Perhaps the only contemporary horror property as timely as The Purge franchise is Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale. (Anyone tempted to argue the show doesn't quablify as horror clearly hasn't experienced the extremes of showrunner Bruce Miller's series, based on the dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood.) As such, a group of women protesting an appearance by Mike Pence in Philadelphia yesterday donned the now-iconic red robes and white hats worn by the show's titular Handmaids. Many chanted: "This nightmare must end!"
The novel and series take place in a bleak future where biological devolution and an authoritarian regime have resulted in fertile women being sold into virtual slavery to the ruling elite. Today, it's regarded as a perfect allegory for a perceived war on reproductive rights, one that came on fast and suddenly once Trump took office. Pence has been a staunch pro-lifer his entire career, and the Trump administration has embraced many evangelical values in an attempt to retain core supporters. The fact that Trump is in the process of installing another Supreme Court justice, the second of his 2-year presidency so far (potentially tipping the liberal/conservative balance for decades to come) adds urgency and legitimacy to the protestors' concerns.
The protest Monday coincides with a slight flurry in Handmaid news; be warned we may now be dipping our toes into Spoiler Territory! Though Season 2 concluded in June, the finale only aired in the UK last night. Even many staunch proponents of the show were shocked by a rape scene involving a main character, definitely a series low-point in terms of realistic and harrowing portrayals of violence against women-and that's really saying something. It also left the fate of series favorite Aunt Lydia (played by Ann Dowd) uncertain after she was stabbed in the back, figuratively and literally (though Dowd has already revealed her character's fate to The Daily Beast).
If you've yet to delve into The Handmaid's Tale, and you have the endurance for some serious emotional turmoil, you don't have to take my word that it's a worthwhile experience. Season 1 maintains a 95% Freshness Rating on Rotten Tomatoes with Season 2 just a hair shy at 92%. You'd need a wheelbarrow to transport the total number of Emmys accumulated by the series' cast and crew. Give the trailer and synopsis for Season 1 a look-see below:
"Based on the best-selling novel by Margaret Atwood, this series is set in Gilead, a totalitarian society in what used to be part of the United States. Gilead is ruled by a fundamentalist regime that treats women as property of the state, and is faced with environmental disasters and a plummeting birth rate. In a desperate attempt to repopulate a devastated world, the few remaining fertile women are forced into sexual servitude. One of these women, Offred, is determined to survive the terrifying world she lives in, and find the daughter that was taken from her."
Though Season 3 is a certainty, chances are it'll be a while before we see anything. If 2018 serves as a model, we'll get a trailer in January with an April 2019 premiere date. We'll definitely keep you posted as details emerge. As for Pence, he was in Philadelphia touting his administration's tax cuts before heading off to a fundraiser supporting Rep. Lou Barletta (who was also a target of The Handmaid protestors' ire). This news first appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.