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‘American Horror Story: Freakshow’ gets freaky with teasers

- August 29th, 2014

American Horror Story: Freakshow may be the exact ingredient needed in keeping the genre pushing series afloat.

FX released five teasers in subsequent for their upcoming fourth season last week, with each one being freakier than the last.

After last season’s venture into campy horror grounds, exhibiting the life of teenage witches not nearly as clever or sincere as Buffy and Sabrina, the show could use a traumatizing season dedicated to dysfunctional bodies and strange characters.

1.) Fallen Angel

The first time audiences are introduced to the elusive woman with wings. Although she may appear angelic, it’s becomes apparent pretty quickly this is a devil in a world run by members of the innermost center of hell.

2.) Lick

Lick is the exact type of teaser American Horror Story fans were hoping to see after last season’s underwhelming scenes. It promises physical grotesqueness, akin to superb standout scenes from both the first (Violet’s body being found) and second season (Santa Clause). It’s not particularly gory, but it’s just creepy enough to elicit a small disturbing shiver out of their most veteran fans.

3.) Spotlight

Spotlight plays heavily with the ideas of shadows, the idea of what potential horror could be lurking around the dark corner. Let your imagination run wild with the possibilities of the endless horrors the cast will have to face on camp grounds this fourth season.

4.) Caged

A mysterious, probably sadistic ring leader holding his troupe and his audience captive is just one theme showrunner Ryan Murphy and his writing team are bound to run wild with, but the possibility of an actual woman with wings sounds simply irresistible for any horror fan.

5.) Head to Toe

Three legs! Attractive woman! A snippet of the eerie American Horror Story music playing in the background!

6.) Admit One

Like the spliced tongue, the unclenching claw or disfigured hand is precisely the right amount of creepy crawly undertones the show needed to rebound. It manages to pull off being both subtle and direct in pointing out just how intense this season may get.

I’m sure in the next couple of weeks more teasers may drop, and I’ll be sure to add them to this collection of all things weird produced by Ryan Murphy’s mind. For now, may these images haunt your dreams and spark your nightmares.

That was Murphy’s goal, right?

American Horror Story: Freakshow premieres October 8 on FX.

Ryan Murphy casts Neil Patrick Harris in ‘American Horror Story’ on Twitter

- July 18th, 2014

Who needs backdoor deals in Hollywood when you can just connect with talent over Twitter?

It didn’t take long after Neil Patrick Harris told Entertainment Weekly’s Mario Correa he’s always wanted to appear on Ryan Murphy’s Emmy award winning anthology series American Horror Story for the showrunner to eagerly respond.

 

The quick nod of approval from Murphy must have come as a major relief to Harris who admitted he even wrote the co-creator asking for a position on the show and never heard back.

“I wrote a letter to Ryan asking if I could be in it, even though I wasn’t even available to be in it, but he never responded,” Harris admitted to Correa. “I love those series so much, and to do one that involves any kind of freak circus nonsense is going to be so unsettling to watch. “

Harris may be in luck, after all, considering the theme of American Horror Story’s upcoming fourth season – a sadistic, murderous freak show.

“I love crazy random freak show stuff, like that’s just what I love. I’ve always been drawn to it.”


He’s also proven that he’s not averse to getting grimy for a role, winning a Tony just this year for his portrayal of the transgender punk singer Hedwig in Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

The question of whether an official deal been made still remains. Although there hasn’t been confirmation from either camp, with Harris’ show finally ending and Murphy clearly on board to work with the actor, American Horror Story fans should already be excited.

‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ brings the circus to town

- March 24th, 2014

American Horror Story’s next season may just be its freakiest yet.

Early Monday morning, Ryan Murphy, creator and show runner of the entire American horror franchise, took to Twitter and confirmed the newest season of the show would indeed take place inside a carnival.

Rumors had surfaced months in advance that the latest season of the horror anthology would be set inside a murderous pageant setting, although Murphy and his team vehemently denied it.

 

Although Murphy himself didn’t announce more than the title of the fourth season, American Horror Story: Freak Show, Entertainment Weekly did manage to secure some more details surrounding the upcoming season, including which of the previous cast would return.

“Set in Jupiter, Florida, in 1950, Freak Show finds Jessica Lange playing a German ex-pat who is managing one of the last freak shows in the U.S.,” the Entertainment Weekly story stated.

This isn’t the first time Murphy has played around with a German ex-pat living in the United States, but unlike James Cromwell’s character from American Horror Story: Asylum, Murphy hasn’t made any announcements that hint toward Lange’s character being a Nazi.

freakshow

Florida is also an interesting choice to host the carnival, a setting much more suited for New Orleans, where the last season, American Horror Story: Coven was set.

“Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Angela Bassett, and Frances Conroy all play performers whom Lange’s character has rescued; Denis O’Hare and Emma Roberts are also in talks to return.”

From the casting news, Murphy has taken talent from each season of his anthology, but will be primarily focusing on bringing back characters from the first and third installments.

The biggest news surrounding the latest season, as well as permanent casting announcements and plot details, will emerge closer to the show’s air date, sometime in late October.

Sean and Catherine’s wedding is an American Horror Story at the Grammys? TV must-sees for the week

- January 26th, 2014

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Jan. 26

1) Grammy Awards
Live: Paul McCartney (above right) and Ringo Starr (above left), the two surviving Beatles, will take the stage as the legendary band is honoured with a lifetime achievement award. Fab, but should have happened long ago, huh?
When: Sunday on CBS, City

2) American Horror Story: Coven
Third-season finale: Another campaign for this innovative and frightening series comes to a close. Which witch will rise as the new “supreme?” The last episode sets up as a kind of in-coven Super Bowl.
When: Wednesday on FX Canada

3) Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials
Canadian viewers diverted by simulcasting often complain that they never get to see the American ads that air during the big game. Often it’s much ado about nothing, but here’s a chance to catch up.
When: Wednesday on CBS

4) Episodes
Frustrated by his current role and intrigued by an unexpected new opportunity, Matt (Matt LeBlanc) tries to convince Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tasmin Greig) to kill him off Pucks.
When: Sunday on The Movie Network, Monday on Movie Central

5) The Following
Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) receives some mysterious phone calls – no, not from telemarketers – while information comes to light about the new life put together by Joe Carroll (James Purefoy).
When: Monday on Fox, CTV

6) Community
As Annie (Alison Brie) and Professor Hickey (Jonathan Banks) prepare the cafeteria for the mid-term dance, they must negotiate with Greendale’s head custodian, played by guest star Nathan Fillion.
When: Thursday on NBC, City

7) True Detective
Maggie (Michelle Monaghan) sets up Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) with a friend, which you know won’t go well. Meanwhile, parishioners identify a scarred man who was seen with the murder victim.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

8) Republic of Doyle
This represents the back end of a crossover-episode arrangement with Murdoch Mysteries. Yannick Bisson guest-stars as Bill Murdoch, a descendant of Detective William Murdoch.
When: Wednesday on CBC

9) 19-2
Debut: Set in Montreal, this is a 10-episode English-language adaptation of a French Canadian series. It’s about two reluctantly partnered beat cops, in this case played by Jared Keeso and Adrian Holmes.
When: Wednesday on Bravo

10) The Bachelor: Sean and Catherine’s Wedding
Live: In this special presentation, Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici exchange vows in front of family, friends, paparazzi, gossip-mag reporters, hangers-on, puzzled passers-by, you know the drill.
When: Sunday on ABC, OMNI

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Boobs really ARE the answer; a look back at TV trends in 2012

- December 23rd, 2012

lena dunham emmys

In his opening monologue at the Emmy Awards in September, host Jimmy Kimmel noted that cable networks accounted for all the shows in the outstanding drama category in 2012.

“The Academy is sending a clear message,” Kimmel said. “And that message is, ‘Show us your boobs.’ ”

That’s Lena Dunham of Girls in the above picture, by the way, taking Kimmel’s advice to heart – or is it having her cake and eating it, too? – in the opening bit that kicked off the Emmys.

True enough, boobs are the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems, to paraphrase Homer Simpson (he was talking about alcohol). But it actually is more complicated when it comes to TV.

The calendar year 2012 continued the trend of viewers peeling off to specialty programming and specialty channels, as the big broadcast networks try to figure out where they fit in the future of television.

The past year also saw a significant increase in the amount of internet-first “TV” programming, through services such as Netflix and the like.

Genre-wise, there has been a notable push in the past year toward fantasy, at least when it comes to drama. Shows such as Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, Once Upon a Time and American Horror Story remind us that when real life gets boring, we always can make something up.

Isn’t it strange that in some ways we now expect our comedies to be more grounded than our dramas? When an alien-based sitcom like The Neighbors comes along, many people turn up their noses because it’s too “ridiculous.” But some of those same people happily will watch Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead and think, “Wow, great art.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just amusing when you think of it that way.

So looking back at TV in 2012, we’ll remember zombies and dwarves, good wives and mad men, drug dealers and high-class schemers, butlers and bootleggers.

And boobs. Lots and lots of boobs.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv