American Horror Story: Cult
|American Horror Story:|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||11|
|Original release||September 5– November 14, 2017|
American Horror Story: Cult is the seventh season of the FX horror anthology television series American Horror Story. It premiered on September 5, 2017, and concluded on November 14, 2017. The series was renewed on October 4, 2016. The subtitle Cult was announced on July 20, 2017. Returning cast members from previous seasons include Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Cheyenne Jackson, John Carroll Lynch, Chaz Bono, Adina Porter, James Morosini, Emma Roberts, Mare Winningham, Frances Conroy, and Jamie Brewer, who are joined by new cast members Billie Lourd and Alison Pill. Cult marks the first season to not feature series mainstay actress Lily Rabe. Cult received mostly positive reviews from critics.
The fictional city of Brookfield Heights, Michigan is left divided by the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Local restaurant owner Ally Mayfair-Richards (Sarah Paulson) is utterly distraught by Donald Trump's victory and several of her longstanding phobias, including coulrophobia, hemophobia, and trypophobia, flare up as a result. Similarly devastated is fellow Brookfield Heights resident Winter Anderson (Billie Lourd), a liberal college dropout. Contrarily, Kai Anderson (Evan Peters), Winter's estranged and manipulative brother, rejoices at the election results and is enticed to pursue political power. Kai recruits a disillusioned Winter and frustrated newscast reporter Beverly Hope (Adina Porter).
Ally finds herself relentlessly terrorized by masked clowns. Those close to her, including her psychiatrist Dr. Rudy Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson), question whether the attacks are real or merely anxiety-fueled hallucinations. Ally's paranoia, escalated by suspicious activities perpetrated by new neighbors Harrison (Billy Eichner) and Meadow Wilton (Leslie Grossman), hinders her relationships with her wife Ivy (Alison Pill) and their son (Cooper Dodson).
Cast and characters
- Sarah Paulson as Ally Mayfair-Richards and Susan Atkins
- Evan Peters as Kai Anderson, Andy Warhol, Marshall Applewhite, David Koresh, Jim Jones, Jesus, and Charles Manson
- Cheyenne Jackson as Dr. Rudy Vincent
- Billie Lourd as Winter Anderson and Linda Kasabian
- Alison Pill as Ivy Mayfair-Richards
Special guest stars
- Billy Eichner as Harrison Wilton and Charles "Tex" Watson
- Emma Roberts as Serena Belinda
- Mare Winningham as Sally Keffler
- Lena Dunham as Valerie Solanas
- Frances Conroy as Bebe Babbitt
- Adina Porter as Beverly Hope
- Colton Haynes as Det. Jack Samuels
- Leslie Grossman as Meadow Wilton and Patricia Krenwinkel
- Chaz Bono as Gary Longstreet
- Cooper Dodson as Ozymandias "Oz" Mayfair-Richards
- Dermot Mulroney as Bob Thompson
- Cameron Cowperthwaite as Speedwagon
- Tim Kang as Tom Chang
- John Carroll Lynch as Twisty the Clown
- Jorge-Luis Pallo as Pedro Morales
- Zack Ward as Roger
- Laura Allen as Rosie
- Ron Melendez as Mark
- James Morosini as R.J.
- Dot-Marie Jones as Butchy May
- Jamie Brewer as Hedda
- Rick Springfield as Pastor Charles
- Rachel Roberts as Sharon Tate
- Dennis Cockrum as Herbert Jackson
- Annie Ilonzeh as Erika
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|74||1||"Election Night"||Bradley Buecker||Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk||September 5, 2017||7ATS01||3.93|
|Ally and Ivy are a married couple who have a son named Oz. Ally suffers from several phobias which intensify after learning that Donald Trump has won the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Her psychiatrist, Dr. Rudy Vincent, recommends a medicine to calm her phobia-induced anxiety. Clowns soon start to stalk Ally. Meanwhile, Kai and Winter are two siblings who make a mysterious pact after Trump becomes president. Winter becomes Oz's nanny and attempts to desensitize him to violence. Kai entices a group of Hispanic men to beat him up. Ally and Ivy's neighbors, the Changs, are slaughtered by a group of clowns. The police erroneously rule the incident as a murder–suicide. Mr. Chang's death leaves a city council seat vacant.|
|75||2||"Don't Be Afraid of the Dark"||Liza Johnson||Tim Minear||September 12, 2017||7ATS02||2.38|
|Kai campaigns for the vacant seat on city council. Ally distrusts the new occupants of the Chang's former home, Harrison and Meadow Wilton. At Ally and Ivy's restaurant, the Butchery on Main, tensions fuel between the sous-chef, Roger, and a Hispanic employee, Pedro. Later, the restaurant's security system trips and Ally investigates. She finds Roger hanging on a hook in the meat locker. Detective Samuels singles out Pedro as the most likely suspect. Ally obtains a gun from the Wiltons. Later on, there is an alleged power shortage in the city and Ally is terrorized by clowns. Ivy sends Pedro to deliver supplies to the house and he is accidentally shot and killed by Ally.|
|76||3||"Neighbors from Hell"||Gwyneth Horder-Payton||James Wong||September 19, 2017||7ATS03||2.25|
|Clowns break into a couple's home and entomb them in coffins. Picketers protest Pedro's death outside of the Butchery on Main. Kai promises Ally that he will dissuade them and he delivers. The Wiltons berate Ally for Pedro's death and gift Oz a guinea pig. A truck, dispersing a mysterious green gas throughout the neighborhood, disturbs Ally. Oz's guinea pig is microwaved and killed. Ally suspects the Wiltons to be the perpetrators. She assaults Harrison and threatens Meadow. Footage of Ally being seduced by Winter is posted online, devastating Ivy. The Wiltons are individually interrogated by Kai. Harrison expresses his desire for Meadow's death. Afterwards, Meadow disappears and Harrison blames Ally.|
|77||4||"11/9"||Gwyneth Horder-Payton||John J. Gray||September 26, 2017||7ATS04||2.13|
|The day before the election, Ivy attends a political rally where she is groped by a man named Gary. Winter comes to Ivy's defense and the two have lunch together. That night, Ivy and Winter kidnap Gary and chain him to a pole in an abandoned building to prevent him from voting the next day. Kai comes to Gary's aid one hour before the polls close and offers him a saw. Gary severs his chained hand. The day after the election, Harrison becomes Kai's personal trainer. Kai takes Harrison under his wing and eventually convinces him to murder his degrading boss. Later, Kai takes a special interest in a news reporter named Beverly Hope and offers her "equal power" in his quest for domination. He instigates the murder of her rival, Serena Belinda, as proof of his dedication to her.|
|78||5||"Holes"||Maggie Kiley||Crystal Liu||October 3, 2017||7ATS05||2.20|
|Beverly informs Kai that her boss, Bob, is compromising news coverage of the clown murders and thereby hindering Kai's campaign. Kai, Beverly, Winter, Harrison, Detective Samuels, Ivy, Gary, and Beverly's cameraman, RJ, don clown masks, break into Bob's house, and film his murder. Beverly later advises Kai to cut ties with RJ whom she views as a weak link. Each cult member shoots a tied-up RJ in the head with a nail gun before Kai finishes him off. Meadow pleads to Ally for safety from the cult and lets it slip that Ivy is a member. Beverly probes Kai about the whereabouts of his parents and Kai divulges that his mom shot his dad and then herself in a murder–suicide. Kai's brother, Dr. Rudy Vincent, insisted that they cover up their deaths in order to protect his career and continue receiving their mom's pension and their dad's disability checks.|
