American Horror Stories Episode 3 Ending, Explained

‘American Horror Stories’ is a spin-off series of one of the most well-received and influential horror TV shows of all time, ‘American Horror Story.’ Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, who also developed the original show, the spin-off is an anthology series that features a new plot and a new set of characters in each episode. ‘Drive In,’ the third episode of the series, revolves around an infamous and supposedly cursed film called ‘Rabbit Rabbit,’ which caused the deaths of six people on the night of its first screening in 1986.

Chad (Rhenzy Feliz), a teenager living in Los Angeles, is eager to go the distance with his girlfriend of six months, Kelley (Madison Bailey), and takes her to a drive-in theatre where the film is set to be screened for the first time in decades. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘American Horror Stories’ episode 3. SPOILERS AHEAD,

American Horror Stories Episode 3 Recap

After doing an ample amount of research on Reddit on how to get his girlfriend in the mood, Chad uses Bob Ross’ ‘The Joy of Painting’ to stimulate an ASMR response in her as they make out. Shockingly, it doesn’t work, and they end up arguing. When he speaks about this to his friends, they argue that fear works better as a stimulant than peace of mind and suggests that Chad should take Kelley to the drive-in screening of ‘Rabbit Rabbit.’ Even though there is a high demand for them, one of the friends has managed to secure an extra ticket, which he gives to Chad.

Meanwhile, Kelley also speaks about the fight to her friend, Dee (Ben J. Pierce), who thinks Kelley’s response stemmed from fear. Later, Chad apologizes to Kelley for his behavior, and they agree to go to the drive-in theater together. On the day of the screening, a protester (Naomi Grossman) urges the moviegoers not to watch the film and go home. She later tells Chad that she was there during the 1986 screening when her boyfriend suddenly turned violent and plucked out one of her eyes.

When the movie starts, it captures the attention of everyone in the audience, except for Chad and Kelley, who are busy celebrating their-6-month anniversary. The car windows get fogged up, preventing them from seeing what’s happening outside. And then the screaming begins. Just like in 1986, the audience turns violent and begins killing each other. Dee and Chad’s friends die, but Kelley and Chad manage to survive the night.

American Horror Stories Episode 3 Ending: Is the Film, Rabbit Rabbit, Cursed?

No, ‘Rabbit Rabbit’ isn’t cursed. As its director, Larry Bitterman (John Carroll Lynch), tells Chad and Kelley when they find him, he combined image and sound in a perfect recipe to trigger the fear center in the brain. By using subliminal messaging, he brought the horror from the screen to inside the minds of the audience members. According to him, he was the person that suggested to William Friedkin that they should use subliminal messages in ‘The Exorcist.’ This is apparently why the terrifying white-faced demon appears at around 45 minutes into the film. When ‘The Exorcist’ didn’t win the Oscar that year, it infuriated Bitterman, who decided to make his own film with the best rendition of the fear-inducing subliminal recipe.

Bitterman found out that he had gotten the recipe right when he discovered his editor chopping off her own fingers while working on the film. What happened in 1986 was a test to see how the film affects a larger audience and start word of mouth. However, before the film could premiere, Tipper Gore’s 1986 Congressional hearing happened, during which Bitterman learned that studio had decided not to show the film and destroy all its prints. Bitterman spent the next 15 years in jail, further modifying the recipe. When he got out, he used his findings on the workprint he still had. The killings in the drive-in are the result of this perfected recipe and not some curse.

Is Larry Bitterman Dead? What Happens to the Original Print of the Film?

Yes, Larry Bitterman is dead. Before they leave his trailer, Kelley shoots him in the leg while Chad sets fire to what is supposed to be the original print of ‘Rabbit Rabbit.’ They leave Bitterman there to be burned alongside his creation. Chad and Kelley originally seek Bitterman out to prevent a second screening. Initially, Bitterman claims that the print he sent to the drive-in theatre was the only one. But then Kelley shoots him in the leg, and Chad reveals that he didn’t see any tape splice on the print while destroying it and deduced that it wasn’t the original print.

Bitterman subsequently admits he has the original print in the trailer, and Chad promptly turns on the stove and puts the print in the fire. In the final scenes of the film, Chad and Kelley make love. Although they don’t know yet, multiple explosions rock the city. The reason for this can be traced back to the things Bitterman says before his death. As Chad and Kelley walk out of his trailer, Bitterman starts laughing despite the fact that his life’s work has been destroyed and he is about to die.

It later becomes clear that he sold ‘Rabbit Rabbit’s distribution rights to Netflix. It also explains why he has a Rolls Royce even though he lives in a trailer. When the film starts streaming on the platform, it becomes a trending topic and is likely seen by people all over the world, posthumously fulfilling Bitterman’s wishes. So, the explosions that the viewers see out of Chad’s window aren’t limited to Los Angeles. The entire world has descended into violence and chaos.

Read More: Where Is American Horror Stories Filmed?