‘American Horror Story’ returns for a fourth season, this time set in the macabre world of freak shows.
“I would enjoy being transported back in time to the bygone era when circus sideshows featured human oddities among their gleefully seedy cons—the sword-swallowers, the bearded ladies, the barkers who shouted ‘Step right up, folks, to see the Two-Headed Girl!’”—all of which makes me an ideal audience for Ryan Murphy’s latest edition of FX’s premier scare-fest, American Horror Story: Freak Show according to The Hollywood Reporter. As if there was not already enough hype for this fourth season, this TV review by The Hollywood Reporter will ensure you will not sleep due to excitement for its premiere, tomorrow, October 8th.
According to the review, the filming of the show is of the greatest quality of sets, featuring some Emmy worthy performances. Set in 1950s small-town Florida, the show really delves into the creepy, carny atmosphere of the time: including the dusty fairground floor and layers upon layer of greasy circus makeup. Who knew Kathy Bates would be so successful portraying a bearded lady?
However, is it possible that this season lacks originality? We all know and love the spooky beginning credits that undoubtedly send chills up my spine, but is this season really becoming its own? According to The Hollywood Reporter, the main issue with the premiere was the seemingly lack of an original storyline to move the show beyond its passed three seasons, or even the typical spooky carnival template.
Perhaps this is because the “freaks” in the circus lash out and attack yet still hold on to an underlying, self-conscious demeanor, saying things like “If only people would just get to know us, they would see that we are just like them!” and “we’re people, just like everyone else!”. Maybe this is a little sleepy and been-there-done-that for the reviewers. Additionally, the murderous clown has been seen many times before; although, I do not necessarily think it makes it any less frightening.
To be fair, if there is one thing the show is known for is its unbelievable plot twists, so loyal fans of the show need not worry about being bored as the season proceeds.
American Horror Story could use more of the spirit of William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 novel Nightmare Alley, in which the tricks of the trade are revealed over the course of its portrait of a dowdy carnival. But that would mean being genuinely interested in the power of human desires—lust, ambition, greed—whereas Freak Show is permeated primarily by Ryan Murphy’s typically ironic sympathy for the freaky according the The Hollywood Reporter.