American Horror Story 1984 | Pitch
Season 9 of FX’s ‘American Horror Story’ looks back at the height of the slasher film; the 80’s. We can credit many a sleepless night growing up to the 80’s horror classics, so we were all-in when FX invited us to contribute some concepts for the shows promo package. While the project never eventuated, we had a great time collaborating with the team at FX and loved where the directions ended up going.
Concept 1 | Splatter
For this concept we leaned into a graphic approach that leverages typography to tell the story and portray the mood of the show. The large, hand-crafted brush type has an unnerving, violent tone that we felt complimented the essence of the season. Introducing characteristics of the Rennie Mackintosh typeface ties the large brush type to the messaging type, show logo, and the brand as a whole. The color palette is pulled from the art direction of the show, with bolder reds, blues and yellows, a contemporary take on the 80’s look and feel.
Concept 2 | Blood Lake
The central idea in this concept is the totem pole, found at all summer camps to direct the attendees. In this instance, the totem pole is made up of a stack of disembodied hands, illuminating the idea that this is the killer’s camp and these are his trophies. Protruding eerily from an infinite red lake, we’re able to find a vibe akin to the slasher films of the 80’s through the darkness of the foreground and contrast with the waters’ surface. Even the placement of an empty canoe on this blood lake creates a sense of dread.
Concept 3 | Knives
The intention behind this concept is to create striking, unnerving compositions using a dense spiral of knives. The feeling that you get being immersed in this sea of sharp objects captures the emotional response of the series. The formation and quality of the knives brings a contemporary edge to the concept, and the color palette and typography bring in those 80’s touches and feel ‘of-the-era.’ The typography mirrors the AHS 1984 logo, tying everything together and, combined with the colors and backgrounds, has just the right level of 80’s horror camp and contemporary sensibilities.
Concept 4 | Tunnel of horrors
This concept tells an entire story with just eyes and mouths, using the subtle differences in their reactions to pleasure and fear. Using a continuous camera push through a textural tunnel of eyes and mouths, we fly through moments of ecstasy and agony; mouths opening in climax and screaming in terror, eyes dilating with joy and widening in horror. Color is a strong component of this approach; blue representing pleasure, red representing pain. We would sprinkle in flash flames of iconography (skulls, keys, knives, etc) and have subtle graphic elements to compliment the composition.