American Horror Story immediately changed the way television viewers thought about horror when it debuted in 2011. The show turned the “haunted house” idea on its head and terrified us all with a madman in a rubber suit, a backstory about a less-than-reputable doctor, and the sad, too-close-to-home story of a tormented high schooler who took revenge on his classmates.
Since then, each season has given us different actors and storylines, jumping back and forth between past and present, and the tales have been entertaining in spite of–or perhaps because of–the swing between gory darkness and campy humor. The newest season, American Horror Story: Freak Show, will fall somewhere in between the two.
“Some years it’s going to be big and bright and brash and campy the way Coven is. Other years it’s going to be dark and brooding—like Asylum was. I guess I would put Freak Show half-way in between the two. It’s not quite as brooding and formal and Hitchockian as Asylum, it’s got a little bit more humor and a little bit more camp, but its got a brooding period feel to it also,” FX CEO John Landgraf said.
With stories set in circus-like surroundings, it would be all too easy to fall into the silly category without giving die-hard fans of the show what they really want, which is, for the most part, really weird situations and juicy drama with some gore spatter. But according to Landgraf, the showrunners have worked hard to give it a dark edge, and it will be totally different in looks and tone from any of the previous seasons. Set in 1950’s Florida, the new season will star Jessica Lange once again, as well as Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters.
“It’s going to have a really different look from a design and cinematography standpoint than any of the previous incarnations. The characters are really distinctive, really original, some are really strange, but I think really compelling, I love what I’ve read so far,” Landgraf said.
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