‘American Horror Story: Cult’: Evan Peters On Cult Leaders And The Dangerous Allure Of Kai’s Blue Hair

American Horror Story: Cult has conjured up enough magic to make it the best season yet of the AHS franchise, and much of this has to do with Evan Peters’ beguiling performance as the cult leader known as Kai. The enigmatic Kai is both frightening and seductive, and his power over his followers only continues to grow, as is shown in Episode 5, when he is easily able to persuade cult members to take turns pointing a nail gun at the head of the member who is perceived to be the weakest link so they can see how many nails it will take to finish him off.

Evan Peter’s character, Kai, shows just how startlingly easy it is to take advantage of the naivety of individuals on American Horror Story: Cult, but how did Peters manage to capture so well the mindset of a vicious cult leader and what did he do to prepare for this role?

As can be imagined, much time was spent reading up on the phenomenon of cults, and Evan Peters has cited several books which helped to prepare him for Kai, according to Entertainment Weekly.

“I read a lot of books. I read Seductive Poison, which is about a survivor of the Jonestown Massacre. I read Combatting Cult Mind Control, which is a great book to help people get out of cults. I read a great book called The Art of Seduction.”

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Evan Peters has also said that there were numerous documentaries available to watch before beginning American Horror Story: Cult, with one of the best being Holy Hell. This 2016 documentary relates the story of Will Allen, who was once a member of the Buddhafield cult for 22 years.

“I watched as many documentaries as I could on cults — a great one to watch is Holy Hell on Netflix.”

Viewers may have noticed that many of those who have fallen under Kai’s spell on American Horror Story: Cult are those who you might think would ordinarily know better, but this isn’t necessarily the case, as Evan Peters attests.

“It’s usually people who are educated, oddly enough. And smart and with it. They want somebody to lead for them. So these leaders usually isolate everybody and keep information from the outside world out and the leader is always right. They find wounds and they find weaknesses and they cut them open and they can embarrass you and shame you. Then, on the other hand, they can be very sweet to you and motivate you but it’s all in the vein of their cause.”

'American Horror Story: Cult': Evan Peters and Jessica Lange at The Paley Center for Media's 32nd annual Paleyfest.
'American Horror Story: Cult': Evan Peters and Jessica Lange at The Paley Center for Media's 32nd annual Paleyfest. [Image by Mark Davis/Getty Images]

With Thrillist reporting that Evan Peters has called Kai “the most repulsive character I’ve had to play” on AHS, whose idea was it for his character to have blue hair on American Horror Story: Cult? It was reportedly Evan’s idea after he watched a film devoted to the Detroit punk scene.

“I remember seeing this movie called SLC Punk and I always associated Detroit with this punk rock type scene. There was something kind of scary but alluring and kind of underground about blue hair. I was also looking around me and seeing so many people with blue hair — I was shocked! I was like, this is some kind of sign and I just have to do it. Everybody has brown hair, blonde hair, and red hair. So it was kind of like, destroy what’s already kind of going on everywhere — what’s normal — and let’s create something new. That was the logic behind it.”

Now that Episode 5 has given us a closer look at Kai’s background and what may have helped to turn him into the sociopath that he is today, how far do you think Evan Peters’ character on American Horror Story: Cult will go in order to finally achieve the kind of power that he so desperately longs for?

[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]