Horror stories are made to engage your whole body. They make the hairs on the back of your neck perk up.
They force you to wince or close your eyes. While Season Eight took us forward to an apocalyptic future, Season Nine takes us all the way back to 1984: the height of big hair, leg warmers, the Jane Fonda aerobics craze, and summer-camp horror films.
After surviving an attack by the so-called Night Stalker, new-in-town Brooke runs away with her friends to Camp Redwood to be a counselor for the summer. Of course, it isn’t until after they arrive that they discover Redwood was the site of “the worst summer camp massacre of all time” 14 years before. Moreover, the new owner of the camp, a woman named Margaret, was the only survivor of that carnage.
Margaret claims that Jesus saved her life and helped her to stay silent and motionless as the killer cut off her ear and added it to his necklace of “trophies.”
Her purpose in reopening the camp was to take all of her horrible memories and turn them into something happy, to create a safe and wholesome place for children to spend their summers.
The series has been hailed by critics and frequently nominated for Emmys. But make no mistake: American Horror Story is flat-out, over-the-top, take-no-prisoners weird—perfect fodder for the snarky riff-meisters on Mystery Science Theatre 3000.
Or it would be if Tom Servo and Crow could manage to crack jokes between the gasps of horror and disgust they’d surely utter.
Each episode overflows with more sex and gore than you’re likely to see anywhere else on basic cable. Slate’s Troy Patterson once called the show “deliberately unhinged” and “a showcase for scenery-chewing and giddy blasphemy, an exploitation chamber piece.”
Had Edgar Allan Poe seen the script for just one of these episodes, he would’ve laughed himself silly then buried the whole mess under the floorboards while glancing furtively over his shoulder.
It’s a slow episode that doesn’t feature some sort of murder, mutilation or scene of torture before every commercial break, most featuring R-level blood and gore.
And when the violence wanes, it’s often replaced with sexual deviancy and enough anti-religious, often blasphemous messages to make marble statues openly weep.