Ten Disturbing Things We Learned From American Horror Story Freak Show Episode Five, “Pink Cupcakes” (Spoilers)

For some reason, we found “Pink Cupcakes” (which have never before sounded so unappetizing) to be the first real episode this season that really ...bothered us. Not that we found vicious killer clowns (who friends of ours understandably referred to as “Stabby the Clown”) with no lower jaw (due to a tragic backstory) cheerful or anything, and Twisty’s whole storyline had a perfect payoff. We don’t have a pathological fear of clowns, but he was pretty threatening.  So I could have started writing these “Ten Things” pieces as usual,  right after the premiere, but there weren’t any big plot or character reveals (okay, Elsa’s legs were a surprise) that Ryan Murphy hadn’t already either hinted at or flat-out told us about in the media, or that we hadn’t more or less figured out.  We hated Dandy by the time the second episode he appeared in ended, and it was kind of obvious he wasn’t going to be a benevolent character.  Last Wednesday, though, we got some good reveals, and for the first time, we exclaimed out loud in surprise, and really, really were disturbed by a murder enough to also curse loudly. So let’s get on with the show. One, two …three.

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1.  Del is a closeted gay. Well, of course he would have to be closeted even if he wasn’t a manly circus strongman for a living; as a gay man outed in a small town in 1952 you would almost certainly end up on the receiving end of a vicious blanket party, set on fire, or be the victim of another hate crime (or have your life ruined in some other way) if you were not closeted. That’s why we were genuinely surprised to see him at a gay bar, and more than that, desperately, hopelessly infatuated (and even professing his love) with guest star Matt Bomer, playing a smoking hot young man named Andy who turns tricks and hustles for a living. He basically referred to the bar as his office. It was hinted at before that Del was not 100% heterosexual, though you had to pay attention to pick up on it. Well, being married to a woman with a male member next to the female one was kind of a red flag, but it could be argued that if a man had an opportunity to be with a hot, gorgeous woman with three perfect breasts, he might be willing to overlook the male member.

2. …or what appears to be a male member. Turns out Désirée is all woman. Well, maybe even more than all woman, since she has three breasts and a clitoris large enough to be mistaken for a penis. When she’s hammered and lonely and turns to Jimmy to “make her feel something”, they both panic when his hand comes away from between her legs covered in blood and Ethel takes her to see the kindly, compassionate Dr. Bonham from “Edward Mordrake Part One”.  He’s got some news for her: what she (and a doctor in her past) thought was a penis turned out to be a (very) oversized clitoris. It’s (figuratively) connected to her extra breast. He gives some medical explanation about her body producing a really, really high amount of estrogen because it was trying to compensate–it didn’t sound completely medically legit to us, but we will suspend our disbelief.  He tells her surgery can give her normal-sized lady parts (we liked how removing the “accessory” breast wasn’t even alluded to as an option when doing surgery–hey, let’s not get crazy here!).

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3. Désirée was also pregnant, and was bleeding so badly because she was having a miscarriage. The doctor tells her that she can even try again and having a child is a distinct possibility for her (though she should probably hurry because her biological clock is ticking). We see surprise, then wonder, then hope in her eyes as this sinks in. “I can have a baby with Del,” she murmurs. But, she damn sure has a change of heart before long, because…

 

 Why are you still moving? You’re supposed to be dead!

 

 

4.  By the time Del finds her, she’s packed a suitcase to movie into Ethel’s trailer.  Del is desperate to get her to stay, and we half expected him to hit her or shake her or some other form of domestic abuse, but guess he knew better.  She tells him she was pregnant, he says, “A baby… great!” half-heartedly, and then it escalates very quickly.  Turns out she knows Jimmy is his son.  She keeps telling him that he is the one with freak blood in him, not her, but all their years together he made her feel like she was such a freak of nature that she didn’t deserve anyone better than him …or a better life.  She wants to have a kid, but not his. To add to Del’s despair, remember that this is taking place after Andy pretty much broke his heart, telling him Del he was delusional if he thought they would ever have any kind of relationship, or even contact, without having to pay like ever other trick. After telling him she was leaving him for a real man who deserved to be with her (and she tells Del what he calls her “big dick” is going to be surgically corrected by Dr. Bonham), Désirée leaves him standing there,  with Del clearly about to have some kind of meltdown. Towards the end of the episode, Del pays a personal visit to Dr. Bonham and breaks his fingers, possibly his hands too. Then, just in case the doctor didn’t get the message, Del threatens to snap his grandchildren’s fingers “like twigs.”  Soooooo, that surgery won’t be happening.

