American Horror Story: Freak Show Ditches Clever for Bodycount (Review)

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American Horror Story Freak Show in its latest two episodes ditches the clever Ryan Murphy touches which have made the show such a delight and instead focussed on bodycount, taking the series to an even darker place. The descent into increased homicidal tendencies and macabre episodes of violence seem to indicate that Dandy Mott’s inbred madness is contagious. The first episodes of season four had many sly touches of humor interjected with the overall oddness so prevalent in this carnival side show world of human anomalies. One such clever touch was the blending of musical numbers that were out-of-time i.e. anachronistic with the 1950s setting of the series.

Granted, the entire season has been played out with homicide as separate character, portrayed by different people in the town of Jupiter, Florida. The first murdering madman was Twisty the Clown, played with a brilliant tortured insanity by John Carroll Lynch, who was removed from the horror story verse by Wes Bentley’s two faced “demon” who wanted the freak for his otherworld freak show collection. Before Twisty was called home, however, he managed to influence rich kid Dandy Mott enough that he now holds the title as the show’s new serial killer.

Dandy, played with a ghoulish delight by Finn Wittrock, does have a little competition in the serial killer category, however. Spaulding, the entrepreneur and con man, has big plans for the American Horror Story Freak Show inhabitants. As seen already, the bodycount for these unique people is going to increase and Ma Petite was just the beginning. Denis O’Hare has ditched his more affable persona as Spaulding, around Elsa at least, and is cleverly manipulating her into falling under his spell. It is doubtful that he will be too excited about the bearded lady’s death, her body would not reward him enough to sell it on to the museum.

His main target is still the Tatler twins and while Spaulding may be a contender for American Horror Story‘s other serial killer, this wretched man is far too smart to get his own hands covered in blood. Thus far, his only victim was killed by the strongman after being forced to commit murder via the promise that his hanging out in a gay bar would become public knowledge. The information would have caused untold problems. As Maggie pointed out, the only thing that Jupiter residents hated worse than freaks were homosexuals.

Elsa has joined the ranks of killers in the show. It is turning into a sort of race between victims and new killers at this point, with the highest bodycount, since Twisty’s death, belonging to Dandy Mott. The young, mad as a hatter, rich kid has three victims under his belt; the housekeeper, Mother Mott, and the gay hustler from the bar. Pretty impressive for a bored silver spoon kind of guy who got off to a late start. It is obvious that the horror is just starting to mount up from this character’s homicidal tendencies.

Dell Toledo, strongman and father of Jimmy Darling, has at least two. Although he could really have the same count as Dandy since a flashback has him murdering the guy who was trying to cure his homosexual proclivities by sleeping with Dell’s wife Desiree. This murder, however, happened before Jupiter so it really should not count. To show that the acorn does not fall too far from the tree, his son Jimmy has also meted out some murder when he killed the policeman.

The audience has learned, through flashbacks in the Edward Mordrake two part episode, that even Legless Suzi has blood on her hands. It seems that after American Horror Story Freak Show hooked its audience with clever and subtle dark humor, show creator Ryan Murphy is ditching that for an increased bodycount. Next week’s Horror Story episode, titled Tupperware Party Massacre looks to increase Dandy’s victim total and it may even feature a musical number or two.

By Michael Smith



Guardian Liberty Voice