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|“||You were right. I am a monster.||„|
|~ Mr. Jingles|
Benjamin Ritcher, also known as Mr. Jingles, is the central antagonist of American Horror Story: 1984, particularly serving as its main villain in the first half.
Jingles is a serial killer who was rumored to be responsible for a spree killing of nine teenagers in Camp Redwood in 1970. However, turned out he was framed by Margaret Booth, who was the true killer. He was later committed to an insane asylum but managed to escape 14 years later and started a new spree killing back to the old place of Camp Redwood, for killing Margaret to seek vengence.
He is portrayed by John Caroll Lynch, who previously portrayed Twisty the Clown in American Horror Story: Freak Show, John Wayne Gacy in American Horror Story: Hotel, Sheriff Bob Ryan in Gothika, and Arthur Leigh Allen in Zodiac.
Benjamin Ritcher was once a veteran from Vietnam War who suffered from being dishonorably discharged. After returning from Vietnam, he took his new identity as a serial killer. In 1970, Margaret Booth killed nine teenagers in Camp Redwood, following bullying at the hands of the other campers. Richter, blamed for the killings, became captive in Red Meadows Asylum, and was subsequently subjected to terrible treatments during his time in the asylum. He was nicknamed as "Mr. Jingles" due to the jingling keychain on his belt. His murder was still told as a haunting horror story.
Fourteen years later, Jingle was visited by Donna Chambers, a PhD psychology student with a keen interest in the recent rise of violence and serial killers. She wanted to study him in his natural habitat and help him escape. By faking his suicide, Jingles was able to take down an orderly by surprise. Then, Jingles took his keys and walked out of his room, while also allowing all of the patients at the mental ward to leave their rooms. This provided him with an ideal distraction as he made his escape.
- Etymology: The alias Mr. Jingles is named after a mouse in the The Green Mile, a 1996 serial novel by American writer Stephen King. It's the pet mouse of one of the inmates at Cold Mountain Penitentiary. His first name Benjamin is named after Benjamin Willis/Fisherman from I Know What You Did Last Summer.
- The characterization of Mr. Jingles pays homages to several classic fictional serial killers in 1980s slasher films, like Michael Myres from Halloween franchise, the aforementioned Fisherman, and more particularly Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th franchise due to being a serial killer who targets teenage campers who have sex near a lake.
- Mr. Jingles is the third main serial killer in American Horror Story series after the Bloody Face from Asylum and the Ten Commandments Killer in Hotel. However, his name is revealed ever since the first episode, making people to speculate whether he is the real killer or just a pawn of someone more evil and insidious.
- Mr. Jingles is also the first main serial killer of the series who has his name revealed in the first episode.