American Horror Stories returns this week with an all-new episode featuring a story about a scary movie that causes people to kill each other. Yup, you read that right—kill each other. It’s refreshing to see Ryan Murphy’s horror stories being told in an anthology format because we can actually enjoy them.
When a season focuses on one story, it often gets boring or loses its appeal, but one story per episode (apart from the premiere) is really working in his favor. This week’s episode, “Drive-In,” is all about the Starlite Drive-In screening a cursed movie from the late 80s. In 1986, the film’s premiere turned into a bloodbath when viewers began killing one another in a zombie rage.
High schooler Chad (Rhenzy Feliz) and his girlfriend, Kelley (Madison Bailey), wind up going on a date to the drive-in to watch the movie. Of course, Chad’s intentions are to have some fun and get some action from his girl, but the night takes them a completely different way.
It was quite the episode of American Horror Stories, to say the least, and I must say the series is off to a thrilling start. Check out our recap of this week’s episode below, and let us know what your favorite moments were!
American Horror Stories Season 1, Episode 3 recap: A hookup gone wrong
Chad tries to seduce Kelley to the backdrop of Bob Ross’s The Joy of Painting, but it doesn’t work out as well as he would have hoped. Frustrated that his girlfriend won’t give him any action, he turns to his friends for advice.
One of them suggests taking Kelley to the drive-in to watch a movie called Rabbit Rabbit, a horror film that comes with a cursed history. The film was directed by Larry Bitterman (John Carroll Lynch) and only aired one time back in 1986.
While watching the movie, viewers began killing one another, and the night ended in a bloody massacre, with six people dead. No one knew what had happened, but it was chalked up to the movie causing some sort of insane reaction in the brain. Bitterman was eventually brought in front of Congress, where he was told he’d serve time in jail and all the copies of his film would be destroyed.
American Horror Stories Season 1, Episode 3 recap: Starlite Drive-In
Chad and Kelley arrive at the Drive-In, where the company is ecstatic to put themselves in the spotlight and make some money in the process. However, a protestor asks people not to watch the movie claiming she was there in 1986 and barely made it out of there alive.
No one takes her seriously and chooses to ignore her when she asks them to unplug the projector. Chad is perturbed by the protestor’s comments, but he’s too focused on the potential action he might get from Kelley, so he brushes it off.
The couple grabs their snacks and heads to the car, where things get hot and heavy pretty fast. In fact, so fast that Chad and Kelley don’t even notice that the movie has started while they’ve been making out.
They glanced a couple of times at the drive-in screen, but they’re too busy to notice that things seem off around them. Viewers in each car begin getting red and black veins in their eyes, and before anyone knows it, pandemonium breaks out.
People begin killing one another, and in the midst of the chaos, the protestor sneaks into the projector room to unplug it. She doesn’t get a chance to do anything because one of the workers has been affected by the movie and kills the protestor.
Chad and Kelley are the only survivors of the massacre and manage to find shelter in the projector room. Of course, they’re followed by a horde of murderous zombies and barely getaway. They are confronted by the same worker that killed the protestor, but Chad loses it and kills it by smashing the movie reel on its head.
He passes out from the adrenaline rush and wakes up a few hours later as the sun rises. He recalls that there is an encore screening of the movie later that day but doesn’t remember where it is supposed to be. Chad and Kelley decide to prevent the movie from being screened again to prevent yet another massacre.
American Horror Stories Season 1, Episode 3 recap: Larry Bitterman
They head to Bitterman’s trailer, where they discover the director inside. He’s proudly watching the news that is covering the drive-in massacre and is on cloud nine over the success of his movie. He thinks of it as a success anyway because he wanted it to be an experience, and well, it certainly is that.
He begins ranting about the subliminal messages that horror movies have in them, including The Exorcist, which he worked on as a second assistance cutter. That movie never won an Oscar, so he was obsessed with repeating the same formula for this movie.
The idea of eliciting a fear response in viewers is something Bitterman strived to do, and he does just that with Rabbit Rabbit. While he was in jail, he continued to perfect the film and ultimately created his final masterpiece, shown at the drive-in theatre.
Bitterman asks Kelley and Chad to be happy for him, but instead, Kelley shoots him right in his knees. They demand to know where the other copy of the film is, and after some forceful convincing, he reveals where it is. They burn the film reel and then set the trailer on fire as Bitterman laughs maniacally until his last breath.
The episode ends with Chad and Kelley hooking up in Chad’s room, celebrating that they got rid of the evil director and his evil film. Sure, he said it wasn’t over, but he couldn’t have been serious, right?
Well, unbeknownst to them, the movie went up on Netflix and immediately began trending. And as the scene goes dark, we hear explosions going off around the city. When these two come up for air, the world is not going to be a safe place…
Until next week, American Horror Stories fan!
What did you think of this week’s episode? Tell us in the comments below!