|79||6||"Mid-Western Assassin"||Bradley Buecker||Todd Kubrak||October 10, 2017||7ATS06||2.15|
|Meadow reveals to Ally that she had fallen in love with Kai and decided to desert the cult when her feelings were not reciprocated. Meadow also tells Ally that the cult has made strides to drive her insane so that Ivy would gain sole custody of Oz. Ally plans to use Meadow's testimony to expose Kai and pays an opposing candidate of his, Sally Keffler, a visit to ask for her help. In the midst of their conversation, the cult breaks into Sally's house and Kai shoots her in the chest. He stages her murder as a suicide. The next day, at a political rally, Meadow shoots several people, including Kai. Ally attempts to wrestle the gun out of Meadow's hands and Meadow shoots herself in the mouth. Ally is arrested after a SWAT team arrives to the scene and finds her with the gun in her hands. Kai had ordered Meadow to attempt to assassinate him so that his figure would be elevated to a national level. In addition, Meadow was instructed to bear witness to Ally on the grounds that no one would believe a "crazy woman".|
|80||7||"Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag"||Rachel Goldberg||Crystal Liu||October 17, 2017||7ATS07||2.07|
|Ally is sent to a psychiatric hospital. Kai wins the vacant seat on city council. His presence in the national media attracts an underground following of misogynistic militiamen. Beverly, Winter, and Ivy are warned by Bebe Babbitt, the former lover of radical feminist Valerie Solanas, about the danger of putting their trust in Kai. Bebe asserts that men in power always push women aside. She divulges to them that Solanas orchestrated the murders accredited to the Zodiac Killer. Solanas died haunted by the fact that her legacy would be tied with her shooting of Andy Warhol. Later, Beverly, Winter, and Ivy murder Harrison for making a sexist comment. Kai and Bebe watch Beverly report on Harrison's death together.|
|81||8||"Winter of Our Discontent"||Barbara Brown||Joshua Green||October 24, 2017||7ATS08||2.06|
|Winter assures Beverly and Ivy that Kai is dependable and recounts an occasion in which they saved tortured captives of a deranged pastor. Kai's proposal that Winter be impregnated with the "messiah" by Samuels does not go as planned and Samuels later attempts to rape Winter. She shoots him in the head. In the meantime, Ally is released from the psychiatric hospital and, in an effort to get her son back, informs Kai that Vincent is seeking to get him committed. Kai kills Vincent and confines Beverly, having been blamed for the death of Samuels by Winter, to an isolation chamber. Ally joins the cult, much to the dismay of Ivy.|
|82||9||"Drink the Kool-Aid"||Angela Bassett||Adam Penn||October 31, 2017||7ATS09||1.48|
|Kai declares his intention to run for Senate. Later, he requires each cult member to drink presumably poisoned Kool-Aid to test their loyalty. He reveals that the drinks were untainted afterwards. Meanwhile, Ally serves Ivy pasta and wine laced with arsenic and Ivy drops dead. As a means to protect Oz from harm, Ally presents to Kai doctored evidence that his sperm inseminated her when she became pregnant.|
|83||10||"Charles (Manson) in Charge"||Bradley Buecker||Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk||November 7, 2017||7ATS10||1.82|
|Kai recounts the Tate murders to the militiamen. Afterwards, he begins to suspect that a mole has infiltrated the cult and slips into a state of manic paranoia which plagues him with visions of Charles Manson. Meanwhile, Bebe Babbitt is incensed by Kai's failing to implement their master plan: to unleash female rage with an inflammatory political platform. Ally shoots Bebe in the head after she pulls a gun on Kai. After reporting on the murder of Gary, enacted by the cult at a local Planned Parenthood, a broken Beverly is urged by Winter to run away. Beverly insists that she remain loyal to Kai. Kai later tearfully strangles Winter to death after Ally singles her out as the mole. Ally takes notice of the real mole, militiaman Speedwagon.|
|84||11||"Great Again"||Jennifer Lynch||Tim Minear||November 14, 2017||7ATS11||1.97|
