Thursday, October 9, 2014

American Horror Story: Freak Show

My new blog for American Horror Story: Freak Show is up and running.  The review of Episode One, "Monsters Among Us," is there now.

The address is above, and here:

Let me know what you think!  Thanks!

Part of the first entry--

Well, here we are!  A new season of AHS, this time called Freak Show.  I'm really looking forward to this season, especially after the truly terrible AHS--Coven, and Episode One did not disappoint.  A few thoughts, then, on the episode:

--Nice theme, Monsters Among Us.  Who does that refer to?  The folks under the tents?  The bored housewives of the 50s Elsa Mars referred to?  Just the clown?  The people who use the unlucky for entertainment?  All of these?

--Funny how the monsters never see themselves that way.  But they do think others are monsters.  So perhaps a better question I could have asked was: Who does the "us" refer to?  A good Twilight Zone-esque short story can be written about this.  Hmmm...

--Kill Count: Twins: 1.  Lobster Boy: 1.  Clown: 3? 4?

--Homages this episode:

1.  Tod Browning's (the director of 1931's Dracula) landmark early movie Freaks.  Of course.  The whole episode, if not the whole season, is an homage to this.  If you haven't seen it, do so.  Very memorable.  Unbelievable that Hollywood and the censors would allow this to be made in the '30s.

2.  Orson Welles and Touch of Evil.  The cop who came to the tents, sliced by Lobster Boy.  Made to look exactly like Welles in that movie.  Talked and moved the same way, too.  To a T.

3.  Maybe inadvertent, but I saw a lot of Edward Scissorhands in this episode.  Mostly in the dissatisfied female suburbanites and the bubbled camera shots.  And in Lobster Boy.

4.  Sunset Boulevard.  Jessica Lange's character is the same, and looks the same, as Norma Desmond.  A washed-up performer in need of the eternal audience.

5.  Jason Robards' Something Wicked This Way Comes, from Ray Bradbury's good book.  Evil in the guise of a traveling circus.

6.  The clown's smile is right from The Man Who LaughsRead this Wikipedia article to see how it also gave creation to The Joker's smile.  Even had a graphic novel about the Joker with that title.  The article is linked below.  The movie's on YouTube.  Give it a look.

--A real shame that it's Jessica Lange's last AHS.  She was easily the best thing about the second and third seasons, and this episode.

--Besides the clown, of course.  That is truly one scary, messed-up looking clown.  Incidentally, this clown reminds me more of the hypnosis-with-the-golden-coin clown from a Scooby-Doo episode than anything about The Joker.  And I see a lot of Conrad Veidt's The Man Who Laughs in the smile.  See the pic above and tell me if you agree.  And look at this Wikipedia article about the movie.  I'm tellin' ya.

What did you think of the episode?  Did you like it?  Did I miss any homages?

[For more, please go to the blog via this link.]

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