If You Think You Know What American Horror Story: 1984 Is About, Think Again

Photo: Courtesy of Frank Ockenfels/FX .
Ryan Murphy loves to draw out the suspense in his on-screen storytelling, and also in the way he leaks tiny details about American Horror Story. That is why it's a pretty good bet that whatever guesses we have about season 9 so far are not the whole picture. We're going to have to wait (impatiently!) until this fall for that.
In an interview with The Wrap, AHS executive producer Tim Minear discussed our collective assumptions about AHS: 1984, without exactly confirming or denying them.
“I will tell you nothing, except that I think it’s awesome," Minear said. “I think it’s gonna be really scary but a lot of fun, like it always is. And that if you have a taste for ’80s horror, you’re in for a treat.”
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Based on the AHS season 9 teaser video Murphy posted in April, '80s slasher horror films was everyone's best guess on the theme. The girl running through the woods, the villain stabbing his knife through a door, even the font treatment of the title, are all reminiscent of that era's scary movies, such as Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween. But when The Wrap asked Minear if this homage to '80s slasher films was thanks to the renewed popularity of Halloween and its ilk, he made us think twice.
"Generally, Ryan is ahead of the zeitgeist as opposed to following it,” Minear said. “So what I would say is that this has been an area that Ryan has talked about since I’ve known him and it’s just a real sweet spot for him. And I think it was time for him to do it.”
Murphy has actually been there, done that, when it comes to straight-up homages to slasher films. The campy Carver plot line of Nip/Tuck was nonstop '80s horror tropes before we even knew we wanted such a thing. While he does enjoy making variations on a theme, Ryan Murphy does not repeat himself.
If we might venture another guess, let's focus on Minear's phrase "it was time for him to do it." Of all the years in the '80s to use for the title, Murphy chose 1984. Could this be a reference to George Orwell's novel 1984? It would be pretty genius to link that dark look at a potential totalitarian future with nostalgia for low-tech horror. In President Donald Trump's and Mark Zuckerberg's America, the time is probably right for that.
There's also the fact that slasher movies turned the fear of women victims, cornered and powerless in the face of a man, into a spectacle for our entertainment. So often, only the girls who were virgins survived this attack. In this era of angry male terrorists and women fighting back against sexual predators, the time would most certainly be right to create a different iteration of those stories.
And if all of the above exists in one limited series? Cue our own blood-curdling screams.
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