Whether you love it or hate it or have uncomfortable mixed feelings about it, Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story anthology series has been a fascinating watch. It reboots itself every season, allowing Murphy and co. to create different, and scarier, stories every year. From ghosts to aliens to witches, Murphy keeps finding new ways to outdo himself. Season 4 will center on the performers at a carnival freak show, an already-controversial premise that is making AHS one of the most anticipated returning shows of the year. American Horror Story: Freak Show premieres in October. Here’s everything we know about the season so far.
At the TCA Press Tour, FX CEO John Landgraf spoke about the tone of Freak Show in comparison to the other AHS seasons: “Some years it’s going to be big and bright and brash and campy the way Coven is. Other years it’s going to be dark and brooding — like Asylum was. I guess I would put Freak Show halfway in between the two. It’s not quite as brooding and formal and Hitchockian as Asylum, it’s got a little bit more humor and a little bit more camp, but it’s got a brooding period feel to it also.” Landgraf went on to praise the scripts.
In June, Sarah Paulson revealed on Twitter that she will be playing two characters: conjoined twins Bette and Dot, presumably performers at the titular freak show. A few days ago, Ryan Murphy tweeted another shot of the twins, this time from the back and wearing a hospital gown.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Murphy revealed that Freak Show will be a period piece that takes place in 1950, and that we can look to history for more clues about what the series will center on (one hint: Jessica Lange plays an expat). Murphy later clarified that the season will actually move between two time periods, but it looks like the 1950s is the primary one. Freak Show will still shoot in New Orleans — and FX’s Landgraf noted that, cinematography wise, this season will have a very different look from past ones — but the actual show will take place in Jupiter, Florida.
In addition to Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson, Freak Show will also feature several cast members from past seasons — including Evan Peters, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, and Frances Conroy — all as performers in the freak show. Other returning favorites are Denis O’Hare, Emma Roberts, Jamie Brewer, and Gabourey Sidibe.
Ryan Murphy loves to recycle his actors, but he’s also fond of bringing in new blood to keep every season feeling fresh. The Hunger Games‘ Wes Bentley will guest-star in the two-part Halloween episode as “a dark tormentor from Kathy Bates’ past who is hell-bent on revenge.” The Shield‘s Michael Chiklis will also be a Freak Show newcomer, as Kathy Bates’ ex-husband and Evan Peters’ father.