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American Horror Story: NYC Episode 2 Has Fans Seeing Shades Of Al Pacino's Cruising

In September of 2022, some of the first key details about "American Horror Story" Season 11 became public, including its full title, "American Horror Story: NYC." Additionally, fans learned at that point in time the names of its core cast members, including Zachary Quinto, Billie Lourd, Sandra Bernhard, and Patti LuPone, among others. Between then and its premiere, however, some fans felt apprehensive about "AHS: NYC," cataloging what they perceived to be signs that the season may have been rushed or might otherwise be lacking.

The first two episodes of "AHS: NYC" aired on October 19, less than a month after the first info drop about the season, giving viewers their first taste of showrunner Ryan Murphy's take on its titular New York City setting. In addition to a couple of other sources of terror, "AHS: NY" Episode 1 introduces a mysterious serial killer known thus far only as Big Daddy, whose victims seem to exclusively consist of LGBTQI+ men.

This character's depiction and other aspects of Episode 2 ended up feeling familiar to a number of viewers, who agreed online that certain elements of the new "American Horror Story" season remind them of the 1980 Al Pacino drama "Cruising."

Fans think Cruising directly inspired American Horror Story: NYC

At one point in "American Horror Story: NYC" Episode 2, Adam (Charlie Carver) ends up in jail, where a man outfitted in a jockstrap slaps him. In a Reddit discussion thread about the episode, one user questioned the purpose of this scene. In response, user notaveragehuman31 explained that they recognized it as a recreation of a moment from an Al Pacino movie, which another commenter specified to be "Cruising."

User violetharley then pointed out some more similarities between "AHS: NYC" Episode 2 and "Cruising" in a subsequent comment. "So far this episode is almost identical to it. Handkerchief code, gay male serial killer, leather bars, a cop who needs to go undercover in said leather bars to find the killer, a killer who speaks and says odd things that remain an enigma ('You made me do that' in Cruising, 'Thank you for serving' here), body parts floating up in the river, and more," they wrote.

On Twitter too, plenty users noted the similarities between the two works, like @EHGSuperstar who ended his Tweet about them with a disappointed emoji. In fact, some accounts, like @ahszone, drew attention to the influence of "Cruising" on "AHS: NYC" prior even to its premiere.

Presumably Murphy's intent is not to simply remake "Cruising," but put his own spin on classic material. How that might play out may only become apparent as the season continues.