One has to give it to Ryan Murphy when it comes to leaning into certain subjects and using them to promote a horror story, he’s not afraid to lean in face first and far enough to make his point felt. American Horror Story started off as a ghost story, to be certain, but it’s evolved in a manner that makes it clear that the subjects that have been taken on in recent years are as much about creating commentary on certain points in history as they are about scaring the audience, as they tend to enjoy.
In this new season, however, one can easily see that the story had jumped back in time to the early 80s when life in the big city wasn’t all that great for homosexual men as a killer on the loose begins to target gay men and forces a wave of panic to form quickly as the cops don’t appear to care and the rest of the city might as well be immune to the horror that’s going on.
It does feel, initially, that Murphy is doing what he can to raise awareness of the issues that were occurring back in this era, but at the same time, the story feels as though it might be one of those that will move in several different directions before tying everything together in some macabre manner near the end of the season.
The onset of a deadly, mutating disease and the panic and fear felt by the gay community in NYC are obvious building blocks that are meant to convey the terror in this story.
The two issues don’t appear to have a lot to do with each other at the moment, other than the fact that they’re being presented in the same show as of now. But there’s bound to be a stronger link shown at some point since it does feel as though this season might link the threat to the community and the virus in a very meaningful manner.
In the meantime, the buildup of the terror that is assailing the community also plays upon the fact that there is a great deal of disharmony in the city when it comes to gay men, and there might even be a few divisions in the gay community as well since it doesn’t appear that much unites the men other than the desire to be who they are and the lifestyle that they choose.
While it’s not evil in a pronounced manner, it’s not innocent either since, like any other community, there are elements within the gay community that are positive and uplifting, and then there are those that are decadent and want the right to live as they desire while straying from the common laws that apply to everyone.
Seeing that few, if any, cisgender people care about the plight of gay men feels kind of over the top but also a little too accurate.
It’s very easy to see that the issue facing gay men in this season thus far is something that many might agree is felt today, but the difference is that in the current era, it’s easy to dispute such a claim since a lot of folks would rather allow people to live as they want.
Back in the 80s, however, life for gay men wasn’t the same as it is today, and the fact that anyone would hide who they are isn’t out of bounds since it happened more often than people like to think about. But the fact that the cops don’t appear to believe one of the main characters, Adam, when he states that there’s a killer on the loose is very telling since it was often seen that people didn’t embrace homosexuality as they do today.
The fact that one of the main characters hides who he is and what he’s all about is saddening in a way, but it’s also a matter of social preservation. It’s not hard to see how his partner can grow frustrated at this development since it means denying someone he loves when the moment isn’t right to make it known who he really is.
It kind of feels as though AHS has been stuck in the past for the last few seasons.
The show has managed to take the audience into the future, but it’s been rather bleak, and in Double Feature, it did keep things in the present for the first portion, but it delved back into the past once again to play upon the idea that aliens were colluding with the US government to create a type of creature that would be perfect. For whatever reason, though, the past appears to be a favored tool of AHS and is being used again and again in various eras that people may or may not remember.
There’s also the feeling that AHS has a definite agenda, but that could be a matter of perspective.
Looking at this story from one perspective and trying to judge it for the content doesn’t sound fair, so it’s necessary to look at it from multiple angles. But still, there does appear to be something that the show is trying to say.
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