American Horror Story has had its fair share of serial murderers over the years; each season brings a new threat, whether it's Rubber Man or Bloody Face or James Patrick March. 1984 introduces a new antagonist named Mr. Jingles who wouldn't be out of place in a slasher B movie from the 1980s — which means he fits the theme of the season perfectly. But who is Mr. Jingles?
Right now he's just a faceless antagonist, though it's difficult to get a clear look at him in the trailer for the season. He seems to be a tall man in a dark leather coat, his face covered and a knife in hand. He could quite literally be anyone, and his backstory is vague enough to leave a lot of room for exploration. It seems Mr. Jingles is already a convicted killer: he had previously murdered a cabin full of campers at Camp Redwood years earlier. He'd since been committed to a mental health facility, but broke out right before the events of AHS: 1984.
It sounds like any generic murderer backstory from a summer camp slasher movie because that's what this season is trying to emulate. But this is AHS, so there's definitely going to be more to the story than that. And theories are already emerging about who Mr. Jingles might be.
Many fans have speculated that Richard Ramirez will be part of the season. The real life serial killer has appeared on the show before, back on AHS: Hotel, so it's not out of the realm of possibility for him to make a return. His murder spree began in 1984, according to A&E, so he would be active at the time the story is set. There's one scene in the trailer where a man who might be Ramirez attacks Emma Roberts' character Brooke while she's asleep in bed. His face can't be seen, but he's wearing a black jacket and carrying a knife that looks exactly like Mr. Jingles'. Perhaps Jingles is actually Ramirez, bringing a very real horror to a fictional character.
Mr. Jingles' real identity is impossible to know ahead of the reveal. He could be a real person like Ramirez, or he could be a fictional invention whipped up for this season specifically. But his few identifying features might be clues. He has a jingling ring of keys on his belt that gave him his name; they receive at least one close-up in the trailer. That could point towards Jingles' connection with the camp and maybe even explain why he targeted the campers. Who walks around with crowded key rings? Janitors, or groundskeepers. Mr. Jingles might have worked at Camp Redwood, which may have led to the development of some kind of grudge against the place.
According to IMDB, Mr. Jingles will be played by returning cast member John Carroll Lynch, who also played Twisty the Clown and John Wayne Gacy in prior seasons. His skill at crafting terrifying characters will certainly help make Mr. Jingles a memorable villain, even before viewers find out who he is and why he's so focused on taking down teenagers at summer camp — though everyone would really like to know those answers.
AHS: 1984 premieres on FX on Wednesday, Sept. 18.