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SYFY WIRE Emma Roberts

American Horror Story: 1984 premiere: Twitter reacts with funny post-mortem

By Josh Grossberg
Emma Roberts American Horror Story 1984

It looks like someone has an ax to grind. Actually make that two.

The reviews are in, and the premiere of American Horror Story: 1984 on FX Wednesday night, which served up a pair of serial killers for fans' viewing pleasure, had Twitter not only buzzing over the horrible deaths to come but joking whether star Emma Roberts misses her previous "b----" roles now that she's shed them to play a self-avowed virgin.

For their part, TV critics welcomed the fifth season of Ryan Murphy's anthology series, which takes a slice out of Friday the 13th, Halloween, and other memorable classics of the '80s slasher genre. But they weren't too thrilled with Roberts' turn against type as a sweet-as-pie self-proclaimed "last American virgin." Vanity Fair called her performance "bland," writing that "if there's a joke being made here, she doesn't seem to be in on it yet." Though the magazine reserved its highest praise for co-star Billie Lourd, hailing her "unrepentant horniness."

On the other hand, AV Club claimed the episode's deep dive into '80s nostalgia, barrage of references, and simple gore made the hit series "fun again" with its lovingly ripped off plot of crazed knife-wielding assailants on the loose (not to mention its throwback VHS-inspired opening credits!).

If you haven't seen the premiere yet, consider this a warning, as there be spoilers ahead.

AHS: 1984 kicks off with the return of Richard Ramirez, otherwise known as the Night Stalker. Of course, the real-life Ramirez was infamously convicted of committing a murder spree in Los Angeles between 1984 and 1985, and died in 2013. A fictional version of the serial killer made a cameo in American Horror Story: Hotel and, played here by Zach Villa, sets the tone for the horror to come. The episode starts out with the Night Stalker assaulting Roberts' character Brooke in her apartment, with the would-be devil worshipper telling her to "swear on Satan" and warning that he will come for her again before taking what looks like a wedding ring.

After this terrifying encounter, Brooke accepts an invitation to work as a counselor at Camp Redwood with friends Montana (Billie Lourd) and feather-haired Xavier (Cody Fern). At which point, they're confronted with the season's second slasher, the fictional Mr. Jingles (John Carroll Lynch). Like Michael Myers before him, Mr. Jingles escaped from a mental ward and has returned to the pristine summer camp where 14 years before he massacred nine campers, taking their ears as trophies.

Lo and behold, Brooke finds herself on the run from Mr. Jingles in a scene humorously intercut with runners from the 1984 Summer Olympics, while the episode ends with the Night Stalker turning up at Camp Redwood, hinting at the bloody competition to come.

American Horror Story: 1984 | Season 9: Official Trailer [HD] | FX

Whether she and her pals -- who also include hunky former Olympic skier Chet (real-life Olympian Gus Kentworthy), camp owner Margaret (Leslie Grossman), and Jane Fonda workout video reject Trevor (Matthew Morrison) -- will escape the clutches of the terrible two is what propels the storyline for this season.

And naturally, Twitterites are eating up the suspense. Here's a quick roundup of some more reactions: