This season of American Horror Story has given us a lot to think about. Why do Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk love scary clowns so much? Who exactly is in the titular cult? But most importantly, which one of them is the massive Watchmen fan? If you've been watching this season you may have noticed a couple of nods to the seminal classic comic book by Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore, and like us you're probably wondering what on Earth it could all mean?
For those of you who don't know (but, come on, who are you?), Watchmen was released in 1986 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest comics ever made. Telling the story of an alt-universe reality where superheroes are part and parcel of everyday life until they're banned by President Nixon, who's elected for a never-ending term after winning the Vietnam War due to a huge naked blue man named Dr. Manhattan. If that sounds slightly ridiculous, it's because it's impossible to compress Watchmen into a paragraph. But needless to say it changed the landscape of the medium forever and is still lauded as a formative moment in modern comics.
So what does this complex comic classic have to do with American Horror Story: Cult? Well, at the moment it seems like for some reason the creators are paying homage to Watchmen in little nods peppered throughout the show. Ally and Ivy's son shares his name with Ozymandias, arguably the most important character in Watchmen. He's a cultural touchstone so strong that for many of us, when we heard little Ozy's name Watchmen was the first thing we thought of rather than the pair's namesake, a pharaoh immortalized in a Byron sonnet.
The other main nod is the bloodied smiley face that is cropping up every episode which is almost identical to Watchmen's iconic logo, a bloodied smiley face pin owned by the Comedian. So why are AHS leaning into these not so veiled references? Probably because the themes this season are heavily reflected in the seminal comic. Kai's mission to unite the world through fear is the exact same one that--without going into spoiler territory--the books big bad is driven by. And Watchmen's Rorschach is a warning tale about where Ally's descent into lonely vigilantism could lead her.
Had you noticed these references? Are we lost in the proverbial sauce? Do you think Watchmen is overrated? Let us know in the comments!
Images: Fox, DC
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