Gutsy series premiere American Horror Story: Freak Show terrifies viewers

Sophia Mackey, Reporter, Artist

On October 8, the macabre series American Horror Story returned with its fourth season and delighted viewers with its familiar freakiness.

This season focuses on a freak show-themed circus full of bizarre characters such as Paul the Illustrated Seal, a tattooed man with phocomelia; Ma Petite, a dwarf; Amazon Eve, an extremely tall woman; Salty and Pepper, microcephalics; Dell Toledo, a strongman, and more.

Along with the new cast members, a few fan favorite actors returned, including Jessica Lange as Elsa Mars, a German amputee ex-cabaret performer who now runs the freakshow; Evan Peters as Jimmy Darling, a boy with syndactyly; Sarah Paulson as Bette and Dot Tattler, two-headed siamese twins; Kathy Bates, a bearded lady; Denis O’ Hare as Stanley, a con-artist; and Frances Conroy as Gloria Mott, a rich woman interested in buying out the freak show. Even some of the best actresses of last season have returned as a  three-breasted woman (Angela Bassett) and a fortune teller (Emma Roberts). Unfortunately, Taissa Farmiga and Lily Rabe are not expected to make an appearance.

Freak Show brings back American Horror Story’s usual creepiness in the show’s fourth season premiere.
Morgan White
Freak Show brings back American Horror Story’s usual creepiness in the show’s fourth season premiere.

When the American Horror Story Twitter account revealed the cast list and their character profiles, many expressed excitement and fear. However, I was skeptical of Paulson’s character (or characters) and how the animation and makeup would make her look realistic with two heads. I feared the melding of the bodies might look cheap or fake like other horror films who tried and failed to do the same. The premiere surprised me with its stunning animation of Bette and Dot’s siamese body.

Despite the title of the show and the series’ previous history of terror, nothing prepared me for Twisty, the petrifying clown with a grisly mask and a desire to kill. Before watching the episode, I felt indifferent towards clowns and viewed them as silly forms of comedy. However, this episode flipped my view on clowns 180 degrees and I am now terrified of them.

In an interview with Buzzfeed News, creator and writer of American Horror Story Ryan Murphy said, “We said in the writer’s room that if we were going to do clowns, we were going to create the most terrifying clown of all time. That was our goal when we were writing him, but I’m worried about people being too afraid of our clown. It’s heart-stopping what he does. I’m worried. I’m worried that people are going to have cardiac arrests..”

While I did not actually go into cardiac arrest, I came close to crying when Twisty ran after one of his victims with a pair of bloody scissors after maliciously butchering her boyfriend.

For anyone terrified of killer clowns, disgusted by two-headed twins, and easily scared by anything even a little creepy, American Horror Story will still please you. Yes, this season practically zeroes in on killer clowns, two-headed twins, and eerie subjects, but the complex characters and mesmerizing plots will have any scaredy-cat begging for the next episode.

The Chant’s grade: A

To read the entire Buzzfeed News article on Twisty, visit this link:

To see posts and gifs of the episode (CONTAINS SPOILERS), visit this link: