Hopping on the ’80s-Themed Bandwagon

by The Cowl Editor on October 3, 2019

Arts & Entertainment

American Horror Story: 1984

by Julia Vaccarella ’20 A&E Staff

Although the original cast of American Horror Story is largely absent, FX’s original series has returned once again for another season. The show has come a long way from its first season, subtitled Murder House. With a brand-new plot and never before seen characters, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s anthology series is now running its ninth season. For its new season, titled American Horror Story: 1984, the show jumps on the ’80s bandwagon of nostalgia.

The theme for this season and the fact that American Horror Story is in the midst of running its ninth installment has played a part in influencing the members of the current cast. In fact, the show has also already been renewed for a season 10. According to an article published in The Wrap, “Apart from a few familiar faces like Emma Roberts, Cody Fern, Leslie Grossman, and Billie Lourd, the stars of American Horror Story: 1984 are mostly newcomers to the FX anthology series. And noticeably absent from the announced cast for season nine are several staples of the franchise, including Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters.” 


This past summer, Netflix released its much anticipated third season of Stranger Things. Filled with references to the time period, audiences of varying ages were exposed to ‘80s trends from product placements, to music, to fashion. Furthermore, the tropes of the 1980s have become somewhat of their own genre in entertainment. 

In addition to Stranger Things, shows like The Goldbergs and The Carrie Diaries, among many others, illustrate the acclaim for the trends of that decade within television. Accordingly, the retro vibe appeals to individuals who lived through the ‘80s as well as those who were not yet born. 

As for the American Horror Story franchise, the show has covered a wide array of time periods in its past seasons since the focus of the show changes with every installment. In its previous seasons, American Horror Story has integrated characters from decades that range from the 1930s to the 1960s. Furthermore, the show has also focused on the present-day. Last season, Murphy even decided to do a crossover with the plot and characters of previous seasons. 

“This well-stocked arsenal of archetypal characters should give Murphy plenty of opportunities to play with genre conventions… 1984’s debut feels like a turning point,” says Laura Bradley of Vanity Fair. As with any decade, so much historical significance can be included in just a few hour-long episodes. 

It is evident from the first few episodes of the new season of American Horror Story that 1984 is expanding upon the slasher theme that is characteristic of many movies of the 1980s. With the setting of the show concentrated at a summer camp with a tragic backstory, there are many different angles that the creators could end up taking in order to attract the show’s audience.