Ladies and Gentlemen – Introducing… Freak Show!


Sean Koepfinger, Staff Reporter

“American Horror Story” captured audiences in 2011 with its horrific blend of torture, drama, and loveable characters.  After the conclusion of the premiere season, writer Ryan Murphy revealed that each season would focus on a different group of characters in a different setting throughout American history.  The first season took place in a haunted house in modern day L.A., the second in a Massachusetts Insane Asylum in 1964, and the third in a New Orleans academy for witches, once again in present day.  Following this pattern, it comes as no surprise that the upcoming fourth season would once again be a period piece, focusing on a traveling side-show circus in 1952 Florida.

Last week, the AHS marketing team revealed the new intro, giving us a glimpse at the shows characters and themes.  In the previous three seasons, the intro featured a song composed by sound designer Cesar Davila-Irizarry and musician Charlie Clouser played over various clips and images relevant to each season such as inmates and surgeons for “Asylum” and witches and demons for “Coven.”  While “Freak Show” keeps the basic pattern, its intro provides some fresh and exciting changes to the format we’ve grown used to.

The first and most noticeable change is the intro song.  While each season had added some minor changes to the music and soundscape to fit with the season’s new themes, the song had largely remained unchanged. “Freak Show” makes some major changes to the familiar piece, keeping the same basic melody, but rearranging it with a chilling and hauntingly whimsical assortment of carnival sounds and chimes.  The re-worked piece helps set the mood for “Freak Show”’s new atmosphere and is a welcome change to an already chilling composition.

The other major change is the subject matter of the intro. In the previous seasons, the intro was composed of live-action footage, but for Freak Show, this is replaced by incredibly creepy stop-motion animation.  Chilling claymation, reminiscent of Svankmajer, crawl across the screen depicting clowns, a three-legged woman, and a satanic cymbal-clapping monkey, among others.  This new spin on the intro compliments the re-worked song nicely and further draws the audience into the seasons whimsically creepy world of side-show freaks.

With the season set to premiere this Wednesday, hopefully this new intro is enough to whet your appetite for the magnificent, the strange, and the macabre that is “American Horror Story: Freak Show.”

 Leave any thoughts or expectations in the comments below.