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5.  Stanley has an extremely creepy fantasy life. All of his lovely daydreams we saw underscored how vile a man he really is. His grandiose dream of Paul’s body floating in a tank before an awed crowd of horrible rich people was unsettling. The horrifying shot of the Tatler Twins torso floating in the glass display tank–and especially the fact that Bette’s head was dead and rotting probably days before he finally smothered Dot, who was begging him for help (and begging Bette to wake up) –was disturbing as hell. So was Stanley’s casual explanation to the museum owner he sold the body to when she asked how they “expired”: “The droopy one caught a cold and died first.”

Please …kill me. Please, kill me?

 

6.  Elsa is getting desperate. She practically spits on the floor when Stanley tries to entice her with the idea of her own television show, but then when the entire crowd (not into anachronistic performances of songs, no matter how good they are) turns on her, we see her hopes burning to the ground. When Stanley comes by after the disastrous show, and she says to him wearily, “Tell me about zis… television,” we can see her fighting back tears. Once again, Jessica Lange’s performance on AHS breaks our hearts. She doesn’t get really scary until she sees Stanley driving away without her, Bette and Dot in the back seat. Her next move is to talk to the twins and tell them she wants to help their and look after them since they’re new to the business and Elsa is not. We didn’t expect, though, that she would drive them straight to the Mott residence in the guise of taking them in for a wardrobe fitting. “I have brought you something I believe you want,” she starts out to Gloria right before the episode ends. To be fair, I don’t think she would have taken them there if Elsa knew Gloria’s son was a blood-thirsty, homicidal sociopath. She probably just wanted them out of the way, maybe even only temporarily. How could THAT go wrong?

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7. Maggie is having second thoughts. First she tells Stanley she did not agree to be involved with murder. Later, when she surprises Jimmy rehearsing, she pretends to read his palm and gives him a not-too-subtle fortune: something bad is coming for him, and he needs to get the hell out of there fast. She seems to be attracted to him, but still won’t let him kiss her. Hopefully she will end up ratting Stanley out more directly, and the freaks will end up cutting his throat and stabbing him (all together) about 70 times and then burning the body, the way they did with the police detective.

 

Jack the Ripper was a Windsor, for God’s sake.

 

8. Dandy’s mother Gloria is more batshit crazy–and darker–than we thought. At the very least, a sociopath. She’s mad at Dandy for killing Dora (“She was a mother!” is her first horrified reaction),but is pretty casual (and clever) about the way they dispose of the body. “These are special bulbs from Holland. Please do not question me!” she shrills at the men hired to dig a twelve-foot hole ( actually for Dora’s body). Oh, and we find out that Dandy’s father also had homicidal “urges”,  due to inbreeding (according to Gloria). One day he ended up “swinging lifeless from a Japanese Maple” because he couldn’t stand struggling with his urges any more and “suppressed them the only way he could” (also according to Gloria).  She tells Dandy he has to be careful who he kills, since it’s 1952 and they might have relatives who come looking for their missing family member; instead it needs to be people no-one will miss. The scene of them finishing up the bulbs planted over Dora’s corpse ends with on a disturbing note, with Gloria quietly telling her son, “we’ll figure something out.”

