Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Photo: FX

American Horror Story: Freak Show was nobody’s favorite season of the loony, uneven FX hit series, but it certainly boasted an aesthetically striking villain in John Carroll Lynch’s Twisty The Clown. And, probably because Ryan Murphy knew the show’s seventh season would align with the release of It and the proliferation of Pennywise imagery, the notoriously exploitive creator has found a way to weave Twisty back into this current season.

That might seem odd considering American Horror Story: Cult is supposed to be about the fallout to the 2016 election. That whole situation was scary enough, so how does a psychotic clown not holding political office factor in? As IGN reports, Murphy revealed in a recent Q&A that Sarah Paulson’s Ally—the season’s protagonist—has coulrophobia, a fear of clowns, and that Trump’s election win serves to trigger a great number of phobias in various people.


It turns out that Twisty isn’t actually a part of the world at all; rather, he’s the star of his own Tales From the Crypt-style comic book, as a new short video details. Murphy addressed this in the same Q&A. “It’s sort of meta [...] that Twisty has his own comic book and that could be one of Sarah Paulson’s phobias,” he said. “A lot of people do have a fear of clowns, which I’ve always been so curious about and interested about.”

Between the show’s focus on clowns, the reemergence of Pennywise, and the invigorated memory of all those “evil clown” sightings from a few years back, expect lots and lots of clowns to be wandering your streets this Halloween.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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