American Horror Stories: “Drive In” Review

The drive-in experience is something that all movie fans should experience at least once in their lives.  And with the onset of the world-changing quarantine, drive-in theaters have made something of a comeback, as they were easy to maintain social distancing.

With that in mind, the latest episode of American Horror Stories ditches all connections and references to earlier seasons and goes for a refreshingly new story dealing with one such drive-in, and a cursed movie of course.

The result is a brutally fun slasher that’s a much needed breath of fresh air for AHS that also pays homage to the 80’s Italian classic Demons!

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Just when you thought it was safe to go see a movie…

The Perfect Aphrodisiac
Opening with an admittedly strange juxtaposition, we see couple Chad and Kelley getting hot and heavy, with an episode of Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting on the in the background.  Kelley wants Chad to slow down, feeling like she’s not quite ready for them to have sex, which of course frustrates him given that they’ve been together for six months.

By the next day, they’ve both calmed down with Chad’s friends encouraging him to take her to a horror movie to get her in the mood, and Kelley’s friend encouraging her not to be afraid to go all the way.

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The episode does a great job of establishing these characters as very relatable and realistic, and in a very short amount of time!

One of Chad’s friends hooks him up with tickets to a drive-in showing an infamously “cursed” movie that allegedly caused a massacre at its one and only screening in the 80’s.  Both Chad and Kelley thing it’s nothing but a marketing gimmick, but once the movie starts, all hell breaks loose.

The Power of Cinema (Minor Spoilers)
Once the horror begins, it goes all out with the brutality, gore, and kills.  Using makeup effects that are reminiscent of Demons and Evil Dead, we get a pure celebration of the genre that’s all the more fitting taking place at a drive-in theater.

As Chad and Kelley discover the truly sinister motives of the cursed movie’s director, we also get a really interesting commentary about the self-importance and recklessness of some people in the film industry, particularly in the 70s and 80s.

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The only thing worse than a madman is one who thinks he’s a visionary genius…

The episode itself cites the fact that William Friedkin placed subliminal images in The Exorcist, and the director character here (played brilliantly by AHS alum John Carroll Lynch) wants to take it one step further.  And the crazy/sad thing is you could honestly see some arrogant director thinking that way.

Heading in the Right Direction
Admittedly, the two part premiere of American Horror Stories left something to be desired.  We’ve definitely visited Murder House enough times that we could go a few years without it being mentioned again.

“Drive In” was the first episode of this new series that truly felt new and that showed the potential of where it can go.  This was a just a fun, one off story that didn’t need a several episode arc to drag everything out.

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The whole appeal of this spinoff was to tell new and self-contained stories, and this is the first episode that felt like it.

It was fun, gory, and filled with just enough horror references to intrigue any fan.  Upon seeing last week’s premiere, I’ll admit I was bit apprehensive about there this series was going.  After this episode, we’re moving in a much better direction!

What did you think of this week’s episode American Horror Stories?  What do you hope to see next week?  Let us know in the comments!

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New episodes drop every Thursday on FX on Hulu

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