AHS 1984 ‘Red Dawn’ – Camp Redwood is Closed Until Further Notice

With a smaller pool of potential victims and a growing number of killers, AHS 1984 has been a busy season. At Episode Four’s conclusion, the surviving counsellors watched as their escape from Camp Redwood burned. None of the counsellors are the slightest bit aware the danger their boss, Margaret, poses. Don’t forget, Donna (or fake Nurse Rita) also watched as supernatural forces resurrected The Night Stalker. And an injured Mr Jingles is still wandering around the camp.

No One Here Gets Out Alive

Things kick off with a Donna Chambers‘ flashback. She’s following her father, who she believes is having an affair. And her suspicions seem to be confirmed when she sees ‘Daddy’ come home with a young woman. But when she tries to confront her father, she finds the poor girl tied to a bed. As it turns out, ‘Daddy’ was a serial killer himself, hence Donna’s later fascination with the subject-matter. Ashamed at his daughter’s discovery, ‘Daddy’ stabs himself in the neck.

…Margaret repays the favour by gutting Xavier.

Meanwhile, in the present time, Xavier has a meltdown when he realizes there’s no getting out of Camp Redwood. Margaret knocks him unconscious, and then spends the rest of the episode dividing the survivors up. First, she tricks Chet into trying to cross the lake in a canoe where she brutally beats him with an oar before letting him drown. When a vengeful Mr Jingles later confronts her, Xavier comes to her rescue, shooting Jingles with several arrows. In turn, Margaret repays the favour by gutting Xavier. As Mr Jingles is dying, The Night Stalker shows up, offering him immortality in return for his pledge to Satan.

Brooke’s Bad Day Gets Worse

Poor Brooke. Her bad day at Camp Redwood just keeps getting worse. She’s able to initially avoid Montana’s wrath when she spots and follows a confused, and very dead, Ray. After some bonding, Brooke loses her virginity to Ray before they both realize he’s actually a ghost. They make that discovery after finding Ray’s head in the refrigerator. A confused and terrified Brooke runs back to find Montana, who finally looks to take her revenge. Everything ends with Brooke stabbing Montana to death in front the newly arrived campers.

Call it a demented serial killer road trip.

So Red Dawn appears to put an end to Camp Redwood’s bloody night. The police arrest Brooke who’s fingered as the murderer by the surviving Margaret. Poor Ray tries to leave the campgrounds in an ambulance, but quickly learns that he’s now stuck there forever in some kind of purgatory. Not surprisingly, Montana acclimates quickly to her new state, killing a police officer. And The Night Stalker and Mr Jingles drive off together in a stolen police car on their way to Los Angeles. Call it a demented serial killer road trip.

Red Dawn Takes Season 9 Down a Wide-Open Road

With so much going on, Red Dawn is light on revelations but heavy on action and dark, morbid humour. Whether it’s Brooke having sex with Ray’s ghost or a bus load of young campers screaming in terror at the sight of her covered in blood, Red Dawn has a perversely fun sense of humour. Murphy and company also continue to make the most out of the slasher genre’s myriad opportunities for horrific death scenes. As good as Emma Roberts and Billie Lourd are in their respective roles (and they’re very good), Gus Kenworthy continues to steal the show as Xavier. Some of the show’s best dialogue has gone to Kenworthy, and he’s made the most of it.

…Gus Kenworthy continues to steal the show as Xavier.

Clearly, at this point, AHS 1984 is intended as more of a satire than straight-forward slasher homage. Murphy and company have emphasized the sub-genre’s more absurd elements alongside the decade which produced it. Like past seasons, AHS 1984 has also detoured from its expected storyline with just a handful of episodes remaining. How this season ultimately ranks overall will depend on how its now wide-open story plays out. Most of the cast is dead and trapped at Camp Redwood. In all likelihood, Brooke will be put on trial for the latest massacre. And three killers – Jingles, The Night Stalker, and Margaret – are still on the loose. Now Season 9 finds itself at a fork in the road. Free of the sub-genre’s AHS 1984 may be able to truly shock and surprise. Or the series could give in to its worts tendencies and go off the the rails.

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I am a Criminology professor in Canada but I've always had a passion for horror films. Over the years I've slowly begun incorporating my interest in the horror genre into my research. After years of saying I wanted to write more about horror I have finally decided to create my own blog where I can share some of my passion and insights into the films I love.

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