01 November 2019 02:37
This American Horror Story review contains spoilers. American Horror Story Season 9 Episode 7 Camp Redwood, like every summer camp from every horror movie, has a tragic backstory. Camp Redwood's tragic history goes back to the camp's very beginnings, as a post-war America looking for a place to send the Baby Boomers for the summer opened summer camps in droves, like Camp Golden Star. It's great for all those kids of Gis who came home from the war, but for war widow Lavinia, the camp is a chance for her awkward sons Ben and Bobby to meet other kids, get some fresh air, and have a free place to live. Lavinia turns out to be a great role for the brilliant and much-missed Lilly Rabe, who absolutely storms onto the screen from the opening moments of the episode (where she up-charges a child for licorice and pockets the difference) and holds that strong performance throughout the episode as a grieving, vengeful spirit known as the Lady in White, who terrorizes not only visitors to Camp Redwood but also her fellow spirits, chasing them down and murdering those who aren't fast enough or smart enough to get away from her.
read more: Our Review of American Horror Story 1984 Episode 6 But by connecting Mr. Jingles (who put half of the ghosts in the camp), Margaret (who put the other half of the ghosts in the camp), and Lavinia (who is the reason all those souls are trapped in the first place), it elevates the camp simply from a place that's evil to a place that's tragic, after a fashion. She was a troubled woman even before Bobby's tragedy, but that pushed her over the edge completely, and seeing her son flirt with a camp counselor was enough to cause her to push at Margaret's fraying nerves and push her over the edge—she also apparently planted the idea in Margaret's head to blame everything on Ben. Rabe in particular leans into her material hard, and as an AHS veteran, she knows how to play up the campier aspects of her wailing widow character by chewing every bit of scenery she can find and spitting it back aggressively into the face of Lynch, who uses his considerable size to good effect by visibly shrinking in the face of his mother's wrath, only to steel up when his mother (clearly always a manipulator) tells him that the only way to accomplish his mission to stop Richard Ramirez is to take away the one thing that makes him vulnerable, his life. In Liz Friedlander's hands, roller skating actually looks like fun, rather than a great way to get battered. That chance trip leads to a chance meeting with Bruce (Dylan McDermott, also returning to AHS and also having a blast playing a murderous sleaze bag), who sees two potential victims. Brooke is a much different person after spending 1824 days in the California penal system as a maximum security prisoner, and Rita knows more about the psychology of serial killers than anyone alive at this point.
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Up until this point, it's been unclear why Montana, Xavier, and the rest of the ghosts have been trapped at Camp Redwood on AHS: 1984, but the Oct. 30 episode finally provided some answers: a blood curse was put on the camp that prevents them from moving on to a more permanent afterlife. As it turns out, 1970 wasn't the first time a massacre was committed at Camp Redwood. Back in 1948, when the place was called Camp Golden Star, Mr. Jingles' mother served as the head cook and went on a killing spree after her youngest son, Bobby, died in a tragic accident. The way Mr. Jingles tells it, his mother's death is what set the curse in motion, forcing anyone who dies on the camp's hallowed grounds to remain there in a ghostly state forever. The Curse Gave Camp Redwood Its New Name A decade after Mr. Jingles' mother slaughtered the counselors, the place reopened with a brand new name: Camp Redwood. Considering how much blood was spilled during its Golden Star days, it's easy to see why the name was changed — and why "Redwood" was chosen. Mr. Jingles' mother admitted that, after seeing how taken he was with Margaret, she planted the idea of the massacre by whispering in Margaret's ear. She wanted to take away the thing he loved most, just like he had to done to her with Bobby. However, when Mr. Jingles' mother was trying to convince him to die by suicide, part of her argument was that if he did it, he could wander the camp forever. It's possible she was just saying this to get him to go through with it, but if not then these ghosts are doomed to remain on these cursed grounds until the end of time — and a lot more massacres could end up happening at Redwood. American Horror Story: 1984's season finale looks set to get an appearance from a familiar face. Meanwhile, creator Ryan Murphy has questioned whether American Horror Story should keep going. American Horror Story: 1984 airs on Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX in the US.