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American Horror Story: 1984 9.3 Review – ‘Slashdance’

October 3, 2019 | Posted by Wednesday Lee Friday
American Horror Story - Slashdance
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American Horror Story: 1984 9.3 Review – ‘Slashdance’  

We pick up where last week’s cliffhanger left off. Who is pounding at the door? It is Jingles coming to kill them? Margaret making sure they’re not drinking or getting their giggity on? Ramirez, um…also coming to kill them? This week, we got our answer. To my mind, it was half of exactly what we expected.

Before we get too far into things, we need to discuss whether or not all of these people are dead and the camp is Purgatory. Our main camper group has near-death experiences in their recent past. Xavier almost died on the street. Brooke could have easily been shot at her wedding. Chet was suicidally depressed after his booting from the Olympics. Ray could have fallen over the cliff with Chan. Margaret and Jonas could have died on the campground, but at different times. So, we have to at least consider that this camp is a stopping point for the recently deceased, or those who have a debt to pay before they can ascend. We’d never say American Horror Story is clean Christian programming—but it does seem to exist in a world where God, the Devil, and souls are all real.

There are groups of campers in two locations, each one featuring a pounding lunatic. At one door—Ramirez legit trying to kill Ray, Chet, Brooke, and Nurse Rita. At the other, Xavier, Trevor, and Montana are merely being harassed by jackassy townies. Said townies are soon killed by the real Mr. Jingles after confessing that they made the creepy phone calls. This murder is, of course, the same thing that happened to the dudes who impersonated Bloodyface in “Asylum.” Anyway, there’s chasing, breaking up groups, and Ray demonstrating his cowardice over and over again. He does take a gnarly slashing at the hands of Ramirez. There’s another, sort of wimpier fake Jingles, who I would swear was Jack Black. Seems like if it was though, we’d get a clear shot of his face. We do think for a minute that this pretender is going to trot along after the real killer—which would be sort of a Dandy Mott / Twisty thing.

Speaking of “gnarly” stuff—that word was used in the 80s. But it was used predominantly in a positive way—an exclamation—like “Cool” or “Awesome.” Xavier is way ahead of his time using the modern (and ironically older) meaning of the word, which means to be treacherous or difficult. Getting impaled in a punji pit is indeed gnarly, if not especially “gnarly.” While Chet is impaled and Ray is trapped with him—Ray reveals another tale of his cowardice.

If you’ve ever seen the 80s-horror classic Ghost Story, you’ll know that it features one of those we-accidentally-killed-someone-but-while-dealing-with-the-body-we-see-they-weren’t-really-dead stories. Those got popular for a while, so it’s perfect for this season. Sucks to be Chan. Odd though, that the forced drinking wasn’t a problem for Ray. Nor was whatever pantsless circle jerk party these frat-fellas were getting up to. Note: This is not the same fraternity from “Coven,” though both frats contain the letter Omega.

When Brooke is drugged by Nurse Rita, we’re not exactly shocked. But we do have questions which are answered with a flashback. What do we learn? The woman we knew as Nurse Rita is actually named Donna Chambers. There is a real Nurse Rita, whom we meet and who Donna hasn’t actually killed. Donna’s motives begin with her desire to prove that serial killers have external factors that enable them to kill without remorse. Wanting to figure out killers to prevent more is a swell idea. Donna’s views sound antiquated, but we still don’t know much more about what makes a serial killer now than we did then. Head trauma, organic illness, and childhood abuse all correlate with serial killing, but not always and not in the same ways.

Even then though, helping a killer escape so they can be observed is…insane. “The Reawakening of Mister Jingles” sounds like a book Lana Winters would write. I agree with “evil” being a construct we use to define what we don’t understand, rather than a chemical or physical state of being. But like any mad scientist, she’s going about it all wrong. In case you’re wondering, the killers Donna mentions are all real. Freeway, Butcher/Baker, Trash bag killer, are the ones not everyone knows. Donna gets through to Richter in no time, and I’m beginning to wonder why Mitch Pileggi is being so criminally underused.

Here’s the thing though—we also learned that Richter has no memory of the campground murders. It’s absolutely possible that he didn’t kill anyone, and that Margaret and maybe her husband were responsible all along. Jingles does appear to murder the real Nurse Rita though. Would that make him “irredeemable?” How would it have anything to do with pornography? Also…did nursing IDs not have photos back then? Donna and the real Rita look rather dissimilar. We still don’t know what’s really motivating Rita. Who has guesses?

It was after Nurse Rita’s murder that I noticed how awesome Cody Fern is. I hadn’t seen him in anything else before last season—where I loved him as the kid Michael but not so much after he came into his power. This season he’s a fun but complex character and Fern is really running with it. Billie Lourde is delightfully evil as Montana, which is fun after her being so sweet last season. Emma Roberts as the virgin is fun, but if she turns out to be on the level, I have to think she’s going to have a major meltdown before the end of the season. Maybe she’ll be one of those chicks who is so afraid of everything she’ll start killing others out of fear.

The music this week was awesome. Nobody listens to Kajagoogoo anymore. We also heard more Hall & Oates, and Billy Squire—who I totally loved back in the day. There’s also that score in the background that’s just a lot of noises and howling sounds. I wonder if they’re using their own version of the Nightmare Machine.

The last segment of the week has our main cast figuring stuff out, while others are conspicuously absent. Ray finds Xavier, Trevor, and Montana—telling them Chet was with him but he lost him. Lie! That’s gonna be hard to explain given that Xavier and Trevor did find Chet and get him out of the hole. When a killer approaches, Trevor utters the exceptional line: “His knife versus my guns” before throwing the killer into the pit. Anybody else hear the exasperated voice of Christina Applegate from Anchorman? “Stop calling your arms guns!” But whoops—it’s not the real Jingles—it’s the pretend Jack Black.

Ray and Montana are supposed to be going for help when Ramires shows up. Dang! Ray once again splits like a coward. Jingles (or someone else in that raincoat—we know Margaret has one) gives Ray a death straight out of Friday the 13th pt 3D. I’m not fussed about it. Ray sucked. But wait…will Montana be killed by the Night Stalker?

We know she carries a knife. Maybe she’ll get her own stabs in. But we also know that Richard Ramirez doesn’t die in a campground. It appears that Montana is Ramirez’s friend or partner or lover or boink-buddy. We can’t be positive since Montana is rather…adventurous. What we do know is that she wants to know why Ramirez hasn’t killed “her” yet. We presume this means Brooke, but are we certain?

Conspicuous absences this week include Chef Bertie and Margaret herself. How could they both be completely missing through all that running, chasing, screaming, blood flying, cars and bikes coming and going, and a tied up but alive nurse stashed in one of the buildings? There’s sure to be more fuckery to come. I still don’t have a clear sense of where we’re headed with some of these characters—it’s hard to guess where they’re going since they’re all hiding so much. This week gets a high rating thanks to the new information, cool killings, and excellent performances all around.

See you’s next week!

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
Ray, you're a damn coward. Now that the obvious it out of the way, revealing flashbacks abound this week. We see homages not just to the slasher genre and 80s horror in general—but it seems that our beloved show is sticking to last season's theme of spoofing itself.