After all of the excitement and build up to the visually stunning fourth season of American Horror Story, appropriately subtitled “Freak Show,” I had really high hopes. However, upon actually watching the first two episodes, I have to be completely honest, (as you know, I always am), and admit the show isn’t all it was cracked up to be. I gave the show a fair chance, actually I gave it two, waiting until I saw the second episode to finally make a judgment call and voice my concerns. As a fan of horror and an avid watcher of film, I feel it would be irresponsible to not inform you of what you’re getting yourself into should you choose to watch the show.
The first thing I noticed, aside from the incredible story arc and brilliant visuals, was the “background” music. Now, I put “background” in quotes because in this show the background music is more like foreground music, only quietening in between scenes or immediately after someone has been killed. The music is so overpowering in every scene that I had to strain to actually hear what some characters were saying. I understand that the creators of the show want to instill a sense of timeliness and trust me, I am very aware of what era the show is supposed to represent. I don’t need obnoxiously loud music blaring at me as a reminder.
One thing that bothered me immediately was the woman who I am assuming is the main character – Elsa Mars, played by actress Jessica Lang – who obviously has had either botox injections, a facelift, or both, yet the show is supposed to take place in the 1950’s. I mean, having a woman that has had modern plastic surgery shown on screen in a time before the surgery even existed, to me, is like showing a man with a cell phone in a television show that takes place before cell phones were invented. It just doesn’t make sense. Some might argue that the surgery is easily overlooked and not noticeable enough to bare any influence on the show, but if that was indeed the case, then why was it immediately noticed? The argument that “something shouldn’t bother you because it doesn’t bother you” is borderline insane. The bottom line is, I don’t want to be aware that I’m watching a show while I’m watching a show – I want to be enthralled in what the show is trying to convey.
Speaking of what the show is trying to convey, how many of you enjoy sex? A lot? What about watching a man with flippers fingerbang a woman? What’s wrong? Is it not okay to talk about? Interesting how sexual references in television shows are so abundantly overused in order to retain the viewer’s attention and yet we’re not supposed to talk about them. What if I talked about a two-headed woman pleasuring herself while the other head watched? No good, either? What about a group of men from the Freak Show drugging a nurse and having their way with her while Elsa recorded it on camera? I wonder if the show would be able to keep its fanbase if they took out all of the sexual innuendo and replaced it with actually scary scenes.
In short, this show is a drama and nothing more. Sure, there are some scary scenes, like every scene with that damn clown, but mostly this show focuses on the relationships between the members of the Freak Show and their struggle fitting in with society. If you’re looking for horror, keep searching, this show isn’t for you. If you’re into sick sexual fantasies and drama under the guise of horror to make yourself feel better about watching it, then go right ahead. Personally, as someone who actually wants a scary show to be scary, I am incredibly disappointed.