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9.  Jimmy is a local hero, though when Maggie points this out to him, he says, “Right now, I want to throw up.” Turns out Jimmy still feels terrible about poor Meep (though I bet the local chicken population is feeling better) being beaten to death in prison and then dumped in a sack on their doorstep.  In the scene where Jimmy and Désirée are drowning their sorrows in her trailer, he loses it and weeps, “it shoulda been me.” Interesting trivia: Ben Woolf, the actor who played Meep, also portrayed the Infantata, arguably the most frightening character from AHS Season One, AKA Murder House.

There’s nothing worse than the hurt of loving someone you can’t have.

 

10.  Dandy, unsurprisingly the new big bad (well, next to Stanley, who is also deadly but mainly just a greedy, scheming piece of shit looking for a big payday) is clearly just getting started. Either he or his mother decided a gay bar would be a good place to find a victim (we also loved the very serious MAN WANTED poster with an ‘artist’s sketch’ of a clown mask that Dandy passes). When Del leaves, crushed, Dandy zeroes in on Andy, and pays him a hundred dollars to come back to the Abandoned School Bus of Murder with him, and of course, things get really disturbing.  The fact that Andy turned out not to be dead even after Dandy stabbed him brutally over a dozen times in the torso AND sawed one of his arms off was the first thing this season that really caused us to feel deep horror.

 

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Stray Thoughts:

 

  • Gabourey Sidibe will be back as Regina Ross, Dora’s daughter in New York.  We loved the “Mrs. Mott, I’m feeling really uncomfortable, so I’m going to go now” line of hers when she was on the phone with Gloria, who was starting to ramble about raising Dandy. We doubt she’s going to stick around more than a couple of episodes, though it would be nice if she ended up beating Dandy to death. That was also a great reveal when Gloria hung up the phone and the split-screen disappeared to show Dandy, standing in his underwear, covered with Andy’s blood.
Motion pictures are the expression of our souls, our inner dreams, our fantasies.

 

  • We knew the Bette and Dot torso in the giant fish tank was a fantasy, but did anyone else worry at first that poor Paul the Illustrated Seal was really floating in the formaldehyde and that the rest of the episode might be the flashbacks to how he ended up in there? We were unsure, but did let out a big sigh of relief when we realized what the writers had done. Everyone should probably worry about his place in the new knife throwing act, though…
  • I had a good laugh at the way Dandy at first tried to act innocent when his mother screamed because she found Dora dead with her throat cut. “Somebody’s broke into our home and murdered Dora!”  he proclaims unconvincingly. Meanwhile, his mother, who immediately figured out that he did it , starts yelling at him about having to clean up his messes almost the second he rushes into the room. That smirk he got after he turned his back and walked away from Gloria to go to his room was chilling, as was his practicing ‘acting faces’ in the mirror.
  • That was an amazing monologue written for Del talking about the pain he goes through and how he is only strong on the outside, and Michael Chiklis knocked it out of the fucking park. It was obvious Del knew how desperate he sounded, begging Andy to let him get him a nice apartment with a record player and good light so he could sketch, to only be with him because he loves him so much, but the words kept flooding out as if he was trying to purge himself of something he’d wanted to tell another human being all his life. Give him a couple more scenes like that and Chiklis might just earn himself an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor. For the record, a month has passed since Del and Désirée arrived in Jupiter.
  • Look around that ‘Morbid Museum’ in the scenes where Stanley is talking to the owner about the twins. There is some seriously disturbing stuff in there (and once again, we are 99.9% sure it was inspired by the real-life Mutter museum*). There are at least two Elephant Man-like skulls, and some really horrible things in jars.
  • I got a huge grin on my face when Jimmy referred to the pinhead duo as Salty and Pepper to the crowd after their act, which seemed to include a drum kit, a large mallet, and slapstick humor. “Salty and Pepper, Ladies and Gents!” We love it.
  • Boy, that crowd REALLY turned on Elsa fast. Guess they are not Bowie fans. Speaking of Bowie– great song choice to use of “Fame” in the montage of her getting ready to go have “publicity photos” taken (that ends with her hope being crushed).  The self-satisfied smirk on Stanley’s face when he saw Elsa unravelling onstage made me want to break his neck …and I’m a huge fan of Denis O’Hare, so I have always taken his side before no matter how much of a rotten prick his character is –until that moment. Hopefully Stanley and Dandy will both get an even more horrible variation of the notorious Todd Browning “chicken lady”  treatment.

