Many people have never heard of trypophobia — but the makers of the show American Horror Story certainly have.
The phobia, which is not an official diagnosis from the American Psychiatric Association, is an intense revulsion at the sight of holes in an irregular pattern, and AHS seems keen to freak out anyone who has it with its new ad campaign.
Or at least, that’s what trypophobia sufferers think. Several have taken to Twitter recently to rage against the show for triggering their phobia, calling AHS: Cult’s new promos ‘disgusting and irresponsible’.
Freaky: Ads for the new season of American Horror Story: Cult feature hole imagery
Yikes: Several of the print ads and commercials show women with holes in their bodies
Just, ew: People with trypophobia, an intense revulsion to patterns of holes, are sharing their disgust
Still learning: Trypophobia is not yet recognized by the American Psychiatric Association but has been the subject of scientific studies
Doctors and scientists are still studying trypophobia, and it has not yet been added to the DSM (the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual).
However, those who say they have it feel anxiety and intense feelings of revulsion at the sight of holes or bumps that are laid out in an irregular pattern.
Unfortunately for them, nearly all of the promotional artwork for season seven — called American Horror Story: Cult — features hole patterns.
In a poster released last month, a blue-haired woman is facing the camera with her eyes closed and her mouth open. Her tongue, which is sticking out and pointing upward, is dotted with tiny holes that puncture all the way through.
TRYPOPHOBIA SUFFERERS REACT
Another poster features a model missing most of her scalp, revealing a holey beehive underneath.
A third shows a blue face pockmarked with circular indentations, and a fourth features a creepy model who appears to be bathing in honey on a giant beehive, her skin covered in deep, dark holes.
TV ads for the show, which premieres September 5, have similar imagery, which has triggered trypophobia sufferers.
‘To @Ofcom @FOXtvUK have just aired a promo for @AHSFX deliberately designed to trigger trypophobia. Disgusting and irresponsible,’ wrote one British viewer who saw a TV ad.
Switching channels: While some fans have threatened not to watch the show, others have stated simply that they just can’t
Warning: A character on the show will suffer from trypopobia this season, hence the imagery
The story: Sarah Paulson’s character is plagued by her phobia, as well as several others
Problems: She also suffers from oulrophobia (fear of clowns) and hemophobia (fear of blood)
Not just afraid: Phobias are irrational feelings of fear, disgust, and anxiety that have a biological component
‘If you have trypophobia you need to avoid the new American Horror Story season 7 imagery at all costs… trust,’ wrote another, while one more added: ‘It makes my skin crawl.’
Many have even threatened not to watch the show, indicating that the imagery is just too much.
According to BuzzFeed and Horror Freak News, though, the holes aren’t entirely gratuitous. The upcoming season will deal with a character (Amy, played by Sarah Paulson) coping with trypophobia.
She also has coulrophobia (fear of clowns) and hemophobia (fear of blood).