‘American Horror Story’ Season 4 Carnival Setting Confirmed

Published 1 year ago by

Emma Roberts and Taissa Farmiga in American Horror Story Coven Episode 8 American Horror Story Season 4 Carnival Setting Confirmed

FX’s horror anthology series American Horror Story was renewed for a fourth season just a few episodes into the Coven storyline (i.e. Season 3), and there’s been much speculation since then as to where the series might go next. After exploring a haunted house, a mental asylum and a coven of witches, the scope for spooky settings still remains pretty limitless.

Star Jessica Lange has said that she will leave American Horror Story after the show’s fourth season, which only makes it all the more important that the writers come up with something special for her final bow. Co-creator Ryan Murphy has said that the season will be set in 1950 and that Lange will have a German accent, but aside from that very little has been confirmed.

Until now, that is. Speaking on the Nerdist Writers Panel podcast, Douglas Petrie – a writer and co-executive producer on the show’s third season – was quizzed about rumors that American Horror Story season 4 would be set in a carnival, to which he replied, “That’s the idea, very roughly that’s the idea.” He also added that work has “just started” on season 4, and that it does not yet have a title.

Tod Browning Freaks American Horror Story Season 4 Carnival Setting Confirmed

There’s plenty of scope for horror in a carnival setting, though anything involving the kind of sideshows that were used for entertainment during the 1950s would probably have to be treated delicately. Perhaps the best known carnival horror is Tod Browning’s 1932 film Freaks, in which a beautiful trapeze artist hatches a plan to marry one of the sideshow performers – for whom she has nothing but contempt – in order to win his inheritance. Her plan backfires, however, and she ultimately ends up living her worst nightmare.

American Horror Story is a show that’s no stranger to courting difficult subject matter; Coven, far example, deals with the treatment of slaves and modern race segregation. In general Murphy and Brad Falchuk seem to take a keen interest in telling stories about outsiders who struggle to fit in with the rest of society, so it will be interesting to see what kind of characters get cooked up in the new carnival setting.


American Horror Story will return to FX in fall 2014.

Source: Nerdist Writers Panel (via STYD)

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
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  1. I’m a huge fan of American Horror Story but I was hugely dissapointed with Season 3 Coven, especially the last few episodes and the finale. Story wise it was just all over the place and didn’t seem to know where it was going or what to do with half its characters. That final American Idol style Seven Wonders test in the final episode was just embarrassingly bad.

    The writers can do way way better and lets hope they do for Season 4, I look forward to it, not too concerned about the setting as long as the story is top notch.

    • Yeah, I agree. I like the show a lot but Season 3 was hit and miss..it was going pretty well until maybe the final third. Season 2 was pretty good, but season 1 has been superior so far. Personally I was hoping they would do something with Werewolves but a carnival sounds like it could be good.

  2. Probably should’ve gone with the alien sci fi stuff I hoped for initially when rumours started around the end of Coven.

    Saying that, the only decent season this show had was Asylum so I’m out, regardless how talented Jessica Lange and Lily Rabe are.

    • Asylum was a meandering slog compared to the extent firsr season and the most recent.

  3. So excited! I was hoping for season 4: carnival and now they are making it happen! Hope it’s as good as season 1 and 3 and doesn’t fall flat like asylum did.

  4. So far the show is hit & miss for me. The first season was just kinda there for me, the third season which just finished was cheesy to the extreme with a revolving door of death which completely negated any emotional investment fans might have in the demise of characters because 9 times out of 10 they were going to just bring the character that they had just killed back an episode or two later, but the second season represented true greatness & was extremely powerful as far as I’m concerned. So hopefully Jessica Lange’s final season will be more like season 2 & less like 1 & 3 or the brilliance of season 2 will just look like a fluke & I’ll probably give up on the show following Lange’s departure just like a lot of fans will. As Meatloaf might say 1 out of 4 IS bad!

    • Season 1 was the best by far in my opinion.

  5. Kudos to Disney for signing Angelina Jolie! Great casting!

  6. I am so excited about another season of American Horror Story coming up. I agree with previous comments about the finale of the 3rd season, but The Coven is on the top of my list out of the series. Season 2 had too much going on. Season 1 had me hooked from the very first episode. Continue to keep me entertained. Thanks!

    • Damn, I missed season 1-2 I must have been watching something else. However, I watched Coven and I really liked it. So how do I get to watch the first two? Maybe Netflix.

