‘AHS: 1984’ rivals ‘Murder House’

Reviews

“American Horror Story” is a television series where each season of the show has its own plotline, with a different set of characters and a new setting. Some plots are fictional, but most are loosely based on historical or current events. Many of the actors appear in more than one season, but they always play a new character because of the different stories.

The latest season (season nine) started airing on the FX network on Sept. 18, 2019, and the finale is set to air on Nov. 13, 2019. The producers of the show have titled this season “1984.” As of now, only seven episodes in, I can confidently say that this season is one of the best yet. The show’s first season titled, “Murder House,” in my opinion was the best season. It takes place in Los Angeles and deals with the Harmon family, Dr. Ben Harmon, Vivien (his wife), and their daughter Violet after they move into a new house that just seems too good to be true. After a home invasion and a series of unfortunate events that occur in that house, we finally understand what is happening in this villa in LA.

I feel like having the show set up in episodes amps up the horror aspect and makes it ten times better than watching a regular horror movie. First off, the run time is drastically different. “American Horror Story” seasons usually have about 10-13 episodes each about 45 minutes long which is so much longer than a movie that lasts 90 minutes. This allows for a much more complex plot and character development which is a key component of the success of the show. Also, the episodes are set up so that in the first one, we get some historical context about the setting of the season.

Then it starts getting very complicated towards the middle of the season, and finally by about episode seven, we start finding out crucial information that changes everything. So as the season goes on, the plot gets more complicated, but at the same time becomes easier to understand because we learn more.

While “Murder House” still remains my favorite season (and the one I think is the best), “1984” is so good so far. “1984” is set in, you guessed it, 1984, at Camp Redwood. It’s inspired and influenced by classic horror slasher films such as “Friday the 13th” and “Halloween.” In 1970, Camp Redwood faced a huge massacre by a serial killer who goes by Mr. Jingles, and in 1984, a group of five young staff members returns to help bring back the camp. These friends are from Los Angeles and are encouraged to leave the city for the summer due to the rising crime and murder.

One could argue that the main character is Brooke Thompson, played by Emma Roberts. This is because the season starts when she meets the other four people she will go up to the camp with. She quickly becomes friends with them, and one of them proposes the idea of working at a summer camp together, and they all agree to go. All is fine and well until they get to the gas station and the worker there warns them not to go to Camp Redwood due to the mass murder that occurred there 14 years before. They still continue, ignorant of the danger they are about to get themselves into. In order to create conflict, Mr. Jingles escapes from the asylum he is in and comes back to the camp in order to finish what he started. Of course, this plot is too simple for the producers of “American Horror Story,” so more villains are introduced. The character development behind Mr. Jingles also reveals so much about what truly happened that night of the massacre. I won’t spoil much because the show is still airing, but I will say that this season throws you for a loop – as all “American Horror Story” stories do.

Unlike other seasons, “1984” gets right to the point and does not drag that first episode out. Some other seasons do that, and it makes it difficult to get past the first couple episodes. The new season however has so much action and scares in the first and second that make viewers want to keep watching.

I’d advise some viewer discretion, as this season like most other “American Horror Story” seasons is very gruesome and violent. It also has many jump scares, and if you don’t do well with horror movies, maybe this isn’t the show for you. However, if you’re a fan of scary movies like I am, I highly recommend watching it.

The good thing about “American Horror Story” is that none of the seasons have anything to do with the others, so you can watch them in whatever order you want. My favorites are “Murder House,” “1984,” “Roanoke,” and “Cult.”

The first eight seasons are on Netflix, and the first couple are accessible by Hulu. If you want to start by watching the newest season, all of the episodes are available on “fxnetworks.com” if you sign in with your TV provider.