American Horror Story finds horror in Trump-era America

The Buckner Mansion in New Orleans was one of the filming locations for the television series, American Horror Story.
The Buckner Mansion in New Orleans was one of the filming locations for the television series, American Horror Story. ST PHOTO: BENSON ANG

NEW YORK (NYTimes) - There have been haunted mansions, sinister hotels and mental institutions. There have been ghosts, aliens and witches.

For six seasons, American Horror Story has mined creepy Americana to create one of TV's most successful anthology series.

But for the seventh season, the series is focusing on a less traditional space for horror: a Michigan town in the wake of the 2016 presidential election.

There are some killer clowns but not all the carnage and violence committed this season comes by way of supernatural forces. Instead, it comes at the hands of bitter, angry voters.

Although some shows have benefited from President Donald Trump's surprising election victory last year, American Horror Story is the first major scripted effort to explicitly tackle what it means to live in a fractured, post-Nov 8 country.

The show's creators said the election and its aftermath mostly serve to create a tense, unhinged mood in the town.

"It's not about Trump, it's not about Clinton, it's about somebody who has the wherewithal to put their finger up in the wind and see what's happening and using that to rise up and form power," Ryan Murphy, the series' co-creator, said.

"And using people's vulnerabilities about how they're afraid, and feeling vulnerable, and they don't know where to turn, and they feel like the world is on fire."

Murphy decided to locate the show in Michigan because it had been an election battleground state decided by only a few thousand votes.

And he said he wanted to bring a grittier reality to this season, losing some of the operatic feel the series has possessed in the past.