American Horror Story Freak Show: Tears of a Twisty Clown


American Horror Story Freak Show used the second half of the Edward Mordrake two parter to show the origins and tears of Twisty the clown. When the legendary carny myth showed up at the freak show’s Jupiter, Florida campground, drawn by Elsa’s rehearsal on Halloween, it seemed the the purveyor of the attraction would be the victim required by the “boogeyman” of the circus world. Instead, the “two-faced” ghost, or demon, learned of several freaks’ deepest secrets, sins and hopelessness. A penalty that all had to pay after Mordrake visited them.

Each of the show’s members that Edward questioned, in order to ascertain whom he would take with him, told touching and disturbing stories about their journeys to Elsa Mars and her Freak Show. Ms. Mars with her past in the German sex trade, which she tells Mordrake about, starting in Berlin 1932 and how it was all sexual chaos; animals, amputees, hunchbacks…Elsa reveals that even in that “dark trade” she was a star. According to her, she was special, right up until she was the unwilling participant in a snuff film where she should have died, only to survive because one of her clients saved her.

As Mordrake starts to take Elsa and make her a permanent member of his dead freak troupe, he hears the music from Twisty the Clown’s toy piano. Even though the demon on the back of his head has said that Mars is the one, Edward hesitates and goes to Twisty, inadvertently saving Jimmy Darling’s life in the process. While the murderous clown’s victims escape, much to Dandy Mott’s major annoyance as killer clown in training, Mordrake listens to the badly deformed children’s entertainer as he tells of his beginnings.

In American Horror Story Freak Show Twisty was a “special” clown and the good natured man, whose mother dropped him on his head when he was small, “it was an accident, too many cocktails,” went tearfully on the run to Jupiter, Florida after the dwarves in the carny accused him of doing bad things to the children. Upon his return, Twisty is accused once again of doing “twisted” things to kids, by the toy store owner in the small town, the same man who becomes a victim later on.

When Edward Mordrake asks him about the children, the clown explains that he took them from the freaks, killing their parents and how he got the kid’s a baby sitter. He clearly does not understand the depths of his evil acts and his “innocence” causes the demon on the back of Mordrake’s head to weep. The second face tells Twisty in American Horror Story that he is the one they want and the clown is then stabbed to death.

Jimmy witnesses the death and the resurrection of Twisty. When Dandy Mott returns, after losing the escaping victims, he finds his “mentor’ dead and picks up the scary teeth that the clown wore and puts the mask on his own face. Later the all American rich-kid murderer “in training” kills the housekeeper while wearing the teeth. He has finally graduated from small animals to people.

In American Horror Story Freak Show, Twisty the clown will shed no more tears and kill no one else. He has joined Mordrake’s doomed troupe of freaks and Dandy is now the new Twisty, sans the deformity of his shotgun blasted mouth. By the end of the show, the only tears left to be shed are those of the audience who will be moved by the residents of Jupiter coming out to thank the freaks for saving the town from Twisty. American Horror Show airs Wednesdays on FX.

By Michael Smith