AHS 1984 Recap: “Camp Redwood” Delivers A Killer Start To Summer

Welcome back, American Horror Story fans! It’s time for yet another terrifying season of the hit horror-drama anthology series, which has proven itself to be very capable of blowing our collective minds (both in a good way and a bad way at times) as it tries to outdo itself with every outing.

This season takes us to the past as we are thrown into the very middle of the 80s, 1984 to be exact, at the height of eighties decadence. We’ve been teased for months now about how this season would be sort-of an ode to the slasher flicks of the 80s, full of fun, thrilling chases, gory effects, and the occasional corny/cheesy moment.

Did the premiere live up the expectations of the crazy 80s? Gather ’round and let us discuss “Camp Redwood!”

Killer Opening: The episode kicks off in 1970 with three camp counselors having a threesome in a cabin full of sleeping campers. One of the women becomes wary of noises she hears outside. A figure then enters the cabin, and the trio is stabbed to death and stacked together. The figure also murders the other campers too. The killer, who has a jingling key chain on his belt, a necklace of severed ears as souvenirs, and a noticeable limp, then leaves the cabin.

Let’s Get Physical: We then flashforward to1984 as we are introduced to the major players: Xavier Plympton (Cody Fern) leading an aerobics class for Montana Duke (Billie Lourd), Ray Powell (DeRon Horton), Chet Clancy (Gus Kenworthy), and Brooke Thompson (Emma Roberts). Montana and Brooke meet and bond in the shower. Montana then introduces newcomer Brooke to the others as Xavier is sharing with the group the terror that the Night Stalker is wrecking on Los Angeles and that he is escaping to the re-opening Camp Redwood to avoid the murders. The others are convinced to join him as counselors at the camp. Brooke passes on the opportunity as she has just started her summer college courses.

Off To The Woods: After leaving the group, Brooke is attacked in her home while in bed, as a Satanist man breaks in and attempts to steal her jewelry. He claims he is the Night Stalker, but he is interrupted before he can harm her. The next morning, after having a change of heart, Brooke joins the group to get away from her attacker. On the road trip, Chet explains that he was denied a spot on the US Olympic team for failing a drug test. When the group stops at a rest area/gas station, Xavier checks his answering machine messages from a payphone, which include a threatening one. The gas station attendant discovers they are heading to the camp and warns the group that they are going to die and that the camp should not have re-opened. The group blows him off and leave only to end up hitting a man along the road. Their victim, an amnesiac man, has older injuries not from getting hit by their van, so they agree to take him back to the camp for medical attention.

Scary Story Time: We are then introduced to the camp’s owner, Margaret Booth, as she instructs the counselors to take him to the infirmary, where nurse Rita tends to him. She explains the perils that could befall hikers. Margaret takes them on a tour and explains the rules. Margaret also tells them about why she took the payout from her husband Walter’s death to buy the camp as she wanted to have a refuge for children that aligns with her conservative Christian values. Later on that night, the counselors gather around a fire and Rita tells them of the incident from 14 years before – the worst summer camp massacre of all time. Benjamin Richter, aka Mr. Jingles, was a Vietnam veteran who was discharged dishonorably. Margaret approaches the group and corrects her about the actual death count as there were only nine; she was a survivor who had a near-death experience while being presumed dead. She was the star witness at his trial after he was caught. She warns the group not to tell the campers about the incident. The man awakes in the infirmary and discovers his ear has been removed.

Love Shack: Brooke, meanwhile, goes to check on the man, and he tells her that they have to leave. She goes to tell the rest of the group when Trevor Kirchner, the activities director, joins them. Montana recognizes him from somewhere, and he explains that he was in an early version of a Jane Fonda workout video but was edited out when his large penis drew undue attention. Later the two begin a sexual encounter in the lake but are interrupted by an approaching storm and car headlights at the edge of the lake.

Asylum Issues: Elsewhere at a facility for the criminally insane Art, an administrator, tells Dr. Hopple that Richter has escaped and hit the master release for all the cells on his way out, causing all the patients to run amok. As it turns out, three hours earlier, Richter appeared to hang himself to lure in an orderly, whom he strangled to death and looted keys from. Hopple, upon searching Richter’s room, finds a newspaper clipping about the camp reopening, giving her a good idea of where exactly the killer is going.

Crushing Blow: As it turns out, the camp is exactly where Richter is going, and on his way there, he gives in to his killing hunger. The gas station attendant from earlier, Ed, who is repairing a car from underneath at the station’s garage bay is his second victim. Richter crushes him by dropping the jacks onto Ed, and drives Ed’s truck to the edge of the camp.

Run Fool!: As the evening progresses, a frustrated Chet injures Ray’s hand while watching the opening ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympics. Brooke seeks medical supplies for him, as Rita chooses not to assist. Brooke finds the injured hiker impaled on a hook in the infirmary and runs away from Richter. She reaches the others, but they do not seem to believe her; the hiker’s body is missing when they investigate. Margaret arrives and reminds them to be prepared for the campers to arrive the next day. Unable to sleep, Brooke hears the payphone ringing (despite the hiker saying earlier the lines were down), goes to answer it while unknowingly being watched by the Night Stalker.

Check out the promo for this season below!

Erika Negrón Rivera
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