Let’s do the time warp again… “Episode 100″ of American Horror Story: 1984 disregards the 1984 and takes us time traveling to see how the aftermath of that tragic night at Camp Redwood is affecting our characters, both living and dead. It should also be noted that the episode gets its title from being the 100th episode of the American Horror Story anthology. It starts off in the year 1985 at a cheap motel. A German couple are trying to sleep in their room while music blares loudly. They get up to ask their neighbor to turn it down and the neighbor is revealed to be Richard Ramirez.
Ramirez invites the German woman in, she declines, and then he begins to drag her into the room where we also meet Mr. Jingles. The two of them have been
working killing together for the past year, but Jingles is ready to call it quits. Ramirez reminds him that he still owes Satan a debt for bringing him back to life. We jump to a montage of Ramirez killing while Jingles looks on uncomfortably from the back. They stop at a convenience store before their next kill, where Jingles spots Ramirez’s picture in the paper identified as the Night Stalker. While Ramirez is in the store, Jingles hands the newspaper over to some locals who identify him and chase him down. It felt inevitable that Jingles would turn on Ramirez, who is just pure evil compared to Jingles’ conflicted good guy, but is that such a good idea when he’s apparently made a deal with the devil for his soul?
“It felt inevitable that Jingles would turn on Ramirez […] but is that such a good idea when he’s apparently made a deal with the devil for his soul?”
Leaving that question hanging, the episode transitions from the streets of LA back to the woods, following a naive-looking young hiker as he photographs nature… until he ends up at a cabin from Camp Redwood covered in graffiti, including the words “BROOKE WANTS YOUR BLOOD.” A cut reveals that it’s now 1989. Montana seduces the hiker after asking if he’s a true crime tourist, then brutally stabs him. The old undead residents of the original Camp Redwood massacre urge Montana to stop the senseless killing, but her and Xavier dismiss them and make out, relishing in their bloodbath.
Cut from Camp Redwood to a VERY 80’s tv commercial and we see Margaret doing a cheesy ad for her real estate empire which, ironically, is buying true crime locations and turning them into essentially amusement parks- true crime tourism. This ties into her weird theme of turning places where awful violence occurred (including violence she herself perpetrated) into family-friendly cash grabs. She’s married to Trevor, who tells the camera that the knife barely missed his heart. The irony here is thick, if you recall that Margaret was the one who killed him. The scene of domestic bliss on the tv makes a hard cut to cocaine and chaos as we reveal the real home of Margaret and Trevor.
To explain how they ended up married, we cut back to 1985 where Margaret is in the hospital with Trevor. He says how impossible it seems that she could have survived two massacres unless she was the one holding the knife- he remembers everything. She immediately looks for the police, but he never called them, instead choosing to make a deal with Margaret because she’s extremely rich. She agrees, as long as he marries her because legally no one can make you testify against your spouse. Flash forward to 1989, Margaret and Trevor hear that Brooke lost her last appeal and will be executed. We now see Brooke in jail, being transferred to San Quentin death row where she will be executed by lethal injection. She was convicted on 11 counts of first degree murder. While being led to her cell, Ramirez taunts her through the bars of his own cell (side note, the real life Ramirez did actually stay at San Quentin in 1989).
Back at the haunted campground, Montana and Xavier meet up with Ray who is upset that they keep killing everyone who comes through the camp, insisting that although Montana and Xavier think nothing they do matters, they don’t know what the rules are for the undead. The hikers girlfriend comes back and before Ray can diffuse the situation and save her life, Xavier slits her throat.
Back in San Quentin, Brooke awaits her death sentence and she can hear Ramirez saying how he’d rather go out by electric chair instead of lethal injection. He graphically details the other methods of execution which we can see terrifies Brooke. He offers Brooke a deal to join forces with Satan and be protected from death. Brooke responds by telling him to f*ck off. Ramirez is then shown on the wall with entirely black eyes, an indicator of his demonic possession and the supernatural reason he was able to get inside her head without leaving his cell.
Meanwhile, Margaret is reviewing her finances with an eccentric assistant named Courtney (played by Leslie Jordan, who fans of American Horror Story may remember from Season 3). Courtney tells her a deal has fallen through with her immersive Ed Gein experience and advises her to sell the true crime business while its at its most lucrative, but Margaret responds by saying that murder has always sold. Trevor then walks in with a paper saying “Murder has Returned to Camp Redwood,” thanks to the actions of Montana and Xavier. Margaret sees this as a new business opportunity and begins to plan a Halloween music festival to capitalize on the crimes. Simultaneously in Alaska, a clean shaven Jingles is with his new wife and child. He has a stable job at what is basically a Blockbuster and appears to be going by the name Donald. His wife, who used to be a prostitute, reassures him that they’ve both left their pasts behind and deserve this new life.
“Murder has Returned to Camp Redwood”
Margaret, meanwhile, is hosting a press conference at Camp Redwood to advertise her festival. Chet’s ghost sees Margaret and begins to run at her, furious at her for killing him, but he is stopped by Montana who says with the new festival it’ll be full hunting grounds, including for Margaret. At the same time, Jingles is at home and sees the TV spot about the music festival at Camp Redwood and while he assures his wife that he is over that part of his life and moving forward, the look on his face tells the truth- he’s going to go back. The next scene kicks off with Ramirez getting a visit from what seems to be a new girlfriend or fellow Satanist (or both). They discuss Brooke’s execution before the girl tells him about the Camp Redwood music festival. Ramirez launches into an existential monologue about how he doesn’t want to be a one-hit-wonder like some 80’s bands playing the festival. He expresses his desire for immortality and to not fade into a piece of pop culture trivia. We now have three killers returning for the festival (Margaret, Ramirez and Jingles), not including newfound killers Montana and Xavier who are already lying in wait.
In the final scenes of the episode we follow Brooke as she is brought out of her cell for her execution. She passes by Ramirez who again offers her a chance to bargain with Satan, and she again responds with the middle finger. We push into Ramirez’s cell where there is a pentagram drawn in blood on the floor and the music festival flyer in the middle. He communes with Satan asking for immortality and promising him a river of more souls for hell. The flyer in the middle begins to burn. As her last words, Brooke maintains her innocence and tells Margaret, who is of course in attendance at the execution, to burn in hell. Black smoke, very much like what was coming off the flyer in Ramirez’s cell, begins to creep out of a drain in a bathroom, just as Brooke’s injection is beginning. The smoke possesses a correctional officer, who frees Ramirez. In the execution chamber, Brooke is pronounced dead at 12:02am.
In quiet Alaska, Jingles deals with an angry customer at the video rental store who asked for three horror movies but he gave her feel good comedies instead. He says people shouldn’t watch horror because there’s too much violence in the world. Speaking of violence… he arrives home where his wife has been tragically slaughtered in a scene that looks straight out of the Manson murders. His infant son has a note on him that says “Satan Will Have His Vengeance” along with a flyer for Camp Redwood. Clearly in intense emotional pain, Jingles prepares to return to Camp Redwood and exact his revenge. He leaves his son with an aunt, pulls up his hood and says that he might as well end this because darkness will always follow him. His keys jingle as he walks away. Back in jail, the episode ends with Brooke being brought back to life by none other than Donna the psychologist.
This was probably my favorite episode in the series thus far, as it was fascinating to see how the characters were doing 5 years after the night at Camp Redwood and how they are all being driven to near insanity by either greed, money, desire for fame or desire for revenge. Do you think anyone will survive the music festival? Let us know on Twitter, in the Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit, and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club!