The 'AHS: Freak Show' Cast Could Use These Horror Tropes In The New Season
Fall can't get here faster. The title of the fourth installment of the anthology series American Horror Story was announced months ago, and we've been jonesing for as much information about American Horror Story: Freak Show as we can get. Luckily for us, we already know that some of our favorites from the cast will be returning to the show, including Jessica Lange, Denis O'Hare, and Sarah Paulson. Last season's American Horror Story newbies, Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates, are also slated to return to the series, as well as brand-new AHS cast members like Michael Chiklis. The show, which is already packed with fantastic cast members, will take place at the last freak show in America, with some of the cast already slated as particular "freaks" within the new season. One thing's for sure: This fantastic cast will have a lot of horror tropes to play with in the new season.
American Horror Story is famous for toying around with horror tropes and making numerous references to past horror and science fiction films, and Freak Show will be no exception. The roles that the cast has been slated into are pure throwbacks to earlier works of horror, and there will certainly be more tropes played with during the course of the entire season. Here are some of the horror tropes that the cast may embody with in the upcoming series. (How they don't get freaked out is beyond me.)
The use of "freaks" as a horror trope began with the 1932 film Freaks, a film about a traveling circus act that actually used real people with deformities as the so-called "freaks." Within the context of this particular film, the "freaks" are, for the most part, portrayed at the good characters, while the the non-deformed characters are shown as greedy and evil. Despite this differentiation within Freaks, people with handicaps or deformities have, sadly, been portrayed as horror figures within film, from Friday the 13th to The Hills Have Eyes. Given that American Horror Story: Freak Show has already cast Sarah Paulson as a two-headed woman, the show will now need to prove that it can take this trope and turn it on its head, perhaps by turning the show into a smart critique of the freak shows of America's past. The show was able to create a historical critique of the mental health industry of the 50s with American Horror Story: Asylum, (through the use of "insanity" as a horror trope) and, hopefully, will do the same through these "freaks."
(Is anyone else sobbing out of fear right now? Just me? Okay, moving on.) Clowns are absolutely terrifying, as evidenced from movies like It (above), Stitches, and House of 1000 Corpses. If you're phobic of anything with a honking nose, you may want to steer clear of the latest American Horror Story next season, because Freak Show already has plans to bring the "clown killer" into the mix. No word on who has been cast as said "clown killer," or, more importantly, whether this guy is killing clowns or is a clown who kills. Either way, this trope will make me watch the show between my fingers.
Who could forget Dr. Arden (portrayed by James Cromwell) in American Horror Story: Asylum? In the second installment of the series, Arden ran medical experiments on the patients of the asylum that turned them into, well, "freaks." (Remember the fate of nymphomaniac "Shelley" in Asylum ? Horrifying stuff.) Though there's little chance that Dr. Arden's story line will crossover with the new season of AHS, corrupt doctors and nefarious medical experiments are a common trope throughout horror. Could Jessica Lange's character — the woman running the last freak shows in America — "borrow" some of the experiments that didn't exactly turn out so great for her show?
Speaking of medical experiments, American Horror Story: Freak Show would be the perfect place to incorporate a manmade "monster," a'la the one in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. We know that the show is adding a "gentle giant" named Bobby to the cast, which fits the description of a medically made man like Frankenstein's monster. We've seen characters that represent or allude to Frankenstein's monster on other television shows like Penny Dreadful and Once Upon a Time, and it would be a natural next move for AHS to incorporate an iconic horror figure into the mix. Now the only question is, what actor should play him?
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