Who doesn’t love a carnival? The games, the cotton candy, the occasionally churlish carnies, the rides that give you a sense of impending doom when you step aboard, and the evolutionary process of that corndog that you are surprisingly drawn too. Come to think of it, carnivals are scary, and American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy is set to play on their frightful potential in the FX anthology horror series’ upcoming fourth season.
To do that, Murphy will apparently focus on the freak show, as evidenced by the reveal of the show’s logo and assumed subtitle: American Horror Story: Freak Show.
The backbone of the carnival for those who were indifferent to frustratingly hard to attain plush baubles, the freak show is the force that proved that our curiosity can often trump our sense of outrage as these shows tended to focus on real and made up natural oddities of both the human and non-human persuasion. You can still find pale imitations when you go to a country fair or a parking lot up-sprung carnival (and you can find various disturbing things in jars at the occasional kitsch shop like Bizarre Bazaar in Philadelphia), but for the most part, freak shows are a relic from another time.
Screen Rant‘s Hannah Shaw-Williams mentioned that Murphy and co-producer Brad Falchuk would likely have to treat freak shows “delicately” when we covered the reveal that this next season would focus on carnivals, doubtlessly referring to the PC minefield that such a storyline would have to navigate; as this announcement shows, Murphy and company are down for the challenge.
EW is reporting that Freak Show will take place in Jupiter, Florida, in 1950 and feature American Horror Story‘s leading lady Jessica Lange (her supposed last season on the anthology series) playing “a German ex-pat who is managing one of the last freak shows in the U.S.” Additional returning cast members from previous seasons will include Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Frances Conroy, Denis O’Hare, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, and Emma Roberts.
Also, apparently down for the challenge? Glee star Lea Michelle. While promoting the release of her album, “Louder”, Michelle went on Ellen and both reiterated her interest in doing a Glee spin-off and admitted that she would love to be on American Horror Story.
“I know what the theme is for next year, and I’m in. So, if he’ll have me… at least, maybe for one episode. […] Let’s start that campaign.”
While this idea may frighten some American Horror Story fans on spec, it’s worth noting that, as Rachel Berry on Glee, Michelle has performed admirably, navigating the show’s occasionally melodramatic storylines with great skill.
It’s internet second nature to assume that an actor can’t play a role because of the contents of their IMDB page, but if Murphy followed that logic, Emma Roberts wouldn’t have gotten a chance to appear in last season’s incarnation of American Horror Story. While this might just be talk show fodder and a bit of credibility, if it were to happen, Michelle would surely benefit from the opportunity to broaden that same IMDB page and further strike back against those who both gripe about actors never branching out and who complain when they try to.
Besides, who wouldn’t love to see a bearded lady belting out show tunes?
American Horror Story: Freak Show will air on FX in the fall of 2014.