American Horror Story: Freak Show
Season 4 Episode 1 “Monsters among us”
American Horror Story hit our screens after a largely anticipated return. We were quickly introduced to Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) and the other characters. Jessica Lange performs brilliantly and it was a surprise to find out that she isn’t just fame-hungry. She’s paraplegic and fame-hungry. Evan Peters is back with lobster hands, playing Jimmy Darling. We meet the very likeable Bette and Dot Tattler (Sarah Paulson). The relationship between the two is funny and very entertaining to watch. We see Ma Petite played by Jyoti Amge, who is actually the smallest woman in the world – claiming a Guinness Book of World Records title. Providing the terror in the first episode, and possibly the title, is Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch). If killing an innocent couple isn’t enough, he also keeps two young children locked up and terrifies them to the point of torture. “There’s a big story that explains the clown and what he’s doing that’s based on an urban myth we uncovered” revealed director Ryan Murphey. It is the fourth season that will explain to us what we are eager to know about Twisty, so stay tuned.
Kathy Bates comes across far too tame playing the bearded lady. Her acting skills are capable of providing a more sinister and malicious character… but this could be exposed throughout the season. We will meet Angela Bassett next week who is Desiree Dupree, the three-breasted lady (and according to her a “full-blown hermaphrodite”). We are also yet to meet con artist Maggie Esmerelda (Emma Roberts) and strongman played by actor Michael Chiklis.
We know from the previous seasons to expect; brutality, rape, seduction, distressing scenes of violence, racism, discrimination and so on. Sensuality and seductiveness has always been a huge part of the show which has interested us, the mature audience, because of its candid approach. I have never had any issues with the previous scenes of this nature, sure I’ve been like “what the hell” during rape scenes but it’s never disgusted me to the point where I feel nauseous. That is until now. Prior to watching this episode I generally perceived that the freaks were ostracized from the “normal” townsfolk. I wrongly assumed that the freaks would be considered vermin, and that even making eye contact with one could result in receiving the cold shoulder from ordinary people living in the area. What I see instead is quite the opposite. In one scene Jimmy Darling, who has lobster hands, can be seen pleasuring regular women with his deformities. Women are literally lining up to pay for this. We see him moving his lobster hands towards the woman’s sex, leaving absolutely no room for doubt that he is prostituting his deformed hands. This left me feeling slightly bewildered more than anything because I just cannot believe that that many women, if any, would be sexually intrigued by this man with lobster-like hands. The moment of nausea smacked me in the face when we see Elsa Mars watching a video reel. A young woman enters threatening to expose all of the shenanigans happening behind the scenes at the freak show. It soon becomes clear that the young woman was willingly high on opium and whilst she was so, she took part in a sex orgy with the freaks. This is the most unsettling scene American Horror Story has offered us to date. Pepper getting excited like a child in the clip intensified my feeling of horror and I was left feeling utterly shocked. If the programme continues to show these depraved acts, which I’m sure they will, I’m not sure how much my stomach will be able to handle.