|A SWAT team storms the Anderson basement on the night that the cult intends to massacre one-hundred pregnant women. Months later, Ally divulges to Beverly that the FBI recruited her as an informant. Beverly becomes a key advisor to Ally's Michigan Senate campaign. Kai escapes from a maximum security prison and infiltrates a televised political debate between Ally and her opponent. After spewing a misogynistic tirade, Kai points a gun to Ally's head and pulls the trigger, but discovers that the gun is not loaded, having been sabotaged earlier. Beverly then shoots him dead. Ally obtains the vast majority of the female vote and wins a Senate seat. Later, Ally dons a cloak similar to Valerie Solanas' group cloak, and departs to attend a meeting with a group of "empowered women who want to change the system".|
On October 4, 2016, the series was renewed for a seventh cycle, which premiered on September 5, 2017. Ryan Murphy confirmed that the season will be connected to Freak Show, but will be set in modern day. In February 2017, on Watch What Happens Live, Murphy announced that the season would revolve around the 2016 U.S. election and suggested that it may feature a character based on President Donald Trump. Murphy has said that the season will be representative of both sides of the political divide. He also said that he will be "illuminating and highlighting" groups of people he believes to be "ignored by the current [Trump] administration and who are afraid and feel terrorized that their lives are going to be taken away."
It was later confirmed that the season would be set in the aftermath of the presidential election, with the first episode taking place on election night. Murphy explained it will be about "the fallout of that night, which to many people, from all sides of the camps is a horror story." He also revealed the season will not feature Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, stating "Horror Story is always about allegory, so the election is allegory." In April 2017, Murphy confirmed that archive footage of the election night would be used in the season premiere.
Murphy revealed via Twitter that the details of the seventh season, including the title, would be revealed on July 20. He also teased that the opening sequence of the series would return in this season, following its absence in Roanoke.
On July 20, 2017, it was announced at the San Diego Comic-Con that the title of the season would be Cult. Murphy also revealed it would be set in Michigan, and confirmed it would consist of a total of 11 episodes, premiering on September 5, 2017. For the first time, the series will not air on Wednesdays but rather on Tuesdays. On August 3, 2017, online posters revealed the names of multiple characters of the season. On August 21, 2017, the opening title sequence of the season was revealed, following its absence in the previous season. That same month, Murphy confirmed that, contrary to the past seasons, Cult would not feature supernatural elements.
During the Winter 2017 TCA Press Tour, series mainstays Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters were reported to be starring as the leads in the season. In March 2017, Billy on the Street host Billy Eichner was announced to be cast in the series, playing a role in the life of Paulson's character. His character is slated for appearing in "six or seven" episodes. The next month, it was reported that Scream Queens alum Billie Lourd will also star in the seventh installment of the series. In May 2017, Leslie Grossman, who starred in Murphy's series Popular, joined the cast of the series, and Angela Bassett hinted she may return in a recurring role. Later that month, it was confirmed via set pictures that Adina Porter and Cheyenne Jackson were also returning. In June 2017, Murphy confirmed via his Instagram account that Colton Haynes, whom Murphy worked with previously on second season of Scream Queens, was joining the casting for the seventh season. Later that month, set pictures revealed that Alison Pill was joining the cast of the season, seemingly portraying the partner of Sarah Paulson's character. In July 2017, Murphy revealed via his Twitter account that Lena Dunham was joining the season. She is set to play Valerie Solanas, author of the SCUM Manifesto and attempted murder of Andy Warhol, via flashbacks. Murphy also confirmed the returns of Frances Conroy and Mare Winningham. Conroy has appeared in all the seasons except Hotel, while Winningham has appeared in Coven, Freak Show and Hotel. In August 2017, Murphy confirmed the return of Emma Roberts, who appeared in Coven and Freak Show, while Roanoke actors Chaz Bono and James Morosini also confirmed their returns. In the seventh episode, Murder House, Coven and Freak Show actress alum Jamie Brewer returned to the show.
