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AHS: 1984 (2019) Trailer Review

Here it finally is! After months of beautifully shot teasers, we finally have our official first trailer for the ninth season of American Horror Story (subtitled: 1984). It seems that Ryan Murphy has finally realised that there is now a universal interest in the 1980’s, although arguably even that obsession is now nearing its end. As a past fan of the show, I can happily state that I found this trailer to be the weakest we have ever had. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that this trailer doesn’t feel like it belongs to AHS at all.

The trailer opens with a shot of two campers engaging in some late night activity, before being brutally murdered by a dark and faceless figure. The music stings with an electric guitar riff and then we are suddenly transported to a 1980’s exercise video, which sees all of our core characters sporting skin-tight lycra and big Moonlighting hair. And already we see one of the major issues with this season, that it is completely devoid of the true AHS legends.

Nowhere can you see a confused looking Evan Peters, nowhere is there a screaming/weeping Sarah Paulson, there’s not even a brief glimpse at a camp Denis O’Hare. Making this season feel already so alienated from the rest of the show. Even the glimpses we get of Emma Roberts, Billie Lourde and Cody Fern aren’t really enough to excite, for they simply look like the cast of a new show, yet another Ryan Murphy creation flooded with gay stereotypes and fast-paced comebacks.

It is actually Fern’s character who announces that he has been hired to work at Camp Redwood for the summer, prompting everyone to tag along for some 80’s fun (which basically means weed and questionable sex). At the camp we also get a look at Leslie Grossman’s new character, who looks every bit a sign of the time period as everyone else. If anything, I can already say that each characters looks amazing, and the setting is one I have hoped for (well I did back when I actually still really liked the show), so there is enough to entice me. At least until the next shot.

For after seeing the sun-drenched waters of Camp Redwood, we then find ourselves outside a mental institute, in a scene that is almost exactly the same as that from John Carpenter’s Halloween, down to the patients running wild in the storm. And this is where my expectations drop once again. I have always liked how the show has referenced or alluded to other famous horror icons, however I dislike when these allusions are so on the nose! It even seems that this season will be giving us its own Doctor Loomis stand-in, which again gives me the most unsettling case of déjà vu. But if there’s one thing worse than this, it’s the fact that the killer is called Mr. Jingles, which sounds more like a pampered cat than it does a homicidal maniac. I also take issue that so far the killer appears to simply be a man in a raincoat, which is actually insulting when you consider the far more inventive killers seen in Scream Queens, which, overall, was a terrible show.

A part of me does wonder how they are going to drag such a simple story over ten episodes? Once again I reminded of Scream Queens, because that show had to result to some pretty stupid moments just to drag the season out. Of course, this is AHS, so maybe we will be getting more than just a single off-hand psychopath. And we better, because the camp setting is one that lends itself to so much more than just a crazy guy running around. We could have killer sentient plant life living in the forest, we could have a monster in the lake, we could even have a few mores ghosts running around. So let’s hope they have kept some of the best stuff hidden, because if not we may have another downer on our hands.

My final verdict is that the characters look great if somewhat over-the-top, and the setting is one with promise. But seeing how far the show has fallen since Coven (in my opinion the last solidly good season of the show) I haven’t got much expectation. And this weak trailer hasn’t helped…

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