Next episode, “Bullseye,” the freaks–including Ethel– seem to be turning on Elsa too. Check out the preview (again) below!

 

*Which I hope to visit some day, then sometimes during dark, sleepless nights question the decision of putting a visit to that house of horrors on my bucket list.

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Possibly the most breathtaking still of the set yet.

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Ten Things We Learned From The American Horror Story Freak Show Panel At Comic-Con 2014!

In the interest of full disclosure, we were not present at the SDCC Comic Con AHS Freak Show Panel, nor were we present at Comic Con 2014, mainly for lack of finances at the time to do any such thing. However, there was plenty of coverage out there, and we spent a lot of time online culling the most interesting new information (and of course, some speculation from us).

This was the first year AHS had a presence at SDCC, and there wasn’t as much new information as we’d hoped. Most of the “panel re-caps” were kind of sparse. Also unfortunate:  the “sneak peek” at Freak Show that Ryan Murphy had promised for the panel was nowhere to be found;* plus, the cast wasn’t allowed to divulge much about the characters, or the storylines …but we got what fresh info we could!

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1.  Producer Tim Minear was at the panel (a very good sign).  “I can tell you this, which is not much: It’s the best season so far,” he said. “It’s not like the first three seasons.” He also revealed he recently saw a daily that he could only compare to a scene from Zodiac — but with sherbet.

2. John Carroll Lynch is officially on board.  Lynch is usually cast as big loveable guys (Fargo), or big frightening guys (Zodiac).

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3.. Lynch will be playing a “big bad”. Tim Minear promised his character “will scare the shit out of you”. (an unofficial leaked call sheet said he was playing a “twisted clown”, so we’re guessing he’s playing the Clown Killer). Minear also said his character will be a scarier creation than Bloody Face, Rubber Man, and The Minotaur (who really didn’t stick around long enough to be scary, or a threat, in Coven, but hey).

4. Here’s the list of names of characters, and there’s some great ones in there:

Emma Roberts is playing “Maggie”
Sarah Paulson is playing “Bette and Dot Tattler” (conjoined twins)
Kathy Bates is playing “Effil Darling”
Chiklis is playing “Wendell Del Tolito”
Angela Bassett is playing “Desiree Dupre”
Evan Peters is playing “Jimmy Darling”
Jessica Lange is playing “Elsa Mars”

5. Peters’ character (Jimmy Darling) is the son of Chiklis’ character, while Bassett is playing Chiklis’ wife and Bates is playing his ex-wife. Got all that?

6.  The season premiere already sounds pretty goddamned scary. Here’s what Kathy Bates had to say: “After my first scene last week — and this is a terrible confession to make — I couldn’t sleep until six in the morning, and then I slept for 30 hours …and that was without drugs, I swear to God!” Jesus. Bates then added, “I think [Ryan Murphy] scares the shit out of me.”

7.  They’re going to have an especially large production team this year. For instance, Sarah Paulson said of the effects for her two-headed character: “There are about 22 people working on every single shot that I do.”

8.  Speaking of Bette and Dotte, even Sarah Paulson’s solid acting talents were challenged. “How it will all come together I do not know, but it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I can’t just shoot all of Bette, then all of Dot. I feel like Sybil. I should call Sally Field and get some tips,” she said.

9. Evan Peters cut his hair (either that, or he’ll be wearing a wig). Also, gorgeous Angela Bassett still seems to be aging in reverse (photo credit : Zimbio.com):

 

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10. This last one was revealed before the SDCC panel, but it’s worth repeating!  Wes Bentley will be appearing in Freak Show’s two-part Halloween episode as a “tormentor” of Kathy Bates character, who is “hell-bent” on revenge. The two-parter is (for now) set to air on October 21st and 28th. (Source: TVline.com)

Sources:  Screencrush.com

411Mania.com

Independent.ie

TVline.com

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*Though the title of the panel was changed to reflect in the DSCC program that it was more about “A Look Back at Coven” than the upcoming season.

