American Horror Story is back, and the blood is already flowing. The ninth season of Ryan Murphy's ongoing anthology series rolls back the timeline to the 1980s when Stephen King horror and slasher flicks were all the rage. Since Stranger Things has already cornered the nostalgic King market, and King himself has cornered his own modern-day market, that leaves Murphy with Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street to draw from. The AHS: 1984 Episode 2 promo promises that the first deluge of blood was only the beginning.
After two seasons of aiming for a more political angle with AHS: Cult in Season 7 and AHS: Apocalypse in Season 8, American Horror Story Season 9 has gone in the other direction. The very memorably subtitled "1984" is not just the era the season is set in. It's the season's entire MO.
Forget the problems of the present; forget the complications of the 21st century. Let's all go back to a time when the only way to call for help was a payphone a mile down the road. The 1980s were when everyone could enjoy watching teens be murdered for giving in to their lustful urges without thinking about the puritanical overtones. Above all, the slasher films of the era were hilarious when they weren't pouring buckets of blood everywhere. (Though sometimes they were funny then too.) That fun is going to get deadlier as the season goes on.
Check out the trailer:
The title for American Horror Story Season 9, Episode 2 is, appropriately, the name of the season's main murderer: "Mr. Jingles." As always, the synopsis for next week is less than helpful:
Darkness descends upon the camp. Although it’s lights out, evil has no curfew.
AHS: 1984 does have some other significant breakaways from the usual Murphy choices. For one thing, Emma Roberts is finally playing against her regularly scheduled witchy type, with her ingenue Brooke, all pastels and virginal sighs. For another, there's no sign of Murphy muse Sarah Paulson, though rumor has it she will turn up later on. Instead, Murphy has brought along Angelica Ross, who just ended her run on Pose, and Matthew Morrison, who was one of Murphy's earliest players in Glee.
There are many questions this season will have to answer. Was the choice to get away from the 1984 Olympics was the right one since it meant deadly ends for quite a few cast members in the premiere? Who is the "dead hiker," and is he really deceased? Who was it who attacked Brooke? Considering both were obsessed with her super significant ring, could this be an ex? And if so, does that mean Brooke's virginal act is all for show?
Also, and mostly for my own edification, what do we think Chet's (Gus Kenworthy) Olympic sport was that he failed to make the team? In real life, Kenworthy is a freestyle skier. But these are the Summer Olympics, not the winter ones (which, in 1984, were held months prior in Sarajevo). Curiouser and curiouser.
AHS: 1984 airs on Wednesdays on FX at 10 p.m. ET.