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Series / American Horror Story: 1984

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1984 is the ninth season of Ryan Murphy's horror anthology American Horror Story, airing on FX in 2019.

Set in the fictional Camp Redwood in 1984, this season takes a stab at the slasher genre, picking up cues from hits of the genre like Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Sleepaway Camp with a group of camp counselors being terrorized by a masked killer.

1984 marks a significant change in personnel for the American Horror Story franchise, as it's the first to not feature series mainstays Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson. Nonetheless, returning cast members from past seasons include Emma Roberts, Billie Lourd, Cody Fern, Leslie Grossman, and John Carroll Lynch, while past Murphy collaborators Matthew Morrison (Glee) and Angelica Ross (Pose) make their AHS debuts in this season. DeRon Howard (Dear White People), Zach Villa (Bordertown), and Olympian skier Gus Kenworthy (in his acting debut) round out the main cast.

American Horror Story: 1984 contains examples of:

  • The '40s: Mr. Jingles/Benjamin's backstory in childhood takes place in 1948.
  • The '70s: The prologue and flashbacks are set in 1970, when Mr. Jingles committed his first massacre.
  • '70s Hair: A little bit of the long hair and shag cuts of the decade in the prologue and flashbacks.
  • The '80s: Set in 1984 specifically, and the released character teasers show them in exaggerated 80s fashions.
  • '80s Hair: Lots of feathered hairstyles, blowouts, and headbands among the main cast.
  • The New '10s: The setting for the final episode.
  • Actor Allusion: John Carroll Lynch plays a serial killer once more. Subverted. While his crimes in Vietnam aren't directly confirmed or denied, he's not responsible for the bloodbath in The '70s.
  • Alternate History: The show veers into this in "Episode 100", when the Night Stalker is helped and assisted by Ritcher before the latter turns him in 1985, and escapes prison five years later, which he never did in reality. It veers further in "The Lady in White" when the Night Stalker kicks off the 1989 massacre by slaughtering all of the members of Kajagoogoo, who in real life were still alive in 2019. By the finale, the Night Stalker himself is killed in 1989 and by 2019, he is still confined to the campgrounds (and killed repeatedly); in reality, Ramirez died in 2013 from lymphoma.
  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • Montana assures Brooke that she's not a lesbian, and she is very obviously interested in Trevor, but she does seem very intent on having Brooke join her at Camp Redwood, to the point of writing her phone number on Brooke's hand. Apparently confirmed in the second episode, where Brooke and Montana share a heart-to-heart and the latter kisses her.
    • Xavier professes that he's not gay, but had sex in gay porno, doesn't shower with the other men, and still notes the size of Trevor's junk.
  • And I Must Scream: As revealed in the season finale, Ramirez has been held prisoner by the Redwood ghosts and being constantly killed in gruesome ways to keep him from escaping the camp and trying to kill Benjamin's son.
    • In the same episode, it's shown that Margaret will suffer the same fate at the hands of her victims. And it couldn't happen to a more deserving person.
  • Anyone Can Die: Like many slasher movies that came out in the 80s, a lot of the characters get killed over the course of the season. Donna and Brooke are the only major characters alive by the end of the finale.
  • Artifact Title: Starting with "Episode 100", the timeframe jumps ahead to 1989. Aside from some scenes set in 1989, the majority of the finale takes place in 2019.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • With nearly a foot of height in the difference between 6'3" Mr. Jingles and 5'5" Margaret, it's difficult to believe the autopsies would match the story claimed.
    • Similarly, Margaret's self-inflicted stab wound framing Brooke would likely expose Margaret's story as false.
  • Artistic License – History: Kajagoogoo split up in 1985 in real life, but here they are depicted as still being together in 1989, when they are killed by Richard Ramirez.
  • Artistic License – Law:
    • It's highly unlikely police would allow Margaret's concert to go on while Camp Redwood is an active crime scene for multiple murders.
