FX’s wildly popular anthology horror series American Horror Story has covered a wide range of concepts, from haunted houses, hotels, asylums and freak shows. Still, no one could have guessed what topic creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk would tackle for the series’ upcoming seventh season: the recent U.S. presidential election.
The news, which was announced by Murphy on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live is noteworthy for many reasons. None of the previous seasons have been so blatantly inspired by real-life events like this one. While the first season of American Crime Story tackled the O.J. Simpson murder trial to much critical acclaim, that was done over decades after the case. Here, Murphy and Falchuk are tackling a very contentious election when the dust has barely begun to settle.
Second, the fact that this is part of the American Horror Story franchise adds further intrigue. The results of the 2016 election upset many, but to put in the context of a horror series is especially eye-opening. It isn’t clear what direction will be taken with this season. It’s likely that Murphy and Falchuk will take creative license on real life happenings to give them a shocking twist (or two) that will lend even further dread to the proceedings.
The center of the election was now President Donald Trump. When asked about whether Trump (or a character meant to represent him) would be part of the series, Murphy simply replied “maybe.” An answer which indicates Murphy is very much prepared to have a character evocative of the bombastic president.
For filming, the currently-untitled season has many possibilities for settings/filming locations. New York and Washington D.C. are all but assured, but one has to wonder about any possible scrutiny. If they are legitimately portraying the election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, then they’ll likely have trouble accessing buildings such as Trump Tower, particularly if the series paints Trump in a negative light.
It will also be interesting to see which actors from the stable of American Horror Story players will be appearing in this iteration. Jessica Lange could very well pull off Hillary Clinton or a character like her. However, it isn’t clear who could pull off the bombast of Donald Trump in a way that is chilling and not just ridiculous.
By taking on the 2016 election, Murphy and Falchuk are being particularly audacious. However, after six successful seasons of American Horror Story, we commend them for going out on a limb. Season seven is sure to be controversial, intriguing and possibly shocking. That’s a formula that should add up to one of the most highly-anticipated shows of the year.