This is a very spoilery few musings on episode one of American Horror Story: Cult, which I just watched. I was very brave, because I’m alone in the house and it is after dark. I’m no fan of horror but I thought I would give Cult a try because it has been reported in the news as having an overt political message, along with a whole bunch of clowns. I figured it was going to be mostly psychological horror with an interesting political twist, which I might enjoy. Boy was I wrong.
The show starts off with a truly horrifying scenario. A game changing event beyond the ability of the characters in the show to prevent comes along and changes their lives. Donald Trump becomes president of the USA. We watch this happen along with various people and their TVs. One of the most interesting characters to me was the one played by Billie Lourd. She is a young woman who is mad because CNN didn’t give a trigger warning before announcing the results.
Billy Lourd’s character campaigned hard for Hilary and seems at first sympathetic, but she later in the episode turns out to be troubled, to say the least. She gets a job as a babysitter and makes the kid she is looking after watch snuff movies from the dark web. Her blue-haired brother is just as troubled, if not more so. Where she reacts with sadness at Trump’s win, he is exultant. On election night, immeditely on hearing the news that Trump won, he puts Cheetos in a blender and uses the resulting paste to turn himself orange with the dust. With orange Cheeto dust on his face, and with his blue hair, he has already transformed into a clown.
With our characters introduced, and with election night now over, the show moves to a bunch of nasty and gory clown encounters. I’m guessing the clowns are to evoke the Insane Clown Posse fans known as the Juggalos, who are considered a gang by the FBI. Or maybe it’s just the inescapable fact that Trump is the most clown like of the presidents the USA has had in its history. Whatever the reason, we get plenty of clowns.
For an example of the this clown stuff, we are taken early in the show to a park where two tattooed millennials are making out. The guy starts telling the girl a scary story about a clown, and then a clown turns up. Horror ensues, but it all turns out to be just a strip from a comic book that a kid is reading at night. The transition from what we think is real life, to the panels of a comic book is done well, as are all the speial effects, at least to my untrained eyes.
The kid’s mom catches him reading this comic book and then, on seeing that the book is about a psycho clown, her phobia of clowns is triggered. She goes to see her psychiatrist, who has a beautiful consulting room with abstract art on the wall and vintage furniture, but he can’t help her. She starts seeing clowns everywhere and thinks she is losing her mind.
I smiled when it later transpired that this mentally fragile woman owns and helps run a shop that she and her wife call a butchery, The Butchery on Main to be precise. There is lots more clown based horror action, but I’m not going to bother describing any more of it.
In fact, one of the creepiest scenes isn’t related to clowns at all. It was when the blue-haired brother, who is shaping up to be the bad guy by the looks of it, throws cold coffee at the two main characters. It is obviously an intentional act, though he says he trips, and the two women don’t know how to react. It’s the sort of random act of low-level violence that actually happens on our streets every day.
The episode also has Tim Kang in it, who played Agent Cho in The Mentalist. He was always a rock in that show, and helped me get through the frightening bits. I thought he was going to play the same role for me in this show, as a kind of talisman who would show up and make things okay, but no. He and his wife are messily killed towards the end of the show. Okay, I thought, this isn’t for me. I neither have the nerves or the stomach for it.
I appreciate how well written and filmed the whole thing is but I will not be watching another episode. It was just too gory for me.
Galaxy Dog (Dark Galaxy)
The fist sci-fi book I ever wrote, and still the one that sells the best, is Galaxy Dog. It is the first book in the Dark Galaxy series and it is a story of adventure, spaceships, and rebellion across a galactic empire. A small group of friends, one woman, one man, and one robot incite a revolt and take on the might of the Tarazet Deep Space Navy. They find an immensely powerful alien spaceship so, even though the rebellion is extremely outnumbered, they still stand a chance. Galaxy Dog combines the action of military sci-fi with the heart of space opera. There are robots, aliens, space battles, and all the good things that make sci-fi so enjoyable. Galaxy Dog is available from Amazon right now, so just click the Amazon link and download a copy.