Ryan Murphy has always made it abundantly clear to viewers that every season of American Horror Story is connected to the other in some unique way. At times, this has involved subtle nods to former locations or characters, while other times the crossovers have been painstakingly obvious. (Apocalypse, in particular, brought back iconic characters from both Murder House and Coven.) But will Season 9 follow a similar pattern or prove to be the exception to the rule? Is AHS: 1984 connected to other seasons? There’s still plenty of time for new plot details and other surprise cameos to come out of the woodwork, but as it stands thus far, AHS: 1984 has only shown one obvious connection to a past season — or more specifically, a past character.
In general, the ‘80s have been an untapped era in the anthology series. Murder House involved a few flashbacks to that time period (Constance killed her husband and the maid, Moria, in 1983), but considering that the central focus of the story will take place out in the wilderness at Camp Redwood, it would be understandably difficult to tie too many aspects of Murder House into the plot. Though it does help that Camp Redwood is located only a few hours away from Los Angeles, which is where Murder House is located, so don’t give up on that hope just yet. However, that wasn’t the only possible crossover potential to exist in the LA area. The Hotel Cortez is from that region as well and given the brief cameo that occurred both at the beginning and end of the episode, it’s safe to say that the storylines from season 5 and season 9 are already starting to intertwine.
This is, of course, a reference to the Night Stalker, who attacked Emma Roberts’ character Brooke at the start of the episode and has continued to keep tabs on her ever since. Based on an actual serial killer whose real name was Richard Ramirez, he was ultimately convicted of 13 counts of murder in 1989, which means in the year 1984 he was still at large and in the midst of a killing rampage throughout the city of Los Angeles. Fans of AHS may recognize the name because the Night Stalker popped up in Hotel in ghost form for a brief period of time for Mr. March’s Devil’s Night.
This time around he’s portrayed by Zach Villa, but don’t let the casting change-up fool you. This still signifies that 1984 is connected to the Hotel world. Whether the crossover ends there or leads to the appearance of other recognizable characters remains to be seen, but it definitely bodes well for the possibility. Between this guy and Mr. Jingles, though, we’re all going to end up sleeping with one eye open for most of the season.