“American Horror Story: 1984”: Brutally Fun “Red Dawn,” Where the End Is Only the Beginning – But Of What? [SPOILER REVIEW]

Combine our professional obsession with uber-creative genius Ryan Murphy (Glee, Pose, 9-1-1, Feud, and a billion more) with our love for 80’s horror/slasher film, and it’s easy to understand why we’re excited for FX‘s American Horror Story: 1984. In fact, executive producer Tim Minear only confirmed our excitement when he said this about the current season of Murphy and Brad Falchuk‘s horror anthology series American Horror Story:

“I think it’s awesome. I think it’s gonna be really scary but a lot of fun, like it always is. And that if you have a taste for ’80s horror, you’re in for a treat.”

american horror story
FX

When we reviewed season opener “Camp Redwood,” we made a connection to both Shaun of the Dead and The Cabin in the Woods when describing how the season’s initial tone and vibe made us feel. Then “Slashdance” happened and… wow. We’re talking false identities, double-crosses, hidden alliances, impalements, and our first major counselor death (sorry, Ray) – all part of an outing that has us feeling that maybe this really is Hell.

Last week’s “True Killers” (our review here) was a fun frightfest that confirmed our worst suspicions about Margaret while actually starting to feel(???) for Richter/Mr. Jingles – and Trevor went RIP.

Which brings us to “Red Dawn”… which not only continued are weekly two scoops of murder and mayhem, but also got our brains back into “WTF?!?” mode. So before we wax poetic on the season’s midpoint (sorry, AHS fans: this season is only 9 episodes), here’s a look back at the preview next week as a MAJOR SPOILERS warning buffer:

“American Horror Story: 1984” season 9, episode 5 “Red Dawn”: As twilight broaches, the survivors brace for a final brawl. Written by Dan Dworkin; directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton.

● Donna’s (Angelica Ross) backstory was a horrific one – the kind you could see coming but you still weren’t ready for once she opens that door. Let’s just say her reaction was more than justifiable. Yet it is a credit to Ross’ on-screen presence that she can pull off heartbreak and understanding – even in a room covered in entrails. It speaks volumes yet again on what we classify as “evil” and on how long we’ve turned a blind eye to mental health issues.

● Ramirez’s (Zach Villa) tapping into Satan’s power has us wondering if the dead-and-then-returning counselors are part of some “countering force” of some type – though this could also be the “shared universe” side of my brain taking over. One thing we’re not buying into is Richter (John Carroll Lynch) giving himself over to Satan – even if The Horned Ones’s the one who brought you back to life. We’re also not seeing him being okay with letting Ramirez loose, but maybe that’s just the “hopeful” part of me talking. Richter’s exchange with Donna and his reason for not killing her has us feeling he still has more to offer in this nightmare.

Though a Ramirez/Richter road trip episode would be pretty interesting…

● Another homage to ’80s horror that I appreciate is a total disregard for reason, logic, or even local history. Margaret (Leslie Grossman) finds herself in the same type of situation twice in her life – but with two different “killers” – and no one bothers to look into the common denominator? And even in the ’80s, someone’s going to figure out that her knife wound to the leg was self-inflicted. Yet, that doesn’t matter here – why? Because it didn’t matter back then – and that’s what differentiates this season from previous: this is bloody, nasty fun that doesn’t apologize for its carnage.

● How long is it going to be before Margaret can realistically open the camps again? A busload of kids watching someone be brutally murdered in front of them can do some serious damge to your camp’s PR campaign – but guess what? This is an ’80s slasher film-honoring season – more logic we get to lovingly throw out the window,

● We get the feeling that Margaret, Xander (Cody Fern), and Montana (Billie Lourd) are going to be working together to keep the killing fields alive – so that leaves Ray (DeRon Horton) with we’re assuming a returning Trevor (Matthew Morrison) and Chet (Gus Kenworthy). Brooke (Emma Roberts) is going to find her way out of police custody and get back into the fray – but will Richter? We’re guessing Donna’s going to look to continue her redemption run – and yet we can’t shake this feeling that there’s something else we’re missing.

If only there was a special milestone episode coming up that could shake up everything…

With all of the carnage and mayhem taking place in and around Camp Redwood, we almost missed a very important occasion – thankfully, Murphy had us covered.

Next week’s sixth episode of AHS: 1984 also marks the 100th episode for the popular horror anthology – so to honor the upcoming milestone, Murphy took to Instagram to post a fan-made image that pays tribute to those who’ve graced the screen over the course of nine seasons – an image that makes us want to start binge-watching the entire thing right now:

So here’s what we know about the season’s sixth episode – which marks the 100th outing for the series:

“American Horror Story: 1984” Episode 6 “Episode 100”: With the horrors of the night behind them the survivors deal with the fallout of their choices. Written by Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk; directed by Loni Peristere.

In case you’re like us and you need to see it for the 166th time, here’s a chance to see the cast in all their ’80’s slasher-film-audition glory:

American Horror Story: 1984 stars Emma Roberts (Brooke), Billie Lourd (Montana), Cody Fern (Xavier), Angelica Ross (Nurse Rita/Donna Chambers), Leslie Grossman (Margaret), John Carroll Lynch (Benjamin “Mr. Jingles” Richter), Gus Kenworthy (Chet), Glee‘s Matthew Morrison (Trevor), DeRon Horton (Ray), Zach Villa (“The Night Strangler” Richard Ramirez), Alhan Bilal (Jamie), and Tara Karsian (Chef Bertie).

FX’s American Horror Story: 1984 slashes its way onto our screens every Wednesday at 10 p.m. EDT.

About Ray Flook

Proudly serving as TV Editor, Ray started with Bleeding Cool in 2013 as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought aboard as staff in 2017. Counting John Cusack as his pop culture "spirit animal," his "word fu" stays strong as he continues trying really hard to be the sheppard...