American Horror Story returns with a new setting, a new array of eclectic (and rather scary, in some cases) characters and a whole new narrative for us to get our teeth stuck in to. Freak show is the perfectly apt name of the fourth season of one of the best and most original television horror series’ there’s been in a long, long time. Self-explanatory as always, this season follow the lives of a group of people cast out by 1950’s society, taken in by the astoundingly good Jessica Lange (based on Marlene Dietrich, and sporting a German accent) and trained as acts of one of the last-remaining freak show’s in America. Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Kathy Bates and Frances Conroy all return, once again playing characters completely unlike their predecessors.
For me, the worry of will I enjoy this season, will it be too much (like Asylum proved), or will I have to wait until season five to enjoy it again reigned over me before I began watching. However, twenty minutes in to the hour episode I was intrigued to see where these characters stories would take me, and what horrors would be presented in this so far ambiguous season. Hardly any personal details, apart from physical deformities were revealed leaving plenty of time for those poignant, and often harrowing flashbacks that AHS is now so known for. The most terrifying element so far, is the unnamed and truly haunting murderous clown of Jupiter, Florida where this season takes place. He pulls at the deep-seeded fear that many have of clowns, and gives the previous antagonists of AHS a run for their money.
Monsters Among Us, the seasons pilot premiered giving fans a lot to mull over. Paulson plays Dot and Bette, conjoined twins with spectacularly different personalities who narrate the episode, giving us insight into their sheltered lives. Peters plays ‘Lobster Boy’, a man with syndactyly, making his hands look like lobster claws (the way in which he uses this to his advantage is one of the more humorous moments of the dark episode). Lange takes center stage, which has been the case since Connie Britton’s departure in season one as a David Bowie singing glamor-puss who harbors a secret (well, many I’m sure). The main question for most is what will be the fate for this group; Asylum character Pepper is the first to make a return appearence to the show and the fact that she ends up at Briarcliff doesn’t bode well. I’ll continue to hold out hopes that despite the horror-filled episodes to come, a positive ending could yet be in sight.