All the Best, Most Important '80s References from 'American Horror Story: 1984'
Another year, another season of American Horror Story gracing us with its presence. This time around, the Ryan Murphy/Brad Falchuk-created series has dialed back the clock to the shlocky '80s for some slasher movie fun.
American Horror Story: 1984 follows a group of camp counselors as they fight for survival at a doomed summer camp. The ninth season of FX's hit anthology genre series boasts some familiar faces -- Emma Roberts, Cody Fern, Billie Lourd, and Leslie Grossman are all here. Sarah Paulson, unfortunately, is not. Some newbies like Glee's Matthew Morrison and real-life Olympian Gus Kenworthy, have joined the fray, as well, helping to give this season a fresh feel.
Much like previous AHS installments, there will be plenty of genre homages and Easter eggs to keep die-hard horror fans happy. Sure, it may be a fool's errand to keep track of all the retro goodies that pop up, but we're going to try anyway. So, with that said, here's a running tally of the best '80s references featured in American Horror Story: 1984.
Episode 1: "Camp Redwood"
View this post on Instagram
I am so excited to share with you the new AMERICAN HORROR STORY title sequence by our longtime collaborator Kyle Cooper and our new friend Corey Vega, who ignited this concept with an original “fan" cut he posted on Twitter after the 1984 season was announced. I liked it so much, I decided to bring him on board to work together with Kyle as they evolved the concept into something major. Congratulations Corey! 1980s horror never looked so good. @broadway1228
That opening credits sequence
For the past eight seasons, AHS has had an opening credits sequence set to the show's eerie, signature score. This time around, though, it looks as if Ryan Murphy and crew were inspired to switch things up. Instead of the usual montage of creepy, gothic imagery, AHS: 1984 is sporting a retro, lo-def, VHS-style sequence backed by some John Carpenter-style synths.
The montage features a whole slew of imagery conjuring up the decade of excess. You've got break-dancing, a Walkman, leg-warmers, some Atari video game goodness and, of course, a brief cameo of the Gipper himself, Ronald Reagan. Images of stabby violence are intercut giving the clip a slight snuff film vibe.
Obviously, this season has taken inspiration from the Friday the 13th movies. The title font, for instance, appears in a similar scrawl to the font that is featured in the Jason Voorhees-centered franchise. We'll talk more about those Jason movies, in a bit.
Crazy for aerobics
Aerobics was huge in the '80s, with the help of Jane Fonda's highly-successful workout videos. Perfect 10 Aerobics is the studio where we meet this season's core group of survivors. Xavier (Fern) is the instructor and Montana (Lourd), Brooke (Roberts), Chet (Kenworthy), and Ray (DeRon Horton) are his students.
The scene that introduces them all in Episode 1, titled "Camp Redwood," is a flatout nod to the 1985 aerobics-themed movie, Perfect, which starred John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis. The Jazzercise fashion and workout moves absolutely reek of what made the '80s so… '80s.
Something's up with Brooke
From being attacked by the Night Stalker, in a scene immediately following a conversation about his kills, to being attacked by campground psycho Mr. Jingles (John Carroll Lynch) to revealing the double murder and suicide her fiancé committed at the altar (instead of simply saying, "I do"), Brooke is like a magnet for this season’s madness.
Is she AHS: 1984's Final Girl? That's possible. And Roberts is definitely playing Brooke as an empathetic character worthy of a hero arc. But her bookish style and soft-spoken personality seem like a quiet homage to Sleepaway Camp's Angela (Felissa Rose). Spoiler: Angela definitely was not a good girl.
Richard Ramirez returns
For those not in the know, Richard Ramirez was a serial killer who terrorized Los Angeles from 1984 to 1985. He eventually took on the name "The Night Stalker," due to his modus operandi of climbing into open windows to brutally attack, rape, and murder unsuspecting victims.
This isn't the first time the Night Stalker has appeared in American Horror Story. The last time we saw him was in the AHS: Hotel episode "Devil's Night" in a scene that brought the ghosts of some of America's most infamous murderers to hang out at a quirky little dinner party. The Haunting of Hill House's Anthony Ruivivar played the killer in Hotel. In AHS: 1984, a younger actor named Zach Villa has taken on the role.
AHS gets campy
We mentioned the Friday the 13th movies above, and there is definitely a lot of that in AHS: 1984. You've got a group of attractive, stereotypically horny young people trapped at a secluded camp by a lake. All you need is a crazed, hard-to-stop killer stalking the grounds to really give the whole thing a Camp Crystal Lake vibe.
Added to the slasher mix is a nod to Sleepaway Camp -- we mentioned this above -- and there's even a Halloween nod thrown in for good measure. You see, Mr. Jingles is the killer who rampaged Camp Redwood in 1970, murdering folks and cutting off ears. He was eventually caught and thrown behind bars in a mental hospital.
Conveniently, he ends up breaking from captivity, much like Michael Myers did in Halloween, and heads back to the lake to finish what he started. But what do you suppose will happen when Mr. Jingles meets The Night Stalker? Is AHS: 1984 setting up a battle akin to Freddy vs. Jason? This is Ryan Murphy; anything is possible.
The 1984 Summer Olympics
Why even leave LA to become a camp counselor out in the woods? Sure, there's a serial killer breaking into women's bedrooms throughout the city. But, as Ray and Chet agree, the arrival of the Summer Olympics to the Southland is a worthy reason to hit the road, as well.
Ray seems to just want to avoid the traffic nightmare the big sporting event will cause but Chet's reasoning for avoiding the whole thing cuts a bit deeper. Turns out that Chet -- who, let's remember, is played by a real-life Olympic athlete -- has some bad blood with the spectacle given the fact that he was disqualified from competing for illicit drug use.
We get to see footage of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Episode 1, which means our heroes arrived at Camp Redwood on July 28. The clip sparks some pent-up roid rage in Chet, but it also leads to a contrasting scene that really sets the stage for things to come: Brooke is chased by Mr. Jingles as the athletes hand off the official torch used to kick off the games' opening ceremony.
Episode 2: "Mr. Jingles"
Where's, and we can't stress this enough, the beef?
In January of 1984, a simple ad campaign for the Wendy's fast-food chain hit the airwaves and almost immediately became a pop culture craze. The first commercial in the campaign starred an elderly woman named Clara Peller who demanded more meat in her burger, asking, "Where's the beef?"
The phrase caught on like wildfire, inspiring a whole slew of memorabilia. Peller's performance ended up spiking Wendy's annual revenue by 31 percent. Oh, and in Episode 2 of AHS: 1984, titled "Mr. Jingles," a brief snippet of the commercial appears on a television set in a Camp Redwood cabin.
Snooping, Porky's style
We might be reaching here, but we think there was a nod to Bob Clark's low brow classic, Porky's, in Episode 2 of AHS: 1984. A gay porn subplot was revealed, giving Xavier a backstory that involves a sugar daddy putting him in adult movies to help further his acting career.
At any rate, Xavier quickly turns the man's attention to Trevor's (Morrison) John Holmes-sized penis. Per Margaret's rules at Camp Redwood, the men must shower at night. This gives Xavier's sugar daddy the perfect opportunity to spy on the dudes through a hole in the wall as they get all lathered up. It's a scene that flips the script on the famous Porky's shower scene, where a bunch of horny college dudes peep on the girls in the school's shower room.
But this is American Horror Story. So, of course, in true slasher fashion, this shower scene ends with the sleazy dude getting a spike stabbed right through his face.
Episode 3: "Slashdance"
"Dude, what's your damage?"
In its second episode, AHS: 1984 really begins to build out the world and mythos of this season. Are things completely making sense yet? Absolutely not. But, by the looks of things, Camp Redwood and its neighboring towns are not exactly where you'd want to be at night.
With our heroes -- again, we're actually not too sure any of these characters qualify as "heroes," but let's just go with it for now -- separated into groups and Richard Ramirez and Mr. Jingles barreling down the doors of the respective cabins, it seems like their demise is right around the corner. Everyone ends up making their escapes, though. While it seems like Jingles may have gotten the upper hand on Xavier, Montana, and Mr. Morrison, the crew is foiled by a gang of townies out to wreak havoc -- all in the name of the ear-cutting murderer. Poetic, really, are the deaths of these doofuses. Because, like clockwork, the real Jingles shows up to get all murder-y on these copy-cats.
As he moves from his first kill to the second, his victim calls out, "Dude, what's your damage?" before getting sliced up. Yes, that's a nod to Heathers which is … interesting? The cult classic hit theaters in 1988, four years into the future. While that reference is an anachronism, it's still a worthy phrase for any pre-death soiree.
Camp Redwood, more like Camp Rambo
After Chet swooped in to help Ray escape the knife-wielding attack by Richard Ramirez, the duo ran from the cabin only to take a fall. Like, literally. Right into a spike-filled hole. Ray was lucky and didn't land on any of these Indiana Jones-style spears. Chet, on the other hand, got impaled in the shoulder. This, right here, is a punji pit. As Chet explains to Ray, the booby trapped hole was used in the Vietnam War as a method to trap an enemy. One wrong step and a soldier would fall through and land on one of the many spikes below.
Now, we all know Chet is a failed Olympic athlete and not a Vietnam war vet. So how does he know this? Rambo: First Blood, that's how. The first installment of the Rambo movie franchise hit theaters in 1982 and ushered in the trend of ultra-violent, gun-heavy action flicks of the '80s -- and Sylvester Stallone's ragey, glistening abs.
A little psychotic mind-hunting
There were a few twists revealed in this episode, one of which was the reveal that Nurse Rita is someone else entirely -- and she seems quite obsessed with fixing serial killers. You know, in the name of Science or something.
One week prior to all the sinister events that are playing out at Camp Redwood, Fake Nurse Rita took a trip to the mental hospital that kept Jingles locked up. During her conversation with the doctor, who met her unfortunate end in Episode 1 at the hands of the raincoat-wearing killer, Fake Rita mentions work she's done with Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, William Bonin (aka "The Freeway Killer), Patrick Kearney (aka "The Trashbag Killer"), and Robert Hansen (aka "The Butcher Baker"). Is this a shout-out to Netflix's hit true-crime series Mindhunter? That's no '80s reference, obviously, but the similarities to the plot of that series -- which follows FBI agents as they study serial killers -- and this storyline are hard to ignore.
At the very least, each of these murderers helped shape our understanding of serial killers as the 1980s progressed. And with The Night Stalker and Mr. Jingles roaming free, we suppose it was just a matter of time before Ryan Murphy dug into his bag of serial killing tricks to throw out a few notorious names just to remind viewers that, hey, this Richard Ramirez dude was real… and definitely not as sexy as AHS: 1984 is making him out to be.
Episode 4: "True Killers"
Sleepaway Camp Crystal Lake
Who didn't see this twist coming? Honestly, we referenced both Friday the 13th and Sleepaway Camp above, in earlier episodes. But in Episode 4, titled "True Killers," viewers finally get the truth behind Mr. Jingles' history of murder at Camp Redwood… and it's all based in lies.
This reveal comes in a genre one-two punch as Meadow Wilton (Grossman) comes forward as the campground's real killer. To cover her tracks after her bloody '70s murder spree, she pegged the massacre (which was a response to the incessant bullying she received by the other campers) on groundskeeper Benjamin Richter, better known as Mr. Jingles. She got away with it, while Richter spent all these years undergoing electro-shock treatment until he believed he was the murderous monster everyone thought him to be.
So, to sum up, much like Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) -- Jason's mother was revealed as the real killer in the first Friday the 13th movie -- and Angela Baker (Felissa Rose) in Sleepaway Camp, the seemingly innocent woman no one suspected is actually the one everyone should've expected. It feels like a no-brainer that Ryan Murphy would pull this twist, but since AHS: 1984 all transpires at this creepy campground filled with familiar '80s tropes, we respect the plot device… and collective genre nod.
