On Monday, eager fans of American Horror Story were treated to the release of the Cult opening credits. There were creepy images aplenty in the sequence, which ran just a little over a minute. Even more interesting, though, were the clues in the AHS: Cult opening credits that appeared to strongly hint at what you can expect from the upcoming season. While AHS opening credits from past seasons have been largely a symbolic take on what will happen, it feels as if these opening credits are showing some actual tools, scenes, and even moments which will be brought to life in the show itself.
Perhaps the creepiest element of the opening credits is the immediate connection between the credits music and its dark political theme, which AHS creator Ryan Murphy has commented on in previous interviews. The music is a mixture of a scary carnival dirge and an off-brand remix of the House of Cards opening credits music. In doing this, AHS: Cult is immediately telling viewers we're about to enter the nightmarish world of Washington, D.C. (admittedly not tough to imagine these days) and that things are going to get very scary and very bad. Like, so bad.
But the music isn't the only thing worth taking note of in the Cult opening credits. In fact, here are some other clues that indicate Cult is going to be scary for its scare-tactics, as well as its political relevancy.
1. The Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton Masks
Our president and the former Democratic nominee may not appear in the flesh, but that doesn't mean their faces don't loom large. While there were comments from Murphy that the 2016 U.S. presidential election served as inspiration for this season, it's evident that it won't be drawing on the events and the outcome so much as hinting at the terror of that time, quite possibly through these masks of Trump and Clinton. Perhaps some of the Cult characters will deploy the mask of their preferred candidate in order to protect their identity while they carry out some cruel or insidious act?
2. The Bees
Bees have been a prominent symbol in the promotional materials for Cult. Acting as a commentary on how cults can create a hive-mind mentality, the bees, in their great quantity in the opening credits, imply there will be a lot of excitement and activity around whatever the cult is preaching. This only drives home the notion that the ideologies being preached by the titular cult are powerful and maybe able to spread rapidly, much in the same way that bees pollinate flowers.
3. The Clowns
Clowns are another powerful and prominent image in the Cult promotional materials. They've been shown in large groups in previous trailers, and now in the opening credits, it looks like they're shedding blood, ominously popping up out of caskets, and giving some deadly glares. Aside from the "scary clown" trope (which has already been deployed to great effect in AHS: Freak Show), it looks like the members of the cult may adopt clown clothing and makeup to hide their true identities. Additionally, it's mostly disarming to see a clown engage in murderous behavior, so there's a chance that these deadly clowns could appear in the show, doing terrible things and getting away with it. Because who would believe a clown ever did something awful? Either way: Don't. Trust. The. Clowns.
4. The Dead Dog & The Green Gas
This is a new one: The green gas used to possibly kill a golden retriever. It takes up a few shots in the opening credits, which makes it feel like this is an important moment. Are we supposed to focus on the green gas? Will that be a tool of the cult to either indoctrinate new members or perhaps take dissenting members out? Or perhaps the green gas is a symbol for the way poisonous ideas spread rapidly and, if you don't pay attention, you can miss out of the chance to see where they came from.
5. The Bloodied Lovers
Another moment that was given some unusually long screentime for the opening credits was the scene of young lovers, kissing passionately while appearing to be both nude and covered in blood. AHS loves to pop in a young couple who's fighting the supernaturally evil odds placed upon them, so it's likely this could happen again. However, it's disconcerting that this couple seem to not be bothered by their bloodied state (implying perhaps they are covered in someone or something else's blood), and they seem kinda turned on by it. Is the cult actively indoctrinating young people looking for a cause to believe in, even if it's violent and horrifying?
6. The Bloody Flag
Perhaps the most chilling image of all is a blood-soaked American flag. Already calling forth images of the blood spilled in order to build the United States, in the context of AHS, it's also a haunting bit of foreshadowing about the blood that will be spilled on U.S. soil in the name of the cult taking over. It certainly doesn't look like the bloodshed will halt anytime soon — at least, not until the flag is covered in red.
7. The Casket
Death. Just expect a whole lotta death all over Washington, D.C. because it's going to happen, and also, this is AHS we're talking about. C'mon now.
8. The Decaying Shoulder
Terrible ideas have a way of burrowing deep within you and sticking — at least, that's what we should glean from the quick image of what appears to be a woman's shoulder in some state of decomposition. There are some creepy-crawlies going in and out, only adding to the discomfort of the imagery. This could either be a clue that there will be a physical toll for engaging in the practices of the cult at large in the show, or there will be a symbolic toll taken for the deadly ideologies of the cult.
9. The Carousel
Only adding to the creepy vibes of the opening credits, it would seem that that inclusion of a carousel adds to the distorted funhouse vibe that the clowns also bring to the Cult table. Perhaps signaling the dizzying and sickening pace at which the cult moves or reflecting how the cult perceives they are having fun and doing something that's harmless or good, the carousel is nothing but ominous in this context.
10. The Magician
Pulling dead meat out of a hat might seem both gross and pointless, but when you think about the 2016 Election commentary that (with all due respect) Donald Trump was a candidate who seemingly came out of nowhere and into prominence (and horrifying some in that moment, too), then this gross image doesn't seem so far-fetched a correlation. Now, that's not to say that our president is the same as a bloody piece of meat. However, Cult could be using the magician and his meat to comment on that real life situation while telling us that the scariest things can appear when you least expect them or from a place you did not plan for it to come from. Then, you're left wondering what other terrors might pop up out of nowhere and by whose dastardly, magical hand.
11. The Butcher
Because you can't get anything done in D.C. without getting your hands a little dirty. Expect it big time on Cult.
Are you ready to join the crowd? Or are you going to sit by and watch in horror? AHS: Cult premieres soon, and you'll want to make sure you know which side you're on when the show begins.