 

HEY! Ten American Horror Story Freak Show Plot/Character Details That Have Recently Hit The News!

OK, we’re going to go with bullet points.  If last season’s “Coven” wasn’t exactly your favorite season (ahem), things may be looking up.

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Ryan Murphy has said that he wanted a “comedic tone” similar to Coven, but that this season is just getting darker, and it’s going to not be so much in the tone of Coven, but closer to the tone of Asylum! Hey, nightmare time from AHS again!

  • Let’s get the bad news out of the way now: There is a 99% chance that Lilly Rabe will not be able to join the cast, as she has a scheduling conflict. Let’s cross our fingers she can at least show up for a cameo.
  • Vic Mackey Michael Chiklis will be playing the circus/freak show strongman (that’s pretty much how they looked back in the day, built like bulldogs rather than beefcake).
  • His character will be married to Angela Bassett’s character. Ryan Murphy described the character as the strong but sensitive type, who “is written to be quite vulnerable”.
  • Kathy Bates will play his ex-wife, and they’ll all have plenty of scenes together… which is great, since Bassett VS. Bates = pure gold. Chiklis will just be the icing on the cake!
  • Sarah Paulson will not be playing a character with two heads, but one with a conjoined twin. If you’ve seen photos of people born with a live, conjoined twin, this has the high possibility to become really, really disturbing.*
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    American Horror Story Freakshow Horror poster design by Mental Shed Studios. Horror Boom does not own the copyright.

  • The production will start shooting S4 in the middle of July. Kathy Bates says she’s starting to have costume fittings, and her character will appear in the portions of the show that take place in the late 1950s.
  • In a recent E! Online Spoiler chat, we found out about three new characters currently being cast: “that of the comedic ‘Larry’, ‘Bobby’, an extremely, extremely tall man described as a gentle giant,  and ‘Sammy’, a role which will require prosthetics.” Yikes…
  • Evan Peters will be playing an as-yet unspecified ‘freak’, whom Jessica Lange’s character has ‘rescued’. Oh, and her character refers to them as “unusuals”,  since let’s face it, no-one likes to be called a freak (even if they are employed in a Freak Show).
  • Denis O’Hare will return as “a collector of freaks,” according to Vulture. Of his relationship with Lange’s character, he hinted, “We’ll have lots of scenes with each other, but we’ll be battling.” We’re really glad he’s going to play a live character with a tongue this time around.
  • Actors that are definitely “in”, but don’t have specified roles as of yet: Frances Conroy (yes!), Emma Roberts, Jamie Brewer, and Gabourey Sidibe.
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    It’s “unusual” that Angela Bassett appears to be aging in reverse!

We have been told that the “big bad”- -glad they have one this season– will be someone (or something) called “The Clown Killer”. What we don’t know yet is if he is a clown that kills people, a killer who targets clowns, or possible a clown who only kills other clowns.

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From the Paleyfeat 2014 panel.

*When I was young, I want to say…pffft…maybe 5th grade, my parents let me check out a book from the library titled “Freaks” that was in fact very sympathetic and compassionate. A little too informative for me at that particular age, though. I read about a man (who did work in a freak show) with a conjoined twin that had a head and an arm that hung there limply. The head would sometimes go to sleep and wake up, and it snored. The final sentence has been seared into my brain for decades: “When the head began talking, however, he committed suicide with a shotgun.”  I assumed back then (and still have the strong feeling) that it wasn’t the fact that the head was talking that drove him to kill himself but what the head was saying.

Michael Chiklis joins the cast of ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’

YEAH! Don’t see much of a resemblance between Vic Mackey Chiklis and Evan Peters, but I’m not complaining.