American Horror Story Wiki
American Horror Story Wiki

Freak Show is the subtitle for the fourth season of American Horror Story. A fourth story was announced on November 6, 2013, which featured 13 episodes. It was announced on Ryan Murphy's Twitter account on March 24, 2014 that the story title was "Freak Show."[1]

The story relied on the ensemble cast from the previous season with Finn Wittrock joining as a prominent actor in the role of Dandy Mott, the season principal villain.

Featuring Lily Rabe and Naomi Grossman reprising their role as Sister Mary Eunice and Pepper, respectively, Freak Show established a shared universe and continuity among the series.


American Horror Story: Freak Show begins its tale in the quiet, sleepy hamlet of Jupiter, Florida. The year is 1952. A troupe of human curiosities has just arrived in town, coinciding with the strange emergence of a dark entity that savagely threatens the lives of townsfolk and freaks alike. This is the story of the performers and their desperate journey of survival amidst the dying world of the American carny experience.[2]

Cast and Characters


Episode # Premiere Writer(s) Director
Monsters Among Us 1 2014-10-08 Ryan Murphy · Brad Falchuk Ryan Murphy
Massacres and Matinees 2 2014-10-15 Tim Minear Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Edward Mordrake: Part 1 3 2014-10-22 James Wong Michael Uppendahl
Edward Mordrake: Part 2 4 2014-10-29 Jennifer Salt Howard Deutch
Pink Cupcakes 5 2014-11-05 Jessica Sharzer Michael Uppendahl
Bullseye 6 2014-11-12 Ryan Murphy ; Brad Falchuk ; John J. Gray Howard Deutch
Test of Strength 7 2014-11-19 Crystal Liu Anthony Hemingway
Blood Bath 8 2014-12-03 Ryan Murphy Bradley Buecker
Tupperware Party Massacre 9 2014-12-10 Ryan Murphy ; Brad Falchuk Loni Peristere
Orphans 10 2014-12-17 Ryan Murphy ; Brad Falchuk Bradley Buecker
Magical Thinking 11 2015-01-07 Jennifer Salt Michael Goi
Show Stoppers 12 2015-01-14 Jessica Sharzer Loni Peristere
Curtain Call 13 2015-01-21 John J. Gray Bradley Buecker


American Horror Story: Freak Show proved quite a challenge an another period piece echoing the times of the second installment, American Horror Story: Asylum.

As executive producer Tim Minear put it, "The challenge this year was to bring the audience into this ersatz family of people who are different than other people. We always do that every year in some way: The outsiders become the heroes of our show. We sort of took what we do and made it more literal this year. The challenge was really to bring you in to identify with these people, so you could be scared for them. And then at some point they’re not freaks. They’re these people that you’ve come to know, which is how we feel about each other in the writers’ room." [3]

Writer Douglas Petrie accidentally revealed in a Nerdist podcast that the fourth installment will centre around a carnival. Ryan Murphy confirmed the setting as the 1950s and for Jessica Lange to portray a Marlene Dietrich sort of character. He also added, "It feels like a Douglas Sirk movie; it's very 1952 presentational and then the horror is an unexpected jab. As opposed to last year, which was crazy camera work and comedy. This year feels different." [4]


Jessica Lange was the first to be confirmed as a regular. In November 2013, Murphy said he approached Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett to return after they portrayed trailblazing roles such as Delphine LaLaurie and Marie Laveau respectively the previous year. It was announced at the PaleyFest 2014 that the cast members present at the panel would all be returning for the fourth season in some capacity; Denis O'Hare, Emma Roberts, Frances Conroy, Evan Peters, Gabourey Sidibe, and Jamie Brewer – all of whom starred in the third installment.

Sarah Paulson disclosed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter she will appear in a main role.

In July 2014, it was reported that Michael Chiklis, Finn Wittrock and Wes Bentley had been added to the ensemble cast for the season. The latter was said to appear in a limited capacity during the two-part Halloween special episode as Edward Mordrake. [5]

John Carroll Lynch was announced as taking over the role of "Twisty The Clown," described as one of the central antagonist of the season during the Comic-Con 2014.

Murphy had written a role specifically for Leslie Jordan, who previously guest-starred as warlock Quentin Fleming in Coven but he did not appear on the show due to scheduling conflicts.[6]


Freak Show was the second time shooting in Louisiana, after the previous season, American Horror Story: Coven was filmed and set in New Orleans. For the fourth installment, however, it stood in for Jupiter, Florida. They shot in the summer, facing intense heat and humidity, and making for some entertaining anecdotes. Kathy Bates recalled shooting a scene with Michael Chiklis early in the morning "to beat the heat". The two of them noticed an object floating in the pond, and upon closer inspection, they identified the object to be an alligator. [3]