      • you can buy the seasons at walmart

      • Yeah, the first two seasons are on Netflix.

      • Yes season one is on netflix. And I dont have netflix anymore but friends have told me season two is on there. I loooovvveeeddd season one and am excited to see two. And I thought three was pretty good and cant wait for four!

  7. This could either be great or terrible. I loved season one. I love that every season is different. I loved parts of season two although I didn’t think it matched up with season one and I really didn’t care for the alien thing at all. Season three I again loved some parts I rolled my eyes at parts. I don’t think season two was genius as others have said. It was on the verge of almost there but then brought in the whole alien thing. It would have been better to have had him not so much crazy but drugged or something.

    I thought this season the whole thing presented one giant wasted opportunity. they had all these great elements but just kind of well wasted every single one, Marie Laveau and Madam Lalaurie two great characters two great actresses and they turned Laveau into a supernatural thug, according to history she was anything but a thug, And she was considered to be a well spoken woman well not according to this show. I thought what they did with Lalaurie wasnt that bad but they should have done more.

    As far as the whole revolving death door another wasted opportunity, with Kyle they started it well they showed some kind of bad side to being brought back from the dead but then with other characters it was like who cared they died and now they aren’t dead anymore who cares. ridiculous.

    As for the carnival theme it has alot of possibilities and I don’t think going the way of the above mentioned movie would be a bad move honestly hell why not remake the movie I think that would be a pretty decent idea. We shall see just hope they dont waste so many good opportunities as they did this season.

  8. Wow, I can’t believe that so many people didn’t like Coven! That was possibly my favorite season so far! I do LOVE witches though. And I LOVED the characters! My favorite was probably the witch (forgetting her name right now) who loved Stevie Nicks… she was awesome! It was also cool to see Stevie make a cameo on the show :) The first season was also a favorite of mine. It definitely had a LOT going on, a lot of suspense, a lot of everything! Season 2 was my least favorite. I didn’t really get into all the stuff about the aliens in that season. But still, it definitely had me hooked for sure!

    With that said, I’m SUPER excited for season 4! I think the carnival setting would be FANTASTIC and I hope they DO play up the sideshow acts! The author of this article said that subject would have to be “treated lightly” but I don’t think it should. Everything is politically correct in today’s society, but we can’t hide the historical facts that it wasn’t always like that. Season 2 didn’t tread lightly on the way that people in mental institutions were treated back in the day, and in season 3 they didn’t ignore the fact that slavery did in fact used to be a thing and racism was real and is still real today. What gives American Horror Story even more credibility is when they play up REAL scenarios. Even in season 2 they had the lesbian couple which wasn’t the popular thing back in the day and they didn’t pretend like it was. Plus they had an interracial couple which was even just as taboo as homosexuality back when the season took place.

    I think “digging up the past” and playing up old carnival sideshow “freaks” is a fantastic idea. It’s actually a very similar concept to season 2, which I see many people who loved that season are not thrilled about the next season. Our own REAL history is pretty horrific at times, and I think to play up those things really gives AHS that extra real and creepy element which keeps us coming back for more!

  9. I am a true fan of American Horror Story. I loved all 3 seasons but I agree season 2 should of kept out the whole alien thing. Other then that I absolutely love it. The whole carnival thing is gonna be great. I love the fact its set in 1950. I can’t wait!!!!! So excited. Sad to hear Jessica Lange is leaving after season 4 because I love her. She is my favorite. Who knows maybe after a year she will make a come back.

  10. Coven was uneven for me probably because there was a bit too much focus on the teen queen drama aspects of the story. Without Lang, Bates and Basset in their roles the season would have been really weak in my opinion. Well the good thing about the format is that they will move on to something else which is always a chance for something good to develop.

    The carnival setting is a natural for this type of show since they have a seedy, creepy reputation to begin with. I am sure it will have shades of HBO’s unfortunately short lived Carnivale, which had some very good horror elements going on.

    • Agreed! The elder women of AHS are the scene stealers. Bassett was pure Magic, as is Lange and Bates. The young actresses just cannot compete.

  11. YEA! AHS when does it start?

  12. meh… really depends on how its done, i wanted them do go back to supernatural stuff like from season 1. even though i loved 2 and i really liked the aliens it wasnt scary. and last season has no scares at all. i only find supernatural scary.

    i was hoping instead of ghosts it would be demons and really evil stuff this time. but who knows what they will do this season because they always have a second story in there too

    • I agree with you in a way, considering I love being scared, but that’s not what I look for in American Horror Story personally.

