On Thursday, Ryan Murphy revealed the theme of the seventh season of American Horror Story. In a move completely out of left field, Murphy is going to bend the events of the new season around the 2016 election. In spite of the fact that we had our own theories and were keen on collecting sparse details as they trickled out, we did not see this coming. After all, none of the previous seasons have been particularly timely or topical, and they veered pretty hard into classic horror movie scenarios. Now that we know how close to reality this installment will hew, though, we can still do a little brainstorming. Let's figure out how the season might take shape.
1. A Hyperbolized Version of the Events
In this version, we'd get a pretty cut-and-dried iteration of the 2016 election. That means Murphy would cast the fictional character versions of all the major players, including the Trump family, the Obamas, and the Clintons. Of course, to make it a horror story, Murphy would have to heighten the reality. Maybe there's a Russian murderer trying to silence the election whistle-blowers. Maybe the Trumps are literally brainwashing members of Middle America to follow him like an army of drooling zombies. Maybe the Obamas have been hiding a mythological monster in the White House basement for almost a decade and it gets loose. Maybe aliens are behind it! Things could get weird.
2. Some Sort of Dystopian, Warped Version of What Happened
There's always the chance the season will take a more subtle approach. We might not see a Donald Trump and a Hillary Clinton, per se, but maybe we'll see a version of America in the not-too-distant future with similar figures and similar results. America would have to be crumbling more emphatically. There would be obvious and alarming signs of corruption in the government. Murder and theft would be happening left and right, every hour, in broad daylight. Think of it as a dramatized world, kind of along the same lines as something like The Purge. It's not necessarily reality, but it's not far off.
3. An Allegorical Approach to the Characters and Results
With an allegory, the story itself would serve more as a metaphor for what happened during the election. Instead of Donald Trump emerging victorious over Hillary Clinton, we'd see some other sort of scenario where the "bad" guy prevails over the "good" guy. Certain characters and storylines could represent the obvious adversity faced by the black, Muslim, and LGBTQ communities.
4. A Microcosmic View of What the Election Inadvertently Caused
If Ryan Murphy wants to avoid being too on the nose, there's always the chance he won't center it around the election at all. This kind of falls in line with the above mentioned "allegory" theory, but on a much smaller scale. Maybe we zoom in on one tiny neighborhood to see how the election has changed America. All the same things might be present: the persecution and murder of anyone considered an "other," the dramatic constriction of what one might perceive as a "totalitarian regime," and so on. What small and gargantuan effects might this administration have on the average American?
5. Apocalyptic and Large-Scale Mayhem, Discord, and Destruction
Instead of looking at the effects through a microscope, maybe Ryan Murphy will just blow everything up. Literally. A huge, Trumpian monster will attack New York City, Godzilla style. World War III will send the world into a nuclear apocalypse. The devil himself will rise from the ground and lay waste to humankind. What if American Horror Story just levels the world as we know it, leaving nothing in its wake? I mean, it'd probably make for a pretty insane season.