Episode 5: "Red Dawn"
I ain't afraid of no Montana
We're halfway to this season's finish line and the noteworthy '80s references have slowed to a trickle. In Episode 5, titled "Red Dawn," we only really got one worth a mention and it happened near the episode's end. As it turns out, Camp Redwood is one of those pesky haunted locales -- much like the Harmons' house in the series inaugural season, Murder House, as well as the Hotel Cortez in Season 5, Hotel -- that show up here and there in American Horror Story. It explains why each and every character who has died on the property just won't stay dead.
So, it was only a matter of time before someone made a joke about it. And since it's the summer of 1984, what better way to make light of a bloody situation than to reference one of the most iconic '80s movies ever: Ghostbusters. As Montana rises from the dead, only to murder a cop in cold blood, she turns to her fellow ghost friends Xander and Ray to crack wise, saying, "There is no Montana, only Zuul."
Okay sure, Zuul was a minion of the demon Gozer, and not just a simple ghost -- but we're just splitting hairs here. These AHS ghosts probably don't care that much about such details. And if we're being honest here, the reference was one of the only highlights to a rather humdrum episode. Thanks for the chuckle, Mr. Murphy.
Episode 6: "Episode 100"
Flesh for Fantasy
Billy Idol's music was referenced early on this season, albeit briefly. But in American Horror Story's 100th episode, Richard Ramirez's love for the platinum-haired singer is put on full display. From the hotel murder he commits at the beginning of the episode -- where Idol's hit, "Flesh for Fantasy" blares loudly from the room he shares with Benjamin Richter -- to a music festival set to take place on the hallowed grounds of Camp Redwood, Idol is all over this episode.
On the surface, Billy Idol's haunting music adds to the Night Stalker's overall sultry-murderous-satanic vibe. But there's an underlying theme in this episode, which is where the season's big twist lies. The majority of the story here takes place in 1989. It's five years later, Brooke on death row for all the murders, Jingles has a wife and kid in Alaska, and Margaret is a wealthy real estate magnate. But Ramirez, who is locked up right next door to Brooke, is dead-set on remaining in the zeitgeist forever -- unlike Idol, who in his opinion, will become a mere blip on the pop culture radar. And, well, he's not wrong.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Deadly
True crime is so in right now, you guys. So much so, in fact, that part of the big episodic twist in "Episode 100" finds co-writers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk playing around with the lucrative nature of this oversaturated genre.
One of the ways they do this is by giving Margaret Booth a huge story pivot. Five years after the bloody murders at Camp Redwood took place, Margaret here has built a fortune off the properties previously owned by America's most gruesome killers -- including the likes of John Wayne Gacy's house, AHS: Asylum's Briarcliff Manor, The Winchester Mystery House, and Spahn Ranch, the place where Charles Manson and his cult planned out the notorious Sharon Tate murders.
We all learn this in a Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous segment. Yes, many years before MTV brought viewers into celebrities' cribs, entertainment reporter Robin Leach was the one who brought the lavish excesses of the one percent into our living rooms. The show was ridiculous and completely over-the-top. But then again, this is the '80s we're talking about.
Be kind, rewind
After Richter tipped off the locals to Ramirez' whereabouts leading to a scene that, for the most part, follows beat-by-beat as to how the Night Stalker was finally caught, the big man hangs up his Mr. Jingles moniker and moves to Alaska where he gets married and fathers an infant son. He's found himself a job at a local video store called VideoShack -- a blatant homage to Blockbuster Video.
The popularity surrounding analog VHS tape technology has resurged in recent years, with several nods to the video chain popping up in movies like Captain Marvel, while a Deadpool 2-inspired Blockbuster pop-up had fans pining for the '80s and '90s. But Richter just couldn't outrun his past and, after Ramirez tapped into his own demonic superpowers in prison, the video store assistant manager's wife gets murdered, ultimately bringing Mr. Jingles back out to play.
What a Shocker
Okay, this one might be a reach, but hear us out. For the duration of the episode, Brooke is presented as a stone-faced, emotionless criminal on the precipice of being put to death for crimes she didn't commit. This whole time, Ramirez had been pleading with her to join the dark side and do Satan's bidding, but she continually declined with a dead-pan stare and a middle finger.