      What really drew me in, in all 3 seasons, was the awesome atmosphere that was set, and the emotions that the atmosphere gave off. I’m assuming you’re into the Paranormal Activity movies and you love those “jump scares”, but what makes true horror in my opinion, is just an awesome creepy or just plain dark atmosphere. That’s what AHS is all about :))

  13. I love this show, but I’m not too excited about the whole carnival thing, I hope its not true,but knowing AHS I will fall in love with it anyway.

  14. For inspiration they should read the book Geek Love. Excellent and something great to go off of.

  15. Can’t wait! I was hoping that when filming Coven they would get inspired by New Orleans and do an Amazing! 4th season. It would be awesome for it to be set in the N.O. again. Such a creepy, historical city!

  16. I dont want jessica lange
    She my favrt woman
    Now i am sad now
    who is jessica lange playing this time

  17. I honestly hated season 3. This is American Horror story, not a teenage drama series. This show has just been fit to feed to the basic society’s needs, not to promote horror which was its original intent. Season 1 was great and season 2, I thought, was even better. Yes I agree with many comments, the alien part was a little skeptical and almost unrealistic but you also have to consider the time period of this season. I really hope for season 4 they leave out the comic “relief” they were supplying us in season 3. Queenie’s character was unnecessary and even Madison was unenjoyable. I just hope for Jessica Lange’s last season they one-up their previous season. I don’t believe I’ll be watching after Lange’s gone.

  18. Isn’t a carnival setting the way Heroes went out with a whimper?

  19. When I heard carnival theme I immediately thought RIP OFF! I would encourage everyone to watch an older HBO series called “Carnivale”. It only ran for two seasons due to a legal dispute with the storyline, someone popped up and claimed they wrote it and immediately the plug was pulled. It was genius and I guarantee we will see too many elements of that show in season 4 to respect the American horror story writers. I am a season 1 fan myself and they could have used the “house” for many seasons to come and still have me. It will take a lot to keep me after the Stevie Nicks “video” we had to watch in the last season. That and Cathy Bates should never go out like that! (Not after misery) :)

  20. Misspelled for as far in the last paragraph, just pointing it out… don’t wanna look unprofessional if this is a legit post.

  21. i Loved Asylum best……but they all are good, and im sure season 4 will be just as good if not better.
    i wish we didnt have to wait until Fall of ’14 to see it.
    Jessica Lange is awesome….

  22. I don’t want Lang to leave because she is the show. Love her to death…. She makes the show what it is.

  23. Season 1 was Magic Season 2 was terrible. Season 3 was amazing except the ending which was weak. Hoping for the best with Season 4!

  24. Season one was a perfect 10…season two was good but it was too much. Aliens, the Devil, Nazi scientist,serial killer, zombie type things, Aliens…I mean c’mon..lol I still enjoyed it though 8/10….Season 3 was kinda flat. It started out pretty good and then seemed to jump from one thing to another…I thought it was building up for a big conflict with the witch hunters and then they killed them off unceremoniously. The ending was very blah…5/10. I’m still excited about another season though, but it needs to improve.

  25. Season 1 Amazing
    Season 2 started good then went to ok.
    Season 3 Started good then got really lame at the end. It seemed like they didn’t know how to end the show.
    Season 4 I AM SUPER CYKED CAUSE I THINK THERE IS A LOT THEY CAN DO WITH THIS…I’ve always been a fan of carnival-esque type settings. Send in the clowns!

  26. I love american horror story by far my favorite show almost lost interest in season 2 when aliens came apart of the series but it was one episode for the most part! Season 3 was ok I would have liked to see it set more in the woods rather then a mansion! The day american horror story does the alien theme I stop watching! I think one of the seasons should be a campground like camp crystal lake would be sick! Nothing scary then the woods and campfires stories! Bring back another haunted house that’s what made american horror story what it is ! But please AHS. Stay away from aliens you will lose your series the day you guys do that!

    1. season 4. Carnival
    2. Season 5. Campground
    3. Season 6. Haunted house again
    4. Season 7. Blizzard of 2017

  27. Can anyone tell me when season 4 will stream on Netflix???