‘American Horror Story: 1984’ brings mindless slasher frenzy to small screen

Noah Levine

The ‘80s are back, and they’ve brought aerobics, short shorts and a blood-splattered sleepaway camp with them.  

“American Horror Story” has concluded its ninth season, subtitled “1984.” The show is well known for its anthology format, which tells a unique horror story each season complete with a consistently used cast of actors playing different characters. Season nine, which concluded on Nov. 13, followed a group of counselors working at a sleepaway camp in 1984. On the night before the campers arrive, the gang gets caught in the middle of a battle between several serial killers intertwined with the twisted legacy of Camp Redwood. 

“American Horror Story” repeatedly boasts a robust and unique cast. This season stars AHS alumna Emma Roberts as archetypical good girl Brooke, who sought refuge at Camp Redwood in an effort to leave her traumatic past behind. It was a breath of fresh air to see Roberts portray a sympathetic character as opposed to the villainous roles she has played.

Angelica Ross plays Nurse Rita, a character who ends up being much more than just the camp nurse. Her fierce attitude and performance beautifully complement her layered character. She truly was the standout newcomer of this season and a welcome addition to the AHS roster. 

Rounding out the main leads is John Carroll Lynch as notorious killer Mr. Jingles. While his performance started out as menacing, his character arc lent itself to a more sensitive and gentle performance from Carroll Lynch toward the end. Somehow, he was able to convey a sense of humanity with Jingles despite committing such violent acts on screen.  

The rest of the cast consists of an eclectic group of camp staff who all contribute their own unique ‘80s flair to the show. Standouts include Cody Fern’s sassy Xavier, Billie Lourd’s punky Montana, and DeRon Horton’s strong-willed Ray. The comedic and terrifying cast kept things continuously engaging. 

In terms of tone and aesthetic, “American Horror Story: 1984” completely lived up to its name. It’s essentially a nine-episode-long tribute to the 1980s featuring funky aerobics, eye-catching fashion, classic ‘80s hits, sexual tension and even a retro variation of the AHS title sequence. The season also included its fair share of horror homages in addition to the main storyline being a knockoff of classic ‘80s slasher films. Several key scenes paid tribute to classic horror films like “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th.”  

“1984’s” plot is quite possibly one of the most unpredictable and absurd in the show’s history. What starts off as an episodic slasher film turns into a dizzying journey filled with murderous ghosts, ghost-on-human intercourse, dismembered thumbs, excessive amounts of blood, serial killer Richard Ramirez and even a music festival set on the grounds of a teenage massacre. It’s the absurdity of the plot that kept things entertaining throughout this season’s run. While it was very evident that certain story elements may have been written or condensed along the way  — the show films future episodes as former ones air — the cheesy 1980s setting allowed the absurdity to somehow present cohesively as one macabre and morbid puzzle.

“American Horror Story: 1984” surely isn’t the most seamless entry in the series, but the goretastic and unpredictable insanity ensures that viewers will enjoy the hell out of it. 

4 ghost-human sex scenes out of 5