On June 26, 2017, it was confirmed that Lady Gaga would not return for the seventh season due to other projects. Despite rumors, Entertainment Weekly reported on July 7, 2017, that Vera Farmiga, sister of American Horror Story alum Taissa Farmiga, would not appear in the season. Later that month, it was confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter that Kathy Bates will not appear in Cult, after four seasons of regular appearances.
In February 2017, it was announced the season would begin principal photography in June 2017. By the next month, filming was moved to May 2017. On May 24, 2017, writer and producer John J. Gray confirmed the show started filming.
On October 7, 2017, it was confirmed that the sixth episode of the season would be edited as a direct result of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting that occurred on October 1, 2017. The episode originally featured a scene lasting 2 minutes and 16 seconds where Leslie Grossman's character Meadow Wilton begins to fire at Evan Peters' character, as well as a crowd, during a campaign speech. The episode was edited to de-emphasize the violence and to mostly have it featured completely off-screen - as a result the opening sequence of the episode was cut in half, several on-screen deaths were removed and two separate close-up shots of the handgun firing were removed.
While only the edited episode was broadcast on FX, the original uncut episode was released via VOD, FXNOW and FX+.
American Horror Story: Cult received positive reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the season a 76% approval rating, with an average rating of 6.83/10, based on 42 reviews. The site's consensus reads, "American Horror Story: Cult intrigues with timely, over-the-top creepiness - and lots of clowns - despite being hampered by broad political generalizations and occasional holes in the narrative's logic." On Metacritic, the season was given a score of 66 out of 100 based on 24 reviews, indicating "generally positive reviews".
Awards and nominations
In its seventh season, the series has been nominated for 22 awards, 3 of them were won.
|2018||8th Critics' Choice TV Awards||Best Actor in a Movie or Limited Series||Evan Peters||Nominated|
|70th Writers Guild of America Awards||Long Form – Original||Brad Falchuk, John J. Gray, Joshua Green, Todd Kubrak, Crystal Liu, Tim Minear, Ryan Murphy, Adam Penn and James Wong||Nominated|
|22nd Art Directors Guild Awards||Television Movie or Mini-Series||Jeffrey Mossa (for "Election Night" and "Winter of Our Discontent")||Nominated|
|20th Costume Designers Guild Awards||Excellence in Contemporary Television||Sarah Evelyn Bram||Nominated|
|Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards 2018||TV Miniseries or Movie Made For TV: Best Contemporary Makeup||Eryn Krueger Mekash, Kim Ayers, Silvina Knight||Nominated|
|TV Miniseries or Movie Made For TV: Best Contemporary Hair Styling||Michelle Ceglia, Samantha Wade, Brittany Madrigal||Nominated|
|TV Miniseries or Movie Made For TV: Best Period and/or Character Hair Styling||Michelle Ceglia, Samantha Wade, Julie Rael||Nominated|
|TV Miniseries or Movie Made For TV: Best Special Makeup Effects||Eryn Krueger Mekash, Michael Mekash, David Anderson||Won|
|Commercials and Music Videos: Best Makeup||Kerry Herta, Jason Collins, Christina Waltz||Won|
|Commercials and Music Videos: Best Hair Styling||Nicki Alkire, Fernando Navarro, Stephanie Rives||Won|
|Saturn Awards||Best Horror Television Series||American Horror Story: Cult||Nominated|
|Best Actress on Television||Sarah Paulson||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor on Television||Evan Peters||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress on Television||Adina Porter||Nominated|
|29th GLAAD Media Awards||Outstanding TV Movie or Mini-Series||American Horror Story: Cult||Nominated|
|70th Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie||Sarah Paulson||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie||Adina Porter||Nominated|
|70th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Hairstyling for a Limited Series or Movie||Michelle Ceglia, Samantha Wade, Brittany Madrigal, Julie Rael, Valerie Jackson, Joanne Onorio||Nominated|
