“American Horror Story: Freak Show” is going to feature some of your favorite “American Horror Story” stars as sideshow attractions that will shock and awe.
Unfortunately, the identities of many of the “Freak Show” characters remain a mystery, but keeping them under wraps makes good business sense for a carnival talker; you want to make the rubes really curious about what’s hiding behind that curtain.
We do know that Michael Chiklis was cast as a strongman. Ryan Murphy told TV Line that his character will be “vulnerable.” Kathy Bates plays his ex and Evan Peters will star as their son. Angela Bassett is playing Chiklis’ current wife, so her character and Kathy’s character might be at each other’s throats just like they were in “American Horror Story: Coven.”
Sarah Paulson already shared a photo of her conjoined twin characters, Bette and Dot, and we know Jessica Lange won’t be playing a freak. Instead, she’s starring as the freak show ringleader, a German ex-pat who will do “almost anything” to avoid losing her livelihood as the popularity of sideshows starts to wane. Other cast members include Frances Conroy, Denis O’Hare, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe, and Jamie Brewer. We don’t know what freaks they’ll be playing, but the options are endless.
“American Horror Story” doesn’t need to create new characters for its freak show; past seasons of “American Horror Story” featured plenty of “unusuals” who would be capable of drawing crowds to Lange’s curtain. Let’s take a look back at seven weird wonders that are already a part of Ryan Murphy’s creepy carnival of souls.
1. Season One’s Infantata
“American Horror Story: Murder House” features a frightening creature with a back story that sounds like a made-up sideshow pitch. The Infantata is a Frankenstein’s monster created from the remains of Thaddeus, a baby who was murdered and dismembered in the 1920s. The infant’s surgeon father, Charles Montgomery, stitched the baby’s body back together and gave it the heart of an aborted baby. The result was a tiny monster with black eyes, sharp teeth, and a thirst for blood. The Infantata would be one of the most frightening attractions sideshow fans would ever see.
2. Season Two’s Pepper and Her Extraterrestrial Pals
In “American Horror Story: Asylum,” we meet congenial microcephalic Pepper, a Briarcliff Manor inmate. Freak show performers suffering from her condition were often referred to as “pinheads,” and Lange uses the derogatory term in “Asylum.” According to Entertainment Weekly, a real microcephalic sideshow star named Schlitzie was the inspiration for Pepper. Schlitzie appears in the 1932 movie “Freaks” alongside a cast that included numerous other famous sideshow performers.
According to Uproxx, Pepper might pop up in Lange’s freak show. An unofficial leaked call sheet for season four reveals that Naomi Grossman will be reprising her role as Pepper in “American Horror Story: Freak Show.” However, this news hasn’t been confirmed. If Pepper is appearing in “Freak Show,” perhaps she can convince her alien friends from “Asylum” to become Lange’s starring attractions. They’d gladly agree to do it in exchange for access to a few wombs.
3. Season Two’s Shelley (After Dr. Arden Gets Through with Her)
In “Asylum,” Dr. Arden finds a terrifying way to “cure” Shelley’s nymphomania; he turns her into a monster no man would want to touch. Poor Shelley ends up legless and mutated after receiving a dose of Arden’s special experimental serum meant to extend life. Unfortunately, Shelley doesn’t feel life is worth living after she starts to develop disfiguring, painful-looking boils.
4. Season Three’s Minotaur
Just imagine how astonished sideshow gawkers would be to see blinking eyes on a bull’s head attached to a man’s body. Sideshows used to feature faked freaks like mermaids and women with the bodies of spiders, but they couldn’t use voodoo to create real animal/human hybrids.
5. Season Three’s Talking Head
One classic freak show fixture was a headless lady illusion that featured a moving body without a head. “American Horror Story: Coven” gives us the reverse by keeping Bates’ head and getting rid of her body. I’m sure Delphine LaLaurie would delight carnival-goers by flinging insults at them while they stare in disbelief at the disembodied head that houses such a twisted mind.
6. Season Two’s Angel of Death
How cool are Conroy’s black wings in “Asylum?” If her “American Horror Story” character were to end up in a freak show, I doubt she’d get to keep her Angel of Death title. She’d most likely be touted as a Crow Lady or Raven-Winged Woman.
7. Season Three’s Swamp Witch
Some freak shows used to feature “geeks” who would bite the heads off of living chickens. Just imagine how amazed spectators would be to see Misty Day reattach the poor birds’ heads and bring them back to life. However, watching the animals get killed over and over again would be a living hell for the sensitive swamp witch.
Which past “American Horror Story” character do you think would make the most popular freak show attraction?
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Photo: FX Networks