    • For that matter, Margaret's frame-up of Brooke for all the killings is ludicrously unbelievable. In addition to five of the main cast, other fatalities that night include Chef Bertie, the real Nurse Rita, the mechanic, the psychiatrist from the hospital, three Jingles impersonators, Blake the porn guy, and the orderly — all of these at or just outside Camp Redwood. With fourteen kills and two additional attacks in the area in a single night, and not including the time to build all the death traps, Brooke would have to be the most efficient serial killer in history — despite half the kills being of people far healthier. Not to mention how a law officer was shot to death and his car stolen from the scene after Brooke had been taken into custody, thus introducing a perfectly viable, albeit unknown, suspect for the massacre.
  • Artistic Licence Medicine: Donna helping Brooke to escape the lethal injection involves a lot of failures in its administration.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Xavier's pimp gets killed by Mr. Jingles after following him to the camp and attempting to blackmail him into "working" again.
    • Ray is decapitated after spending all of "Slashdance" sinking lower and lower into Dirty Coward territory.
    • Brooke's ex-fiancé. A man who so was completely insecure in himself due to always coming in second to her that he essentially got Brooke so isolated and alone that she pretended to be stupid and idiotic so he would stop. Not only that, but he then dated and almost married her afterward.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • At the end of "True Killers", the Night Stalker, who had been killed by Mr. Jingles, is resurrected, seemingly by Satan.
    • An episode later, Jingles himself is killed by Xavier, only for Ramirez to resurrect him on behalf of Satan.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: If you die on the campgrounds, you become a ghost doomed to haunt the lands. A plot point late in the season is that the ghosts there are trying to find a way to get off of the grounds. "Final Girl" sees this trope through to the end. Nobody breaks the curse on the campgrounds and the ghosts no longer care, as they've built a small community among themselves and gave up murdering innocent people entirely.
  • Been There, Shaped History: As we see in "Episode 100", Mr. Jingles was responsible for the Night Stalker's arrest, having tipped off the angry mob that hunted down and apprehended him.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Richard Ramirez and Margaret Booth, the former being Demoted to Dragon by the finale.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Chet rescues Ray from the Night Stalker.
    • Xavier and Trevor rescue Chet from one of Mr. Jingles's Vietnam traps, then Trevor manages to rush Mr. Jingles, saying only it's "his knife against my gun". It isn't actually Mr. Jingles, but the thought was still there.
    • Xavier in "Red Dawn" successfully kills Mr. Jingles who was in the process of strangling Margaret. Admittedly it was also justifiable retribution for Jingles trying to cook him alive, but it was definitely to save Margaret too. Unfortunately for Xavier, Margaret isn't exactly grateful, and naturally Jingles doesn't exactly stay dead...
  • Bittersweet Ending: Brooke, Donna, and Bobby Jr. all survive and live fulfilling lives, and the ghosts are able to form a community of close companions who keep Margaret and Ramirez from leaving. However, they themselves are cut off from the outside world save for the rare visitor, and they can't physically leave. While the story remains open for Bobby to go visit his family, the camp is still containing two people who really want him dead, so those may never happen.
  • Call-Back:
    • Just like in Murder House, Hotel and Roanoke, Camp Redwood is cursed so people who become ghosts there are unable to leave or move on.
    • In reference to Murder House, a human woman (Brooke) ends up having sex with a male ghost (Ray). Only this time, the sex between the two is consensual.
    • Briarcliff is listed among the properties that Margaret owns.
  • Casting Gag:
    • Chet, the embittered would-be Olympian, is played by Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy.
    • Much like Timothy Olyphant's role in A Perfect Getaway being an inversion of his role in Scream 2, the fate of Emma Roberts' character is an inversion of what happened to her in Scream 4. In that film, Jill was Evil All Along, and masterminded the killing spree so that she could become famous by playing the Final Girl like her cousin Sidney did, setting up Charlie and her boyfriend Trevor to take the fall. Here, however, Brooke genuinely is a Nice Girl, and she winds up taking the fall for the murders committed in the first five episodes, particularly those committed by Margaret, who walks away from it posing as the Final Girl (for the second time in her life) and parlays it into a successful career as a real estate mogul. Interestingly enough, while Roberts is best known as a blonde, both Jill and Brooke are brunettes, except Jill is a case of Dark Is Evil.
  • Cat Scare: Played for laughs and to help set the season's camp tone.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • "Mr. Jingles" ends with the two groups being cornered in separate cabins as Mr. Jingles and the Night Stalker force their way inside.
    • "Slashdance" ends with Montana revealing herself to be in league with the Night Stalker.
  • Continuity Snarl: With Hotel. Richard Ramirez was kept in Camp Redwood for 30 years, being repeatedly murdered by the ghosts to keep him from resurrecting. However, Ramirez was shown, as an older man, with his ghost visiting Hotel Cortez once every Devil's Night. Unless someone else was using Ramirez's alias and MO, this creates a continuity error. However, given this series isn't directly tied with Hotel aside from Ramirez, 1984, like Roanoke and Cult before, could be seen as a standalone entry in the franchise.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Brooke just happened to join the exact aerobics class in California that Montana, the sister of the best man murdered at Brooke's wedding teaches, and it's mentioned that before the wedding, Brooke lived in Florida. Montana herself lampshades how unlikely this was.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Revealed to be what the medical profession and police have done to Benjamin Richter, a.k.a. Mr. Jingles. He was never the killer; Margaret was. However, after years of being physically tortured by EST and emotionally tortured inside the prison hospital, he became a killer once Donna helped him escape.
  • Creepy Souvenir: Mr. Jingles is known for cutting an ear off of each of his victims.
  • The Croc Is Ticking: The counselors learn pretty quickly to run when they hear the sound of jingling keys, the trait that gave Serial Killer Mr. Jingles his nickname. Subverted on one occasion when it's actually Margaret's keys overheard as she's locking up for the night.
  • Damaged Soul: This apparently happens to ghosts on the camp who get murdered again and again. They'll come back, but they lose some part of their minds each time they are.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: Used by Donna Chambers to ambush and abduct the real Nurse Rita.
  • Death Is Cheap: The ghosts on the grounds can be killed, but they just come back. This allowed the writers to either allow a kill or just have some dark laughs about it. For example, in "Final Girl", Montana shoots herself in the head while Trevor slashes his own throat. While Bobby tries to run from it, the two re-emerge from the front door, almost expecting studio applause.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Brooke's emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of her fiancé is very obvious for all of us to see in our era, but back in the 70s into the 80s', various abuses of the sort were only just coming to light with many practitioners of psychiatry and psychology having difficulties exploring the topic or area at the time. Brooke may literally have had no idea what he was doing was completely wrong or if she just plain surrendered to end the tormentor's isolation.
  • Deliberate VHS Quality: The opening theme employs this, with a lot of 1980s imagery, keeping with the time period.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Benjamin kills himself on the campgrounds to give himself an edge against Ramirez in order to protect his son. Unfortunately for Ben, Ramirez realized that he can just leave the campgrounds and Ben won't be able to protect his son.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Brooke's fiancé. He kills Brooke's father, his best man, several of their guests, and himself at their wedding... solely because he thinks Brooke cheated on him.
    • Montana is in league with the Night Stalker because Brooke's fiancé, not even Brooke herself, killed her brother, believing that Brooke had slept with him and set off the whole thing.
    • Margaret's co-counselors teased her, so she brutally murdered them all. Benjamin AKA Mr. Jingles "failed" to "protect" her from them, so she meticulously framed him for the slaughter.
  • Distant Prologue: The season opens with Mr. Jingles's original massacre in 1970.
  • Domestic Abuse: Brooke's fiancé, of the controlling and manipulative type. When they were children he ignored her (and got the rest of the class to join in on ignoring her) simply because she got better grades than him, and asked her out after she started acting less intelligent than she is. As an adult he was extremely possessive and entitled, murdering Brooke's father, his own best friend, and himself in front of Brooke just because he suspected she had cheated on him.
  • Downer Ending: "Red Dawn". Nice Girl Brooke ends up killing Montana in self-defense, only for the arriving children seeing her commit the deed, giving her the image of a deranged killer. It's made worse when Margaret also survives and passes off as a victim of Brooke's rampage, thus pinning all the deaths on her. The ghosts of the counselors, such as Montana, decide to make the most of their new existences and kill anyone unlucky enough to cross their paths. And to top it all off, serial killers Richard Ramirez and Mr. Jingles escape the camp and are prepared to go on a brand new killing spree together in Los Angeles.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Brooke eventually gets this. After several years of hell, she ends the series happily married to a kind and successful doctor with two children, and able to finally put the pain behind her.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Brooke is introduced openly ogling Chet during an aerobics class. The viewer can hardly blame her.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Ramirez will kill all day and all night in the name of Satan, but he would never harm Billy Idol.
  • Evil Versus Evil: "True Killers" has a few.
    • The Night Stalker vs. Mr. Jingles.
    • Margaret, the real summer camp killer, vs. Mr. Jingles.
    • Montana, who set Ramirez upon them all in order to kill Brooke, vs. Donna, who released Mr. Jingles in order to study how he kills them all.
  • Eye Scream: How Mr. Jingles/Margaret kills one of his victims in the prologue.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: All over the place.
    • Chet saves Ray, nearly getting himself killed, after Ray abandoned him to his fate. Then Ray abandons him again when Chet falls into the pit.
    • Margaret is an absolute expert, doing this multiple times throughout the season. Notably, she does it to Xavier, who killed Mr. Jingles in an attempt to "save" Margaret, only to get killed himself by her.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The ghosts attempt to do this to Ramirez in "Final Girl" and are ultimately much more successful with Margaret. Knowing full well that the asshole will just get revived by Satan, they chose to take turns watching him, and each time he revives, they kill him again to keep him from escaping the campgrounds. Margaret also suffers from this, but even worse than Ramirez if that was possible. While Margaret died just before the wood chipper she was stuffed through spat her out on the other side of the fence, she's stuck on the campgrounds with her vengeful victims all more than willing to make her suffer for her crimes.
  • Final Girl:
    • Margaret and Brooke, both of the Deconstructed and Subverted variety.
      • Margaret stood out amongst her co-counselors as less hedonistic and promiscuous, being bullied by them for it. Margaret was the sole survivor of the 1970 massacre because she committed it and credits God for saving her.
      • Brooke is kind, intelligent, competent in escaping danger, and until "Red Dawn" virginal. She ends up being the only counselor left alive, even managing to kill Montana in self-defense. Unfortunately, the latter happens right in front of a school bus full of witnesses and Brooke is arrested and framed as the sole killer by Margaret.
    • The title of the season finale is literally "Final Girl". We learn there are two, Donna and Brooke. The former became the medical director of a mental asylum while the latter finally put the camp behind her and moved on to a happier life.
  • Foreshadowing: When Brooke insists that she never slept with Sam, Montana briefly looks annoyed. Turns out this is because Sam was Montana's brother, and Montana thinks that Brooke really did sleep with him, which led to his murder.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: How Brooke survives her first encounter with the Night Stalker.
  • The Fundamentalist: Margaret became one after surviving Mr. Jingles's original massacre.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Inverted and Subverted. Montana, Margaret, and Lavinia all have blonde hair and are also the extremely deranged female villains of the season. The first two initially seem like straight examples of the trope, only for their ugly sides to be revealed as the episodes go on. Played straight with Lorraine, who's kind, understanding, and accepting of Ben's dark past.
  • Hate Sink: Margaret. She is a vicious mass murderer who orchestrated two spree killings at the camp, framing an innocent victim for each of them. She then used the infamy of being a "victim" to unethically grow her fortune. She is narcissistic and vain, treating others around her with barely a hint of empathy or understanding. She's probably one of the vilest villains in the history of the series.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Including the Heel–Face Turn, a lot of characters had this:
    • Xavier is the "circular" variant. Started off as a heroic character who was actually killed after attempting to help save Margaret's life, then started helping Montana with killing innocent people on the campgrounds, then stops killing innocent people and works for a nobler cause in protecting Bobby Richter II.
    • Ray is also a circular version. He was a good, nice, heroic love interest for Brooke, then revealed himself to be a selfish - albeit accidental - killer who left Chet to die so he could save himself. However, after being beheaded by Jingles, he then turned back into the sympathetic character, being the only ghost who really objected to killing.
    • Ben/Mr. Jingles is perhaps the biggest example. Was initially a Creepy Good type character, although he couldn't protect Margaret from the Camp Redwood bullies. Being tortured turned him into a killer who even killed those who weren't attached to his torment. He then paired up with Ramirez, but after a while, decided he didn't want to kill anymore and betrayed Ramirez. He ran away to Alaska to live a normal life as a family man, but when Ramirez kills his wife and threatens his son, Ben sought vengeance on Ramirez and returned to killing, although this time as a protector of the innocent.
    • Trevor was one of the nicest, most competent camp staff members. But he still marries Margaret, who nearly killed him as well as everyone else in the camp, for her money. Then he decides he can't take it anymore and takes her to Camp Redwood to kill her. Instead, she kills him, and he returns to his nicer self to be Together in Death with Montana.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Donna/Rita appeared to be a nice enough nurse. Then was revealed to be a sadistic kidnapper and fake nurse who left Brooke trapped as killer-bait and helped Mr. Jingles escape the asylum. Then she felt bad for Brooke, saved her from being executed, and helped her close the door on Camp Redwood.
    • The ghosts of the camp decide they've had enough of killing innocent people and decide to use their un-lives to keep Ramirez and Margaret stuck to the camp grounds.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Mr. Jingles is so-called because his approach is heralded by the sound of keys jingling.
  • Historical Domain Character: Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker, appears throughout the season, where he tries to kill Brooke and everyone else for that matter.
  • Historical In-Joke: Mr. Jingles points out Ramirez to some bystanders, which leads to them forming an angry mob that chases and beats him up, before he gets arrested. Apart from Jingles' presence, the scene is a beat-for-beat reenactment of how the real Ramirez got captured.
  • Hollywood Board Games: Played for Laughs. In "Final Girl", the ghosts are so used to Spawn Camping Richard Ramírez, that they play board games, namely Pictionary, whenever his resurrection gets delayed for whatever reason.
  • Homage: The series carries its references and inspiration from the classics of the Slasher genre in its sleeve. The entire first half of the season (from episode 1 to 5) heavily references the original Friday the 13th (1980) plot, with a more mysterious killer and less fantastical elements.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!:
    • Trevor had a shot at stardom in one of Jane Fonda's workout videos, but was fired because his obvious asset was drawing attention away from her.
    • Chet tried out for the 1984 U.S. Olympics team, and was turned down due to failing his drug test.
  • Idiot Ball: Invoked by Blake when Xavier wonders how he tracked him down.
    Blake: Little piece of advice by the way: If you're trying to run away, don't leave a forwarding address for your paychecks at the aerobics studio. You are as dumb as you are pretty.
  • It Was Here, I Swear!: Brooke finds the hiker killed by Mr. Jingles, who then chases her. But by the time she gets to the others and brings them back, the hiker's body is gone.
  • Madonna-Whore Complex: Played with in all character archetypes, both men and women.
    • "Madonnas": Brooke, an apparently Too Good for This Sinful Earth virgin; Margaret, who abhors any sort of premarital sex or even a man touching a woman who is actually a vicious serial killer and the season's Big Bad; and Nurse Rita, aka Donna, who is convinced that porn creates serial killers.
    • "Whores": Montana, a Depraved Bisexual who Really Gets Around, including with Richard Ramirez, a serial killer, in order to harm Brooke; Trevor, who hooks up with Montana in addition to his main "asset" being his penis only to get in a very unlikely relationship with the "puritan" Margaret; and Xavier, who was raped/forced into doing porn by a Depraved Homosexual producer after becoming addicted to drugs. Chet could also count, since it's mentioned by Chef Birdie that in death, he pretty much sleeps with everyone at the camp.
  • Meaningful Name: The choice of 1984 is a reference to the story's timeframe of the 80s; but the choice to use slasher movies for the foundation also ties into the notion that the 80s were also the peak of serial murderers, referenced by the sheer number of them in this season alone between Ramirez, Margaret, Montana, and that other guy.
  • Murder Into Malevolence: Benjamin's mother massacring the 1948 staff inadvertently led to her spirit cursing the campgrounds. She still hates Benjamin with all of her unlife, to the point where most traces being his mother are no longer there.
  • Mythology Gag: Xavier and Montana having "met in traffic and dated for a hot second" is a reference to Billie Lourd's character Mallory from Apocalypse hitting Cody Fern's Michael with a car, and possibly also to the fact that Michael and Mallory were a fan-favorite pairing considered to have a shot at being canon at the time season 8 aired (though they ultimately weren't).
  • Near-Death Experience: Margaret claims to have had one when attacked by Mr. Jingles, leading to her religious conversion. Seems to have been subverted with the revelation that she cut off her own ear and committed the massacre.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: To the point where most of them couldn't even be considered "heroes". The medical professionals try to "help" Mr. Jingles, but do so using 1970s-era abusive and at times torturous techniques, such as electroshock therapy. The breaking part comes in because Jingles was never the killer; Margaret was. But they managed to turn him into a killer all on their own.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • Chet saves Ray's life, only for Ray to abandon him after he falls into a pit and get seriously injured.
    • In "Red Dawn," Xavier manages to wound Mr. Jingles with a bow and arrows just as he's about to kill Margaret, thus saving her. She wastes no time gutting him for his troubles.
    • Trevor finally cracks under the pressure of being married to Margaret and takes her to Camp Redwood for some old-fashioned justice. Margaret gets the upper hand and kills him.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Though not the focal point of the series, the show takes some jabs at breaking this. Despite the seventies and eighties being viewed by some as wonder years, the years had their problems as well. The police for the time were either woefully unequipped and untrained at dealing with prisoners, or simply didn't care. Also, serial killers were a lot more prominent in the 80s, though that may be media sensationalizing them. Problems then weren't much different either, as anybody struggling to find work in their professions can relate to Xavier's struggles.
  • Nothing but Hits: "Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell, "Private Eyes" by Hall & Oates, "White Wedding, Part I" by Billy Idol, "Jump" by The Pointer Sisters, and "Photograph" by Def Leppard all have significant appearances.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: While impaled and stuck in the trap, Chet tearfully pleads this to Ray, who abandons him, and later Xavier, who obliges and saves him.
  • Polyamory: 1970 Camp Redwood counselors Midge, Helen, and Eddie start the season being murdered mid-coitus, and are shown in both flashbacks and as ghosts together.
  • Psycho Knife Nut: A hunting knife is Mr. Jingles's weapon of choice, and Montana sleeps with a butterfly knife under her pillow.
  • Resurrected Murderer: Everyone who dies at Camp Redwood is resurrected as a ghost, which includes murderers like Montana, who was working with Richard Ramirez to kill Brooke. However, ghosts undergo a Face–Heel Turn due to how long they're alive, and it allows them to avoid it with Ramirez himself, repeatedly killing him in an almost endless loop to stop him from being able to resurrect (as they all were) and go to kill others.
  • Secret-Keeper: Benjamin's son Bobby becomes this after retreading the campgrounds in 2019. He's requested by Montana to tell the story of what happened up at the campgrounds and to hopefully share the stories of the ghosts and survivors of the incident so that the victims are not forgotten.
  • Sequel Escalation: As subsequent massacres occur at Camp Redwood, more and more killers get involved. By the time 1989 rolls around there are at least five, and possibly many more (just how many ghosts have followed Montana's lead?).
  • Serial Killer:
    • In addition to the show's original antagonist "Mr. Jingles", real-life serial killer Richard Ramirez makes an appearance; a close encounter with him drives Brooke to join the others at Camp Redwood in the hopes of getting away from his hunting grounds. He follows her there.
    • Also revealed to be true of Margaret, the real culprit in the 1970 "Mr. Jingles" killings, and of Donna's father, who admitted to having been one for decades before killing himself in front of Donna.
    • Late in the season, we meet Bruce, a hitchhiker who kills the women who pick him up.
  • Shout-Out: As to be expected from an American Horror Story season:
    • The setting itself, Camp Redwood, follows in the tradition of Camp Crystal Lake from Friday the 13th and Camp Arawak from Sleepaway Camp.
    • The murderer Mr. Jingles escapes from a mental institution in the middle of a rainy night, just like Michael Myers.
    • The "Camp Redwood" teaser features a sequence reminiscent of the closing shot of Friday the 13th.
    • Musical stings similar to the ones heard throughout the Friday the 13th franchise (chee-chee-chee, ah-ah-ah) can be heard in the "Top Bunk" teaser.
