Same show, new scares — and a rockin’ new soundtrack to back it.
After months of teasing the project with casting announcements and a string of character vignettes, FX released the first teaser trailer for American Horror Story: 1984, the upcoming ninth season of creator Ryan Murphy’s acclaimed horror anthology.
The footage both teases the premise of the new anthology installment — a group of teenagers attending a summer camp in the 1980s have a killer time swimming in the lake and hanging with friends before they come face to face with an actual killer — and features atmospheric backing music that is bound to make its way onto AHS fans’ Spotify playlists. What’s the song in the American Horror Story: 1984 trailer, you ask? Let us answer that question for you.
For starters, the American Horror Story: 1984 trailer actually features two different tracks — so the question really is, “What are the songs in the AHS: 1984 trailer?”
The first song is “On the Dark Side” by John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band, an American rock band that was credited on the track as Eddie and the Cruisers… for a reason we’ll get to in a second. Released in September 1983, “On the Dark Side” was used as the theme song to the Arlene Davidson-directed teen flick Eddie and the Cruisers, hence why John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band were listed as Eddie and the Cruisers.
“On the Dark Side,” written by composer Vince DiCola, features a snazzy saxophone solo around the bridge and has a beat anyone can groove to. Its lyrics are fairly simple — “The dark side’s callin’ now, nothin’ is real / She’ll never know just how I feel / From out of the shadows she walks like a dream / Makes me feel crazy, makes me feel so mean” — and focus on themes of love and temptation. Since its release, the song has appeared in 2014’s Dumb & Dumber To and a 2007 episode of The Simpsons.
The second song featured in the American Horror Story: 1984 trailer is presented as a lot more sinister than “On the Dark Side.” While the first tune plays out over a group of teens driving into summer camp, laughing and letting the breeze lift their hair in the air as they cruise along, the next song starts at the mid-way point of the footage and then gets distorted when the clip reveals that there’s a killer in the midst. The track? “Suddenly Last Summer” by new wave band The Motels.
Another single that debuted in 1983, “Suddenly Last Summer” is the second track on the band’s fourth studio album Little Robbers. The Motels lead singer Martha Davis has noted that the song is meant to encapsulate the feeling of summer ending, “when you hear the ice cream truck go by for the last time and you know he won’t be back for a while.” It also explores themes of innocence, loss, and beginnings; it’s “a reflection on those moments in life when things are changing, like when it’s a beautiful sunny day and a cold wind blows and you know the end of summer is coming.”
For the characters of American Horror Story: 1984, it isn’t just summer that’s ending — it’s also their lives. A Jason Voorhees-inspired killer is on the loose, and no one is safe.
Find out who will live, who will survive, and what other awesome ’80s songs will be heard on American Horror Story: 1984 when it premieres on FX on September 18.