So, when it became time to watch Brooke get put to death, the whole scenario felt rather… Wes Craven-y. This portion of the story takes place in 1989, the same year that Craven's horror film Shocker hit theaters. The film follows the story of serial killer Horace Pinker (played by The X-Files' Mitch Pileggi) who is put to death via electric chair. It's revealed that Pinker made a deal with the Devil, leading him to return and wreak havoc.
Here, that didn't quite happen. Instead, we see as Fake Nurse Rita resurrects Brooke after she "dies" by lethal injection. But the devilish smoke monster Ramirez conjures up, leading to a possessed guard releasing him from captivity, really gave us Shocker vibes. Not for nothing, but that's pretty neat.
Stay tuned, we'll be updating this list each week as AHS: 1984 continues.
Episode 7: "The Lady in White"
The boy in the lake
We've talked about Sleepaway Camp and Friday the 13th multiple times in this list and, to quote the Giant's infamous words in Twin Peaks as he warned Agent Cooper of the trouble ahead: It's happening again.
In the seventh episode of the season, we're given a deeper look at the history of Camp Redwood as a flashback takes us all the way back to 1949 to Camp Golden Star -- the location's original name. Lily Rabe makes her return to the AHS world as young Benjamin Richter's mother. In the episode's opening moments, the boy witnesses his little brother's Bobby's death. It all happens rather quickly. Bobby jumps in the lake. Benji isn't fully paying attention, choosing instead to spy on the lifeguard as he gets some nookie in the forest. And then Bobby's head gets mauled by a boat propeller.
Having a dead boy in the lake once again gave us Jason Voorhees vibes. But it's the way he died that harkened back to the opening Sleepaway Camp scene which depicts a violent boating accident that takes off the heads of the main character Angela's dad and brother.
The episode also adds another layer on top of the mother motif, doubling down on its Friday the 13th theme. Previously, we pointed out how Margaret was the real murderer, blaming it all on Mr. Jingles, basically turning Richter into the notorious serial killer. But what would you say if we told you that Benji's mom's vengeful spirit -- after the death of her young son, she lost the rest of her marbles and went on a killing spree only to be put down by Richter -- was the one who put the blood lust in Margaret's mind to begin with? The notorious killer's mom actually was behind it this entire time.
Teach me how to Doogie
Donna got Brooke out of the prison after faking the prisoner's lethal injection and, after some moments of conflict, the two formed an odd kinship. And as Brooke healed up in their motel room, the camera gave us a brief glimpse at the TV in the room. Remember, we're not in 1984 anymore. It's 1989 and, according to the television set, the first season of Doogie Howser M.D. had begun airing on ABC.
If you're unfamiliar, the TV comedy/drama -- which was co-created by Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law) and David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, Big Little Lies) -- starred a young Neil Patrick Harris as a child prodigy who becomes the youngest surgeon in America. The hilarity ensued, leading the show to air for four seasons.
What's your major malfunction?
Remember in Episode 3, "Slashdance," where a bunch of dudes dressed as Mr. Jingles terrorized Camp Redwood as some sort of odd tradition only to have the real Jingles show up and slaughter them? And remember how one of the guys quoted Heathers, asking Richter, "Dude, what's your damage?" Well, he's back… and has another movie line to recite.
After Richard Ramirez murdered Richter's wife, the Benji put on his Jingles outfit and returned to Camp Redwood. The first person he happened across upon his arrival was that same guy, still dressed in his own Mr. Jingles outfit. And the first thing out of his mouth was one of the many famous quotes from Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. "What's your major malfunction?" he asked.
Now look, Kubrick's Vietnam War movie hit theaters in 1987 and, if we're understanding this right, the ghosts at Camp Redwood have been stuck there since they died in 1984. So, uh, how in the hell did this ghost get off the property and into a movie theater to see Full Metal Jacket?
Of all the '80s bands to be featured in Camp Redwood's music festival lineup, Ryan Murphy decided one-hit-wonder Kajagoogoo was the one worth highlighting in "The Lady in White." You may not know the odd name, but their big hit "Too Shy" still somehow resonates -- you know, in a cheesy, glammed up, soft-pop-new-wave sort of way.
