Afraid of clowns? Well after watching the first two episodes of American Horror Story's fourth incarnation, Freak Show, it's easy to see that Ryan Murphy and Co. are pulling out all the stops to terrorize and terrify us every Wednesday night with a carnivalesque themed plot.
The standard AHS protocol is back: the same actors portraying different characters, the eerie opening (with a new circus-y feel to the usual tune), and a shock value guaranteed to rival any other cable TV show today.
Taking place in the early 50's, in the town of Jupiter, FL, we're introduced to one of the last remaining freak shows in America, struggling to survive in a world newly-introduced to television. The first moments of the show take us to our first "freak(s)", conjoined twins Bette and Dot Tattler (Sarah Paulson), who catch the eye of the freak show's owner, Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange).
While Elsa lines up the twins to be the new headliners meant to save her show, the town is threatened by television's creepiest clown since IT's Pennywise and the intended chaos begins to ensue.
Freak Show looks to be AHS's scariest season yet. Viewers could easily find Twisty the Clown (yet to be named on the show) as a staple in their weekly nightmares, with his lifeless stare, dirty costume, and his deranged wide-smile mask (wait 'til you see what's underneath!).
The talent on this show, as always, bring their A-game. You can tell that Jessica Lange trained like a beast to perfect Elsa's German accent, something that started out distracting but quickly turned impressive. I'm already sensing that the Emmy-makers are in the process of etching her name on a statue as we speak. Her performance is as solid as ever.
Kathy Bates is Ethel Darling, our bearded lady and mother to Jimmy Darling, Evan Peters' ladies man with deformed (and surprisingly talented) hands. Angela Bassett and Michael Chiklis enter in the second episode as a three-breasted hermaphrodite and the world's strongest man, and we're still waiting to see what they'll be bringing to the story.
Another creepy addition to the show is a man-child who drinks bourbon from a baby bottle and is fascinated by freaks, Dandy Mott (Finn Wittrock). When Dandy is introduced to Twisty by his socialite mother, Gloria (played by the phenomenal Frances Conroy), a strange relationship begins to take shape.
What sets Freak Show aside from other seasons is the casting of people with actual deformities. There's a guy with undeveloped arms, a lady who walks around without legs, and the world's smallest women among the "freaks" of Elsa's show. They practically steal the scenes that they're in, and they add an authenticity to the show that the CGI of the double-headed Tattler twins and Kathy Bates' beard are unable to. They take us deeper into this crazy world.
There's a scene in the second episode where Jimmy Darling takes his misunderstood troupe of entertainers out into the world in a failed attempt to have the town get to know who they truly are. Well we're excited to get to know these characters as they add a fresh dimension to this already-incredible new season.
Just be prepared to watch a light-hearted sitcom before heading to bed.