Much like the entirety of American Horror Story’s premiere episode, the show’s bizarre opening credits sequence (which you can watch above) is a mystifying head-fuck. Set to a sparse, indecipherable tune simply titled “American Horror Story,” with its booming static and marauding bass, the announcement of the show’s cast is interspersed with shots of turn-of-the-century baby photos, jars filled with fetuses, a cadaver in plastic wrap, and someone holding bloodied shears. The location: The central house’s demonic basement, which plays heavily into the pilot’s cold open, and, presumably, American Horror Story as a whole.

Co-creator Ryan Murphy promises that the barrage of creepy, seemingly random images in the show’s title bit all play a part in the first season’s arc. “By the time you see the ninth episode of this season, every image in that title sequence will be explained," Murphy tells Entertainment Weekly. “So, for example, What are the jars in the basement? What is the mystery of the floating white Christening dress? Why is somebody holding hedge clippers that are bloody? Each time you watch it and you watch the week’s episode you’ll be able to say, ‘Oh that’s why that’s in there!’”

Whether that all proves to be true, only time will tell. But what’s certain about American Horror Story’s kick-ass credits sequence is its solidification of the show’s all-horror demeanor. As evidence by tonight’s premiere, Murphy and co-creator Brad Falchuk were in a darkly perverse head-space when they conceived this wild property.