American Horror Story S04 Preview: From Heads to Freaks

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I don’t know about you, but I’m still catching my breath after watching season three of “American Horror Story: Coven.” New Orleans will never be the same and neither will television viewers who were offered titillating scripts and outstanding performances from all the cast. What was my favorite episode? Grab your broomstick and find out.

Down Memory Lane

The show was dark in nature, but with Kathy Bates, Jessica Lange and Angela Bassett as the three lead ladies, there was plenty of tongue in cheek dialogue to help us over the large servings of gore and death. I loved the show, but my favorite episode was when Kathy Bates as Delphine LaLaurie lost her head.

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This is when it hit me that the cast of “American Horror Story” were having as much fun filming this series as we were watching it. Kathy Bates was wickedly fun to watch, especially with her raucous interaction with Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe). I’m going to miss the gang at Miss Robichaux’s Academy. The guest appearance of singer and white witch Stevie Nicks was the icing on the cake.

Season four is about to begin on October 8th and this time around the action takes place in Jupiter Florida. Don’t be shy, my little lot lice. For a small price, you can enter the tent.

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American Horror Story: Freak Show

Rumor has it that this season might be the last for the beautiful and talented Jessica Lange. Just don’t seem right, but if it’s true I’m sure that Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett and the other members of the cast will be able to carry on with the same excellence they have shown in the previous seasons, especially under the guidance of creator Ryan Murphy.

This fourth season of “American Horror Story” is centered on the people who are part of the few remaining traveling freak shows still around in the early 1950’s. What do we really know about the people who work and perform in side shows? Since there were still traveling carnivals and freak shows when I was a kid, I have some personal input.

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When I was about fifteen, my mother took me and my siblings to visit a traveling Carnival that had pitched its tents near the FDR Park in South Philadelphia. Along with the rides and games, this carnival featured a Freak Show that was set off to the side. In order to see the world’s smallest woman and the snake charmer, you had to pay extra to enter. With four kids pleading, my mother gave in and paid for our tickets. My siblings and I stopped by each kiosk to watch as the performers intrigued, dazzled or scared the hell out of us with their acts.

One of the performers was a woman with a very large boa constrictor.  Ignoring my mother’s frantic attempts to stop me, I asked the woman if I could pet the snake. She said yes and answered all my questions about the reptile including: what it ate; where it slept; how large it could get. The lady let me pet the snake, but when I asked her if I could hold it, we heard a loud thump. My mother had fainted. She had this overpowering fear of snakes. Needless to say, after she was revived, she dragged the four of us out of the tent and back home. I was grounded for a week. My crime; I made her faint because I wanted to hold the snake.

Conclusion

My experience with the performers of that Freak Show, so very long ago, was cut short by my frightened mother, and it wasn’t until I was an adult and saw the 1932 film Freaks by Tod Browning that I finally understood the world of a circus performer. The film so impressed me that I wrote a post about it for Biff Bam Pop!. Back in the day, if you had any physical challenges, you were shunned as a freak. That, my friends, is a real shame because the only thing I remembered from my experience inside that Freak Show tent was how nice the performers were to all the kids.

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In season four of “American Horror Story,” times are changing and the popularity of the Carny experience is fading fast, but not as fast as the unfortunate performers and townsfolk who have a killer in their midst. The good news is that singer Patti LaBelle will be part of the cast as will Jyoti Amge, the smallest woman in the world.

So step right in as Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) introduces you to her performers, but do be careful of Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch), his act, some will say, is a real killer.

See you all at the Freak Show on October 8th on FX.

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