho, who forms a group of women who perform the infamous Zodiac murders.
There are many ways to consider Valerie Solanas, but this portrayal is just degrading, regarding her place in feminist history. Watching that episode, I thought that if Solanas had seen it, she would’ve written SCUM Manifesto not as satire, but as an actual call for action. The episode sounds like another of Murphy’s attacks on radical feminism, just like Sam aka “The predatory lez” in Scream Queens, who was mocked for her radical beliefs.
All in all, the season looks like a disappointing attempt to revive a dying franchise. Let’s just hope good things for the Halloween episode. Can it at least be amusing?