(Warning: This post contains spoilers for “American Horror Stories” Episode 3 “Drive In.”)
The third installment of FX on Hulu’s new “American Horror Story” spinoff anthology series “American Horror Stories” launched Thursday, featuring performances by “AHS” staple John Carroll Lynch and franchise newcomers Madison Bailey and Rhenzy Feliz. In this hour, Lynch plays Larry Bitterman, the filmmaker of the fictional “Rabbit Rabbit,” a supposedly cursed film that had all of its prints destroyed after moviegoers killed each other in the first showing.
Turns out, the film is truly cursed and teen lovers Kelley (Bailey) and Chad (Feliz) find that out the hard way when they attend a drive-in showing of the last remaining print and everyone starts becoming murderous zombies that they have to take out to survive.
Eventually, Kelley and Chad figure out the director, who was imprisoned for years after assaulting former second lady Tipper Gore for having his film destroyed, is the one who brought the print to the drive-in and go find him and set his RV (and his last remaining print of “Rabbit Rabbit”) on fire — after first listening to his long speech about how he made the literal horror flick.
Of course all their hard work meant nothing in the end, as the final scene reveals the movie has been uploaded to Netflix.
See below for TheWrap’s interview with Lynch about the episode and its big twist. We also confirmed with Lynch he is appearing in “American Horror Story” Season 10, “Double Feature,” and asked him what we can expect from his part when the season premieres later this summer on FX.
TheWrap: At the end of this “American Horror Stories” episode implies that before he died, “Rabbit Rabbit” director Larry Bitterman managed to get his murderous film on Netflix in order to reach as many viewers as possible — and thus use it to potentially create millions of murderers driven mad by the flick. And before Kelley and Chad kill him, they find he has a Rolls Royce at his RV and he is warning them they aren’t going to like the reason why. So clearly he got a sweet Netflix deal for “Rabbit Rabbit” yes?
John Carroll Lynch: Yes, clearly, he sold it. I mean, somebody at Netflix thought, “Netflix needs content, this thing has some legs!” I mean, I don’t know if you watch your Netflix queue, but there’s a funny “SNL” bit that they’re like, literally, when you get to the end of the Netflix queue, it just keeps going, there’s a whole new Netflix queue. I have had films that premiere on a streaming service and it’s amazing, they premiere on a streaming service and by two hours later, they are off the coming soon because they’ve got something else coming. You know, it’s veracious. They had to have bought it sight-unseen, right? (laughs) They couldn’t have watched the movie.
What was it like for you taking on the role of killer director Bitterman for “American Horror Stories: Drive In,” after previously playing multiple killers in the “American Horror Story” universe?
In some ways, the structure of it is not unlike “The Wizard of Oz”: Who is the person behind the curtain? And he is revealed in a very similar fashion in the structure of the piece. What it required, though, was something that the show had rarely offered me (laughs), because Twisty [from “American Horror Story: Freak Show”] was an almost entirely silent character, Benjamin Richter [from “AHS: 1984”] didn’t have a whole lot to say, he was experiencing a lot, but didn’t talk a lot about it, and didn’t have insight into his journey, and John Wayne Gacy [from “AHS: Hotel”] was his own animal inside the dinner party with animals. But this one, it required a desire to drive into that text and to bring it alive in a way that the audience could feel the mania of this narcissist. And I loved the writing of it. It made me laugh. I loved the structure of it, the stream of consciousness, the sense of ‘Let me sum up.’ You know, it’s that wonderful line in “The Princess Bride,” “Let me explain. No, no, no, there’s not enough time. Let me sum up.” That’s kind of what he tries to do, but he’s so happy about the results of his masterpiece being so well received, that the juxtaposition of his joy against the horror of what the actual piece is doing is so fantastically grotesque. I just, it was like a box of chocolates, so much fun.
I’m curious if you know if the inclusion of Netflix rather than a different streaming service, seeing as “American Horror Stories” streaming on FX on Hulu, is a nod to Ryan Murphy’s overall deal with Netflix?
I leave that for Ryan to comment on. (laughs)
We’ve learned you’ll be in “AHS” Season 10, entitled “Double Feature,” in an undisclosed role. What can you tell us about the season, which is premiering later this summer?
I can say nothing about it. These things, there’s such an iron pot lid on everything being created. And I understand it to a certain degree, because the amount of anger and frustration and also that things can be canceled before they even come out, because people are frustrated by some aspect of the intellectual property idea. The idea that we’re like, “Hey listen, everybody. Just relax, take it easy, watch something and be surprised. You don’t have to know about it beforehand.” It’s actually more fun.
But we’ve also been waiting for it for long because it’s been delayed due to the pandemic!
I know. That’s the other part, what’s happened with the pandemic has slowed everything down. But I mean, I love that it’s “Double Feature.” I love it. I mean, you’re not going to be disappointed.
A new episode of “American Horror Stories” launches next Thursday on FX on Hulu.