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American Horror Story 1984 Trailer Features Deranged Killer, Incredible Costumes

The trailer for American Horror Story: 1984 wants to return you to a time when the spandex was brightly-colored, and the slashers were masked.

A new spot for the upcoming ninth season of the horror anthology series dropped today, and it is pure, distilled '80s. We have our big hair, our day-glo duds, our aerobics classes, our secluded summer camp filled with randy teenagers, and our killer with a name ripped straight from the cover of one of those VHS videocarts that gave you nightmares as a kid: "Mr. Jingles."

The rapidly-edited spot leans heavily on brief flashes of terrifying imagery, but it helps us to piece together the plot of the season — although, if you have ever watched even one '80s slasher movie, you'll pretty much have a solid idea of what AHS: 1984 has to offer. 

The trailer opens with a pair of teen girls getting ready for a heavy makeout session (with one offering up what must have been the '80s motto, "If it feels good, go with it"), which is interrupted by the arrival of a black-clad intruder with an impressive set of keys (keys that are... jingling) attached to his getup. (Or maybe it's her getup... slasher flicks have served up that fakeout more than once.) 

After the title card, we see brief flashes of bloody carnage juxtaposed with the image of that aerobics class in full swing, led by a flamboyant youth portrayed by Cody Fern (House of Cards). We then see him after class, informing a room full of good-looking, Spandex-clad teens (including one named Brooke, portrayed by AHS veteran Emma Roberts) that he's been offered a job as a counselor at a summer camp, and hey, they should all come! 

Roberts' character is hesitant, and a series of quick shots fill us in as to why: she apparently once survived a brutal attack by a masked killer, and as the next sequence makes clear, there happens to be one of those currently on the loose.

We see the gang heading down the road in a van, with Fern's character engaging in a bit of gossip. "My cousin told me," he says, "that the dude they're looking for slashed her throat!" Roberts' character inquires in a panic as to whether the cops are close to finding this dude, but then, there's an apparent run-in with an unseen party, whom the gang strike with their van.

The next scene shows the camp's medical staff attending to this person (only their hand is seen), as Roberts and Fern's characters try to explain what happened. Moving quickly on, we're introduced to the camp's Chef Bertie, who has "nothing but good memories about this place" (her statement is contrasted with an image of a hulking, dark figure dragging a bleeding corpse across the floor of one of the camp's dormitories). 

We then see a harried authority figure at what is presumably a mental institution receiving a visitor on a dark and rainy night, to whom he explains his predicament. "One of the patients broke out... Mr. Jingles," he says. (It's unclear if the moniker is due to that ginormous ring of keys he's apparently always lugging around, or if it's his actual surname... Bob Jingles, maybe, or Fred? We'll just have to wait to find out.)

A quick shot of a hooded Mr. Jingles wielding an eye-poppingly huge knife follows, and then we see the gang around the campfire, as the camp's nurse (Angelica Ross, Pose) explains that the camp is "the site of the worst summer massacre of all time." Fern's character, obviously aware of Brooke's previous encounter with a slash-y intruder, warns her off the topic: "I totally understand the tradition," he says, "but our friend Brooke here had it for real, and we're not in the mood for some ghost story."

The spot then hurtles to its conclusion with a series of lightning-fast shots of mayhem: breaking windows, giant knives, characters covered in blood, others wide-eyed and screaming. Finally, we get a shot of AHS: 1984's version of the iconic Crazy Ralph character from the Friday the 13th series, imparting the kind of wisdom that his inspiration is famous for: "You're all gonna die."

Well, in our humble opinion, the last several seasons of American Horror Story have been hit-or-miss, with a pronounced emphasis on the "miss" portion of that equation — but hoo boy, are we ever on board for this one. The production team obviously has a deep affinity for '80s slasher cinema, and if we know creator Ryan Murphy, he'll do his level best to turn the genre on its head while still paying homage in an earnest fashion. 

In addition to Roberts and Fern, veteran AHS players returning for this season include Billie Lourd, Leslie Grossman, and John Carroll Lynch (who memorably portrayed Twisty the Clown in the series fourth season). Joining the cast this time around alongside Ross are Matthew Morrison (Glee), DeRon Horton (Dear White People), Zach Villa (Shameless), and Olympic freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy.

We're of the firm opinion that hearkening back to the golden age of slasher flicks is a perfect strategy for fielding a standout season of American Horror Story, and we can't wait to see what weird twists and bloody delights Murphy and company have in store for us. Fortunately, we have a short wait to find out: AHS: 1984 makes its debut on FX on Wednesday, September 18.