Everything’s ’80s, it seems. Last week, Ryan Murphy announced that this fall’s cycle of ‘American Horror Story‘ would be subtitled ‘1984’, sort of like 2020’s ‘Wonder Woman’ sequel. It didn’t go unnoticed, as ‘Wonder Woman 1984’s director Patty Jenkins took to Twitter to… congratulate (?) Murphy on such a catchy title.
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) April 12, 2019
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Murphy quickly clapped back, pointing out that not only does Jenkins not own the year 1984, but that going further back, that was the title of one of the most famous and influential works of science fiction, George Orwell’s novel ‘1984’ which was released in 1949.
— Ryan Murphy (@MrRPMurphy) April 12, 2019
In fact, it may be Orwell’s book that provided a bit of Jenkins’ inspiration to set the second ‘Wonder Woman’ movie in that year, due to its dystopian themes. Wonder Woman, a hero who represents peace, spent her first movie battling Ares the god of war during one of the most horrific conflicts in human history, World War I. The sequel is said to involve the Cold War, the nuclear face-off that the United States spent decades locked in, against the Soviet Union.
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Meanwhile, the latest installment of ‘AHS’ is a tribute to slasher films, which were at their height during the ’80s, with franchises like ‘Friday the 13th’, ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’, and ‘Halloween’ generating multiple sequels and inspiring countless knockoffs. The first ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ actually came out in 1984, as did the first ‘Children of the Corn’. The short video that Murphy released to announce the title showed a young woman, sporting high-waisted jean shorts and poofy mall hair, running through the woods to escape a lumbering, knife-wielding maniac.
Let’s not forget that the second season of ‘Stranger Things’ was also set in 1984, the year ‘Ghostbusters’ was released. In fact, 1984 saw the release of dozens of classic movies including ‘Footloose’, ‘Gremlins’, ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’, ‘The Karate Kid’, ‘The Neverending Story’, ‘Sixteen Candles’, ‘The Terminator’, and more.
On TV, ’70s leftovers ‘Happy Days’ and ‘Three’s Company’ signed off, while other classics like ‘The Cosby Show’, ‘Miami Vice’, ‘Murder, She Wrote’, and ‘Who’s The Boss?’ premiered. For kids of the era, robots blew up as ‘Challenge of the Go-Bots’, ‘The Transformers’, and ‘Voltron: Defender of the Universe’ debuted.
And on the radio, everyone was grooving to Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’, Tina Turner’s ‘What’s Love Got to do with It’, Van Halen’s ‘Jump’, and everything by Prince from the ‘Purple Rain’ soundtrack.
So maybe it’s not so hard to see why modern creators are gravitating to this era for upcoming projects, seeing as how the projects from then are still influencing the TV and movies of today.
Does Patty Jenkins get to claim 1984 since her project was named first? Or is there enough neon and hairspray to go around?