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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.

7.) Open Wide

It’s been a while since an image from American Horror Story has actually disturbed audiences, but this is the promo to do just that. Throwbacks to Hooper’s 1981 classic Funhouse jsut sweeten the deal for horror fans everywhere.

8.) Twisted Smile

Like Open Wide, Twisted Smile promises all kinds of psychosexual content for the fourth season of television’s biggest horror show. With Murphy, were we really expecting anything less?

9.)Sword Swallow

Certainly more carnie friendly than the last two teasers, Sword Swallow promises grotesque physical feats of century old traveling circus troupes.

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.

Sarah Paulson seeks “Asylum” from cop procedurals in American Horror Story

- November 16th, 2012

Sarah Paulson - cover

As one of the main characters in American Horror Story, Sarah Paulson is about as far away from a police procedural as an actress can get.

“I’ve very grateful I’m not walking around a police department saying, ‘Hey, the perp escaped,’ ” Paulson said.

“Not that those shows aren’t great in their own way. But for me as an actress, they’re not stimulating in the same way. I love watching them, but doing them, I don’t know if that would be fulfilling.

“With this – because it’s Ryan (Murphy, creator) – I’m not just playing your typical television woman.”

There’s nothing typical about American Horror Story, which airs Wednesday nights on FX Canada. In season two – the full title of which is American Horror Story: Asylum – Paulson plays Lana Winters, a newspaper reporter in 1964 for whom things have gone horribly wrong. (SPOILER ALERT: Plot points are about to be discussed.)

If you’ve been watching, you know that Lana has been held against her will at a mental-health facility for the criminally insane, run by Sister Jude (Jessica Lange). Lana’s “official” crime was being a lesbian – it’s 1964, remember – but it actually was her desire to snoop around the institution that put her in harm’s way.

And now Lana is being held against her will again, a victim of the duplicitous Dr. Thredson (Zachary Quinto).

“There’s nothing more terrifying than a person being held somewhere against their will, having done absolutely nothing wrong,” said Paulson, who earlier this year was nominated for an Emmy Award for her role in the HBO made-for-TV movie Game Change.

“To me, that’s the terror of this season (of American Horror Story). There’s nothing they can do, because one person has all the power.

“There was a time in this country when that was the reality of these institutions. But I’m not saying all of them were run by sadistic nuns.”

Of course, American Horror Story has tossed just about anything it can get its hands on into the mix this season, from exorcisms to aliens and everything in between. It’s that combination of realism and the possibility of other worlds and other existences that keeps viewers simultaneously intrigued and, to be blunt, uncomfortable.

Season one of American Horror Story – in which Paulson played a psychic – largely was about ghosts. But as Paulson astutely pointed out, the basic setup allowed viewers an “out” if they were looking for one, because they could say, “Sure, this is scary, but I don’t believe in ghosts.”

In season two, however, even if you don’t believe in spaceships or possessed souls, you still can accept and lament Lana’s life-threatening predicament. (My initial review when season two debuted can be found here.)

You know the old cliche that “anything can happen?” Well, this is one of the few shows for which it literally is true.

And even better, Sarah Paulson doesn’t have to respond to, “Detective, get in here!” For her, that might be the scariest plot of all.

“Exactly, although that may be in my future someday,” Paulson said. “But I’m grateful it’s not what I’m doing right now.

“You know, I got to start (this season) in those great ’60s outfits, and by the time it’s over, it’s going to be a whole other situation.

“The great thing I can say with confidence is, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

Gulp.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv