Review: American Horror Story 1984 – “Camp Redwood”

As Autumn approaches, FX has released its annual tradition just in time for the falling leaves and the chill in the air. The latest chapter in the American Horror Story anthology has arrived, titled AHS 1984. This time around, the series focuses on the slasher era of the horror genre during its prime—the ’80s. With a hook before the opening credits that mixes the eeriness of John Carpenter and Wes Craven with the gritty Grindhouse style of Robert Rodriguez, this season kicks off with a bloody start.

Opening up to an era-appropriate jazzercise class, a group of friends—worrisome of the Night Stalker’s vicious murders throughout Los Angeles—have decided to take a trip to the soon-to-be-reopened Camp Redwood outside the city. One of the friends, Brooke (series regular Emma Roberts), is herself a survivor of a Night Stalker attack. As a bit of an outsider, Brooke joins the group in their road trip to the great outdoors.

RELATED – FX Releases Teaser Trailer For American Horror Story: 1984

Upon their arrival and during a camp fire chat, Camp Director Margaret Booth (Leslie Grossman) informs the group that back in 1970 she was the only survivor of the psychopath Mr. Jingles, the serial killer who plagued the campgrounds. Her testimony as the only survivor of the murders of other camp counselors helped lock Mr. Jingles away in a sanitarium. A perfect moment of foreshadowing, given this is the opening episode to the season.

Meanwhile, it’s discovered that there was a breakout at the sanitarium, releasing the patients out on to the front lawn. As the patients are placed back in their cells, it is discovered that the patient who started the breakout was Mr. Jingles himself—and he is now missing. Cue the ’80s synthesized horror score.

With one very bloody scene featuring Don Swayze, the younger brother of the late, great Patrick Swayze, Mr. Jingles has made his way back to his old stomping grounds with a number of new victims waiting for him. From the season premiere alone, the series clearly shows its dedication to the style of the era while hitting every trope that exists in a slasher film. The potential “final girl” and her sex-driven friends. The wise, older character who warns the group not to go up there, and the group brushing his warning aside. A slasher that is equal parts Jason Vorhees, Leatherface, and Michael Myers. Every box is checked in this entertaining, tongue-in-cheek take on the popular genre.

AHS 1984 airs Wednesday nights on FX, and is available for streaming on the FX app.

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