AHS: 1984 did not pull any punches last night with its opening. The opening is the most gruesome in recent memory playing well into the slasher genre. Audiences knew the moment those camp counselors started to fool around with one another that they were dead. Part of me still feels bad for the one female counselor. She had many moments of debate to take the proverbial moral high ground. Instead, she watches in complete and utter terror as the killer murders her fellow counselors. In one swift motion of a gardening shovel, she meets a similar fate by Benjamin Richter. The man also known as Mr. Jingles (John Carrol Lynch).
The show’s opener has us believing that the counselors were the only notable kills. Once the camera pans out we realize the massacre that has taken place at the camp involves the campers too. We move into the credits, which plays everything 80s imaginable, including a bad film grain. This enhances the opening credits. Credits accompanied by various blood splatters and blood drips alongside pop culture moments. These moments are seemingly blended with possible foreshadowing to another massacre this season too.
The show does not waste any time introducing us to the majority of the cast this year. The aerobics class introduces us to our main cast this season. We meet Xavier (Cody Fern), Montana (Billie Lourd), Ray (DeRon Horton), Chet (Gus Kenworthy ), and Brooke (Emma Roberts). This season aerobics is as mainstream as big hair again. After the class, the group begins to converse. Xavier tells them all of the opportunity to become a camp counselor at Camp Redwood. They are in desperate need of counselors because of the murder fourteen years prior. A small detail he leaves out of course.
However, he does mention the serial killer in the Los Angeles area. The show used real-life serial killer Richard Ramirez, also known as The Night Stalker. This is the second appearance of The Night Stalker. He was previously seen in AHS: Hotel. In the show, he is suspect of numerous unsolved murders. In real life, the court convicted Ramirez of thirteen murders. For the most part, Xavier talks them into joining him at the camp. He insists he is saving lives. I’m certain audiences will learn he accelerates their deaths.
Brooke is the only person who is not on board with going to the camp. This is understandable considering she just met these people. However, upon looking at what appears to be an engagement ring in her jewelry box. This begs the question of what is going on in her past. After mentioning that serial killers are more active in the summer someone breaks into her home. Thank God for a neighbor who calls the police, that he will come back for her and kill her. This makes her decide that Camp Redwood does not sound too bad right now. The ride in the van to Camp Redwood is reminiscent of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In this case, however, it’s filled with classic 80’s insults while audiences bask in the non-diegetic sounds of Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me.”
Similarly to young people in other horror films, they have to stop and get gas. This, in turn, introduces us to what I have dubbed over the years, the Crazy Ralph character, Roy (Don Swayze). He warns the characters not to go Camp Redwood. This type of character always introduces a cautionary warning to all the teens who know better than their elder counterpart. The saddest part is realizing later on in the episode that Roy is not going to make it either. If kicking the carjacks out from under the car, essentially crushing him. Mr. Jingles then stomps his head in to ensure Roy does not appear in a later act somewhere.
Our group marches forward with their road trip to Camp Redwood despite Roy’s warnings. Instead of picking up a stray hitch-hiker, a moment much like out of I Know What You Did Last Summer takes place. And much like every other horror films, there is always the one guy who insists on covering everything up. A guy who comes up with the story to tell others. Xavier is our man! Despite knowing he hit the guy, he immediately expresses how they all have to have the same story. Xavier wants to leave the hiker there by the side of the road because he is practically dead anyway. If it were not for Brooke the hiker’s death would have occurred much earlier on in the episode. Instead, this occurs later on and places doubts on Brooke’s sanity.
Upon arriving at the camp, they immediately get the hiker help. This is only because of the camp’s owner Margaret Wood (Leslie Grossman). She insists taking the hiker to the infirmary so Rita (Angelica Ross) can examine him. During this time we learn more about the camp and learn more about Margaret’s over the top Christian nature. However, she is the lone survivor of the massacre we witness at the beginning of the show. Can anyone blame her for her need to believe in a higher power after such a tragedy? She claims while telling the story that an angel held her as Mr. Jingles cuts off her ear. This helped her not make a sound. God granted her mercy to live. Thus, Margaret wants a pure and godly summer for the kids coming to the camp. Her rules are simple. The counselors will follow them or so Margaret thinks.
The campfire scene gives us more knowledge of the night’s events. The scene also confirms most of the counselors will break the rules this summer. After all, they are already smoking pot as they roast marshmallows. Soon thereafter, viewers meet Trevor (Matthew Morrison). We also meet his huge talent in the process, which traumatizes ever Gleek for life in the process. Montana and Trevor prove their chance for survival by the end of the season is slim to none. I imagine another massacre will happen toward the end of the season where they will both be killed off. If they survive that long. I also predict that Xavier and Chet will die by the end of the season too. Mainly due to breaking the rules. With Xavier’s phone call maybe he will die by someone else’s hands other than The Night Stalker or Mr. Jingles.
The only two characters I envision surviving the entire season are Ray and Brooke. Brooke is primed to become AHS 1984’s final girl. Ray has a chance of surviving merely on the chemistry between him and Brooke. Plus, out of all the men so far this season Ray seems to be the only decent one around. Brooke’s journey after checking on Ray last evening is far more important. She knows what the rest of the cast will find out. Mr. Jingles is on the loose. He finishes the job of killing the hiker by leaving him on the back of the infirmary door. I imagine Mr. Jingles picked him up hitch-hiking to the camp. Brooke soon realizes the hiker had a reason to freak out upon seeing her earlier when she finds his body. The lightning strike and Mr. Jingles seals the pure terror coursing through her veins.
Upon arriving at the cabin back with the fellow counselors, Brooke is proven inevitably as the girl who cried wolf when they go to search for the hiker. This moment will come into play later on in the season, much like all the other small details this premiere. The premiere episode confirms Mr. Jingles broke out of the mental institution he was sentenced to years ago. The discovery is extremely reminiscent the original Halloween upon Dr. Loomis heading to the institution to check on Michael Meyers. However, Michael did not have to fake his death to escape.
Did the season premiere of AHS: 1984 meet the slasher expectations fans were looking for? Do you think Mr. Jingles or The Night Stalker is more dangerous this season? Do you think Brooke is going to be the final girl? Which character do you think will be killed off first of our main cast introduced during Camp Redwood?
Let us know your thoughts below and continue watching AHS: 1984 every Wednesday at 10 pm EST on FX Network for more chills and thrills.
Michelle Patterson prides herself on her random pop culture knowledge. She finds great joy in all things horror related and tries to enjoy movies on a weekly basis. If she’s not at the theater, she can be found at a convention or a concert. To connect with her more, check out her Instagram page, Twitter Page, Facebook Page, or her website.