    • The "Sheet" teaser features a kill seemingly inspired from Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers and the IT mini-series.
    • The "Shower" teaser is likely inspired by Psycho.
    • The official season poster is reminiscent of slasher movie posters in general, but also the "Here's Johnny!" scene in the The Shining.
    • The voyeurism of Xavier's pimp is a Spear Counterpart spin on the shower-peeping scene from Porky's, except that it's not the peeper's penis that's stuck through the spy hole, but the spike on which he gets Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.
    • Though it may be unintentional, Xavier bears a very strong aesthetic resemblance to George Michael.
    • The 1984 era storyline is light on supernatural elements until the arc's end in "Red Dawn", after which they are front and center. This mimics the Friday the 13th series, where the first installment only includes faint hints at supernatural happenings, but subsequent movies rely more and more on them. The Friday the 13th connection is further underlined with the Camp Golden Star massacre in 1948, which closely mirrors the backstory and slaughter in the original Friday the 13th movie.
  • Shown Their Work: The scene depicting Richard Ramirez's capture and arrest plays out more or less how it did in real life, though obviously it was not Jingles who tipped the mob off.
  • Skinny Dipping: Montana and Trevor do this at one point in the premiere, until she gets spooked by seeing a car in the distance.
  • Slasher: The first season of the show to overtly tackle this subgenre.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Murphy's Scream Queens, which was a horror-comedy take on the slasher. It was rumored in some spaces that a hypothetical third season of that show would have followed the characters to a summer camp setting, but it ultimately never materialized.
  • Synthwave: This season's iteration of the theme tune is handled in the fashion, complete with retro visuals evocative of the 1980s.
  • Time Skip: Episode 6 jumps forward to 1985, and subsequently to 1989, though there are still scenes set in 1984. The final episode takes place in 2019.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: Camp Redwood was the site of a grisly mass killing. The perpetrator of this is known as Mr. Jingles.
  • Troperiffic: Deliberately plays upon the tropes of slasher films.
  • Villain Team-Up:
    • At the end of "Red Dawn", Richard Ramirez and Mr. Jingles decide to form a serial killer duo and begin their killing frenzy in Los Angeles. By the next episode, however, this partnership falls apart due to Jingles getting sick of the killing.
    • During the last episodes of the season, Ramirez, Bruce, and Margaret team up to slaughter everyone at the Redwood festival.
  • Wedding Smashers: Brooke's wedding. Her fiancé kills his best man, Brooke's father, several guests, and then himself solely for thinking she had cheated on him and was no longer a virgin.
  • Wham Episode: "Red Dawn." Chet and Xavier are murdered by Margaret, the latter of whom mortally wounding Mr. Jingles before his death. Montana and Brooke confront each other and get into a vicious fight that ends with Brooke killing Montana in front of several schoolchildren. Margaret wounds herself and frames Brooke for the massacre, getting away scot-free. Meanwhile, Ramirez convinces a dying Mr. Jingles to serve Satan, and he's promptly resurrected, with the final shot revealing that they intend on conducting a massacre of their own.
  • Wham Line:
    • "Wait, I don't die here!" Spoken by Jonas, it appears to confirm that he is a ghost with at least some foreknowledge of what is going to happen, or at least what is meant to happen. He states later that as a ghost, you start losing memory as time goes on.
    • "Why the hell haven't you killed her yet?" Asked by Montana to Ramirez.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The shot of Jonas's camp ID card, which confirms that something supernatural is happening at Camp Redwood, as he hasn't aged since 1970, when he was a camp counsellor.
    • At the end of "Slashdance", Montana is confronted by Richard Ramirez, only for the two of them to start passionately kissing.
  • Workout Fanservice: The series trailer has such a scene of the main characters in an aerobics class together.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Montana expresses the opinion that Margaret would be much less high-strung if she got laid.


Video Example(s):


American Horror Story: 1984

1984 is the ninth season of Ryan Murphy's horror anthology American Horror Story, airing on FX in 2019. Set at the fictional Camp Redwood in 1984, this season takes a stab at the slasher genre, picking up cues from hits of the genre like Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Sleepaway Camp with a group of camp counselors being terrorized by a masked killer.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / SlasherMovie

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