This story was written for the Times' high school publication tb-two*.
In its first three seasons, American Horror Story introduced us to ghosts, murderers, aliens, monsters, witches, possessed nuns and evil scientists. Just in time for Halloween season, AHS is back Wednesday with a whole new set of terrors that will make the things that go bump in the night just a little bit creepier.
Welcome to the "Freak Show," Season 4 of the FX series.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, co-creator Ryan Murphy said this season takes some flavor from Florida, based on a 1952 real-life freak show in Jupiter. Sarah Paulson plays conjoined twins, Kathy Bates portrays a bearded woman, Jessica Lange is the ringmaster, Angela Bassett is a three-breasted woman (maybe she took lessons from the Tampa woman) and Evan Peters is the famous Lobster Boy. One big question is whether Peters will still be able to make girls around the globe swoon now that he has traded in his hands for a pair of claws. Considering his racy appearance with a mystery woman in the extended trailer, it seems Peters hasn't lost his charm.
"Murder House," the show's pilot season, was exceptionally hard to beat, the perfect mixture of dramatic romance, lighthearted humor and, of course, chillingly graphic images and edge-of-your-seat suspense. The second season, "Asylum," was disappointing, with a plot that was basically a mosh pit of ideas carelessly strewn together. "Asylum" also ended crossed onto the wrong side of the thin line of social acceptability, making it almost too ghastly to watch.
In an attempt to overcompensate for the brutality of its predecessor, the third season, "Coven," abused the power of comedic relief. For some reason, the main characters had an extreme obsession with singer Stevie Nicks; I guess I missed what was funny about that. Since this is Emmy winner Jessica Lange's final season on AHS, the stakes are set high for "Freak Show." One can hope its new season can redeem American Horror Story by returning it to its "Murder House" glory.
American Horror Story premieres at 10 p.m. Oct. 8 on FX.