They're the first band to arrive at the location to set up for their performance and, unfortunately for Kaja and all of his Googoos, the Night Stalker was just not a fan. According to Ramirez, the band's fame was all because of a deal they made with the Devil, and the serial killer was here to collect on Satan's debts. Long story short, he slaughtered the entire band leaving one less obstacle to exist between him and the inevitable arrival of his idol, Billy Idol.
Episode 8: "Rest in Pieces"
We suppose it was only a matter of time before the role that made Paul Hogan a household name (and the commercial spokesperson for Beck's beer) was referenced. The beginning moments of this episode finds Brooke and Donna at a diner. They're still on their way to Camp Redwood, obviously. The duo discuss their future plans after their mission of revenge against Margaret Booth is complete. And for Brooke, it seems her desire is to move to Australia. You know, where they filmed those Crocodile Dundee movies.
If you're unfamiliar with these late '80s cinematic gems, you're surely missing out. There's really not much to the plot, to be honest. Hogan plays Mick Dundee, the hero the film is named after, who ends up moving to America in the name of love. What follows is a fish-out-of-water scenario where a man fitting a belabored stereotype tries to acclimate himself to the American way of life -- and mostly fails. As hokey as these films were, they did deliver an iconic quote or two. You know the whole, "That's not a knife, this is a knife!" thing? It came from there.
A final girl, finally
Brooke spent most of the '80s locked up, therefore missing out on some prime pop culture knowledge. And since this is American Horror Story, the little helpful tidbit she learns in the episode's opening minutes is that, according to Donna, she may very well be this season's final girl. Of course Brooke has no idea what that even means. But we do.
As every genre fan knows, a final girl is the common horror trope that follows a female character through a traumatic experience only to watch her rise up and triumph over whatever bloody feat or murderous monster she'd been trying to escape. Not one to leave her friend in the dust, Brooke suggests Donna join her. But Fake Rita here is African American. And as she points out, people sporting her skin color are usually the first to go. Ryan Murphy knows this and is obviously flipping the script with this one.
Iran-Contra, AIDs, that TV show 'Small Wonder' and the crack epidemic
Leave it to a random National Enquirer reporter to throw Donna and Brooke's safety into question. Still at the diner, the two are confronted by the young woman who initially compliments Brooke on her Brooke Thompson costume. You know, because society is screwed up and cosplay, even back then, means championing murderers by dressing as them. In professing her fandom for the Camp Redwood murders, this reporter, in one solid breath, encapsulates the whole damn decade by referencing Iran Contra, the AIDs epidemic, the TV show Small Wonder, and crack cocaine. That's a lot, really -- let's unpack this…
The Iran-Contra affair was a scandal that broke during Ronald Reagan's second term in office. Basically, the American government secretly assisted in the sales of weapons to Iran -- during an arms embargo, which banned such activity. In exchange, we used the proceeds in question to help fund a group of anti-Sandanista rebels (or Contras) as they rose up against the socialist Nicaraguan government. Reagan justified the interaction as a means to free seven Americans taken hostage by terrorist group, Hezbollah, but info eventually surfaced proving the Reagan administration began such sales to Iran in 1981, long before the hostages were ever kidnapped.
The CDC first learned about HIV/AIDs, or human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome, in 1981. It wasn't until a year later that the disease, which was rapidly spreading through the LGBTQ community, was named. In the early days, the virus was known as GRID, or "gay-related immune deficiency," ravaging tons of lives, and feeding into rampant homophobia. President Reagan didn't take the threat seriously, only giving his first official speech on the matter in 1987. By the end of the decade, the number of AIDs-related cases in the U.S. reached 100,000.
Now, onto Small Wonder. Boy, was this an odd television show and a sign of the times really. Heck, if we could have a comedic story about a cat-eating alien play out episodically on the small-screen -- we're talking about ALF, people -- then a sitcom about an engineer who decides to build a robot, make it look like a little girl, and attempt to pass it off as his daughter Vicki doesn't sound all that crazy… does it? Who knows? The show lasted four seasons, so they got something right.
And finally, crack. What happens when there's just too much cocaine powder to go around? The answer was crack, a smokeable solution to the loss of drug profits due to the decline in cocaine demand in the early '80s. Once crack cocaine was introduced to the inner cities of America, all hell broke loose. It was cheap, the high was intense, and the outcome of the growing addiction caused an uptick in violent crimes. As a reaction to this, Congress passed a 100 to 1 law that directly impacted the Black community. Basically, if you were caught holding five grams of crack cocaine, you were handed a five-year mandatory minimum sentence in prison -- which quickly crowded prisons across the country. Obviously, this was hugely discriminatory, considering the minimal punishment one would get for possessing the same amount of cocaine powder.
The spirits stuck at Camp Redwood are definitely not happy to see Jingles, none moreso than Xavier who, if you remember, got badly cooked in an oven by Richter before being put to death. Aesthetically, having third-degree burns covering your body isn't ideal if you're trying to make it in Hollywood. And even in death, Xavier holds a grudge.
Before going after Richter, he points out how close he was to making it big in the industry. You guys, he had two auditions for The A-Team! And, if you know anything about the '80s, The A-Team was the TV show to watch. The series followed a rag-tag group of former military men who went rogue, only to take on various assignments to save innocent people while enforcing justice wherever and whenever they could. There were explosions, cigar smoking, and Mr. T. at his strong-arming best.
Dylan McDermott's Bruce may have lost his thumbs to Brooke and Donna, but that doesn't stop the budding serial killer from his murderous mission. In "Rest in Pieces," we reconnect with him as he's driving a bright pink car along the dirt roads toward Camp Redwood. After picking up one of Margaret's original victims off the side of the road -- you know, the spirit of the hippie-looking guy the original gang happened upon all the way back in Episode 1 -- a ruckus in the car's trunk leads Bruce to pull over.
It seems that he stole this pink ride from a Mary Kay make-up consultant, which is a very specific, slightly deep cut in reference to the decade of affluence. The beauty product company hit its stride in the '80s, rivaling that of the other big multi-level marketing beauty company, Avon. And while a large female portion of the company's clientele claimed satisfaction with their product line, backlash over Mary Kay's business model grew, leading to lawsuits and complaints claiming the whole thing was nothing more than just a barely-legal pyramid scheme built solely to scam people out of their hard-earned cash.
An '80s band murder spree
With everyone returning to Camp Redwood for the big music festival, Margaret's insane plan finally comes into focus. Here she is, once more teaming up with The Night Stalker in order to spill mass amounts of blood with Bruce, his new protege, in tow. She announces to them that her real goal for this music festival is a simple one: She's just going to kill every famous musician that hits the stage. From Flock of Seagulls to The Go-Gos, they're all going to die. But not Billy Idol. Obviously, he's off limits.
Friday the 13th… again
There are so many Jason Voorhees references in this list already, but hey, here's another one! Toward the end of the episode, after Benjamin Richter is killed multiple times -- he committed suicide in "The Lady in White" in order to stay at Camp Redwood to take out Ramirez, once and for all -- Mr. Jingles is put in a boat and floated out into the middle of the lake. He tried appealing to the ghosts of his victims, but unsurprisingly, they lacked any sympathy for the killer.
Bleeding out in the boat, in the middle of the water, Jingles sits up and locks eyes on Montana before a familiar visual plays out on screen. The bloated, mossy corpse of Bobby, Jingles' little brother who died in the lake, pops out of the water behind him and takes the man overboard. This scene is basically a shot-for-shot recreation of the final sequence that played out in Sean S. Cunningham's 1980 slasher classic, Friday the 13th, the film that first introduced Jason to audiences everywhere. While we're sure Bobby won't return as the unstoppable monster that Voorhees became, something tells us this isn't the last we'll see of Mr. Jingles.
Episode 9: "Final Girl"
Welp, here we are at the final episode of the season and, in terms of important '80s references… nothing noteworthy was dropped in "Final Girl." Okay, sure, dueling pop princesses Debbie Gibson and Belinda Carlisle were mentioned in passing. But, really, aside from that, the finale of American Horror Story: 1984 did its best to end the season on a high note by putting an end to the familial trauma that plagued Camp Redwood while giving us not one, but two final girls. Brooke and Donna, forever! Or, something.