American Horror Story: 1984 premieres on Wednesday night on FX sending the horror anthology series’ characters off to summer camp hell at Camp Redwood. To get fans hyped for the slasher-themed season, FX released a lot of teaser trailers for 1984, teasers that didn’t feature any of the main cast of the series but did feature plenty of death and terror as the mysterious Mr. Jingles slashed and stabbed and hacked his way through the unlucky campers. But what if those teasers weren’t just clever marketing and were, instead, a stealth prequel for the season?
The idea of the teasers being a prequel is one that has started popping up as we get closer to this week’s premiere. As Digital Spy explains, the series of teasers were part of a contest in which participants chose a winner among nine possible survivors for a chance for their own American Horror Story experience, but the teasers together tell an overall “horror movie” story. We see the campers arrive at camp and then get picked off one by one, week by week, until only The Platonic BFF character trope survived.
How that connects to the actual 1984 season is hinted at in the real season trailer. The camp nurse, played by Angelica Ross, tells the new counselors that the camp was the site of the worst summer massacre of all time. Series star Billie Lourd offered another clue when she told The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that that past massacre plays a part in 1984.
“It’s set outside of LA,” Lourd said. “So me and a bunch of my camp counselor friends — Gus Kenworthy, the epic skier, I’m in love with him, Cody Fern, Matthew Morrison from Glee, Leslie Grossman, my heart and soul — so all of us basically are people in LA, and we’re bored, we don’t want to be in LA anymore, and we go out to this camp in the middle of nowhere where a bunch of people were killed like 20 years ago, but we’re like hey, let’s go be camp counselors there, so we go and camp counsel there, and he comes back.”
Now, Lourd’s assertion that the massacre took place 20 years previously could throw things off a bit. The events in the teasers appear to take place more in 1974 than 1964 which would be the 20 year mark — the Ford F100 that we close in on during the first teaser is of a style that was made roughly between 1973 and 1977 — but it’s also possible that the previous massacre was only a decade in the past. That would line up with the look and feel of the teasers as well as still have enough time between the killings and the start of 1984 that many people would have forgotten about the massacre. After all, the early 1980s didn’t have the 24 hour news cycle or internet and social media that we have now.
If the teasers do constitute a prequel story, it will be the first time that American Horror Story has taken this approach to a season. It also provides viewers with a bit of an origin of sorts for Mr. Jingles. As we know from the official trailer, the killer broke out of the mental institution he was being held in and is ready to kill and menace campers once again.
What do you think? Do you think the teasers are a prequel or are they just clever marketing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
American Horror Story: 1984 premieres Wednesday, September 18th at 10/9c on FX.