|Outstanding Makeup for a Limited Series or Movie (Non-Prosthetic)||Eryn Krueger Mekash, Kim Ayers, Michael Mekash, Silvina Knight, Carleigh Herbert||Nominated|
|Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program (One Hour or More)||Jeff Mossa, Rachel Robb Kondrath, Claire Kaufman||Nominated|
|Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie or Special||Eryn Krueger Mekash, Michael Mekash, Kim Ayers, Silvina Knight, Christopher Nelson, Carleigh Herbert, Glen Eisner, David Leroy Anderson||Nominated|
|Outstanding Sound Editing for a Limited Series, Movie or Special||Gary Megregian, Naaman Haynes, Steve M. Stuhr, Timothy A. Cleveland, Paul Diller, Mitchell Lestner, Sam Munoz, David Klotz, Noel Vought (for "Great Again")||Nominated|
|1||"Election Night"||September 5, 2017||2.0||3.93||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|2||"Don't Be Afraid of the Dark"||September 12, 2017||1.2||2.38||1.7||3.05||2.9||5.43|
|3||"Neighbors from Hell"||September 19, 2017||1.2||2.25||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|4||"11/9"||September 26, 2017||1.1||2.13||1.5||2.87||2.7||5.00|
|5||"Holes"||October 3, 2017||1.1||2.20||1.5||2.82||2.6||5.02|
|6||"Mid-Western Assassin"||October 10, 2017||1.0||2.15||1.2||2.28||2.2||4.43|
|7||"Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag"||October 17, 2017||1.0||2.07||1.5||2.74||2.5||4.81|
|8||"Winter of Our Discontent"||October 24, 2017||1.0||2.06||1.4||2.56||2.4||4.62|
|9||"Drink the Kool-Aid"||October 31, 2017||0.7||1.48||1.4||2.56||2.1||4.04|
|10||"Charles (Manson) in Charge"||November 7, 2017||0.8||1.82||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|11||"Great Again"||November 14, 2017||1.0||1.97||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
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- Porter, Rick (September 27, 2017). "'South Park' premiere makes big gains in cable Live +7 ratings for Sept. 11-17". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
- Porter, Rick (October 13, 2017). "'AHS: Cult' outgains everything in cable Live +7 ratings for Sept. 25-Oct. 1". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
- Porter, Rick (October 19, 2017). "American Horror Story: Cult' on top again in cable Live +7 ratings for Oct. 2-8". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
- Porter, Rick (October 26, 2017). "'Gold Rush' still striking it rich for Discovery: Cable Live +7 ratings for Oct. 9-15". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
- Porter, Rick (November 3, 2017). "'Walking Dead' premiere grows a lot, still trails Season 7 debut by a lot: Cable Live +7 ratings for Oct. 16-22". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
- Porter, Rick (November 9, 2017). "'Walking Dead,' 'AHS: Cult' way above everything else in cable Live +7 ratings for Oct. 23-29". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
- Porter, Rick (November 17, 2017). "'American Horror Story: Cult' triples in cable Live +7 ratings for Oct. 30-Nov. 5". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- For the second season, see "American Horror Story: Season Two Ratings". TV Series Finale. January 24, 2013. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
For the third season, see "American Horror Story: Coven: (Season Three) Ratings". TV Series Finale. January 30, 2014. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
For the fourth season, see "American Horror Story: Freak Show Ratings". TV Series Finale. January 22, 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
For the fifth season, see "American Horror Story: Hotel (Season Five) Ratings". TV Series Finale. January 14, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
For the sixth season, see "American Horror Story: Season Six Ratings". TV Series Finale. November 17, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
For the seventh season, see "American Horror Story: Season Seven Ratings". TV Series Finale. November 17, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
For the eighth season, see "American Horror Story: Season Eight Ratings". TV Series Finale. September 13, 2018. Retrieved September 13, 2018.