As September winds down and October inches ever closer, more season premieres begin to air. That also means Halloween isn’t far away. What better time time of year for American Horror Story to return?
Aerobics. Neon colors. Retro technology. Pop tunes. And so much bloody nostalgia… Season 9 of AHS pays tribute to so many movies that have come before, it’s nicer to say this is an homage to influential horror movies than to call it a rip off because it’s so much fun to relive the era of the ’80s slashers. Halloween, Friday the 13th and I Know What You Did Last Summer are only a few films that immediately come to mind after watching the season premiere, “Camp Redwood.”
Much like the music playing in the introductory scene, it’s about to be a cruel summer for the main characters… and you may recognize many of the stereotypes that are represented. There’s the roided-up athlete, the super-slutty girl, “The Last American Virgin,” the serial killer who has escaped a mental institution… and the aerobics instructor? There’s also a satanic night stalker and a haunted summer camp which suffered the worst massacre of all time. After watching one episode, I’m liking what I’m seeing so far.
“People don’t realize just how deep these woods are.”
AHS: 1984 is clearly an amalgam of many different movie franchises, but don’t forget all of the many, many storytelling tropes! Hearing the classic tunes of the time are great, but the moody synthesized music is even better, setting the tone for what’s yet to come.
“Nothing bad is gonna happen here.”
Nurse Rita, played by Angelica Ross, is already my favorite. She’s a little too smart for her own good, foreshadowing trouble in upcoming episodes, possibly being one of the first main characters to die, as she is portraying an African-American character. I was surprised to see Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files) pop up as a government employee, but I should have realized it was a natural role for the actor. It also didn’t hurt that Executive Producer/Writer James Wong used to be a part of the Morgan and Wong filmmaking team to work on Millennium and The X-Files. Nice touch.
So far, I’m not really impressed with the writing of Mr. Jingles (Benjamin Richter), but there’s plenty of time remaining to change my mind. The former war veteran of three campaigns collected trophies from his enemies and he was good at killing. That’s all we know about him so far. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if the character actually develops.
“We all gotta die somehow.”
The one character that might actually endure through all this madness is the holier-than-thou Margaret Booth (played by Leslie Grossman). As the final girl from the original massacre and now the owner of the newly reopened summer camp, will she have a repeat performance? And will she get her revenge?
I have to admit this is the first season of AHS that I was actually interested in watching and I can’t wait for the payoff to many of the situations that are set up with this first episode. But there’s one last question I have to ask: Whose decision was to include the music of Frank Stallone in the opening scene? That might be the scariest story-telling element in the whole episode.