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American Horror Story: Freak Show (2014)

TOMATOMETER

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 32
Fresh: 27
Rotten: 5

Critics Consensus: Though it may turn off new viewers unaccustomed to its unabashed weirdness, Freak Show still brings the thrills, thanks to its reliably stylish presentation and game cast.

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 11
Fresh: 8
Rotten: 3

Critics Consensus: Though it may turn off new viewers unaccustomed to its unabashed weirdness, Freak Show still brings the thrills, thanks to its reliably stylish presentation and game cast.

AUDIENCE SCORE

Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 201

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Season Info

American Horror Story: Freak Show begins its tale in the quiet, sleepy hamlet of Jupiter, Florida. The year is 1952. A troupe of curiosities has just arrived to 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.-- (C) FX

Network:
FX
Premiere Date:
Oct 8, 2014

Cast

Show More Cast

Episodes

1
Air date: Oct 8, 2014

Police make a grim discovery at a farmhouse in the Season 4 premiere.

2
Air date: Oct 15, 2014

A man from Ethel's troubled past arrives at camp. Meanwhile, Gloria arranges a play date for Dandy.

3
Air date: Oct 22, 2014

Part 1 of 2. Jimmy is captivated by a woman claiming to be a fortuneteller. Meanwhile, Ethel receives surprising news.

4
Air date: Oct 29, 2014

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Critic Reviews for American Horror Story: Freak Show

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (5)

If Twisty's not the most gruesome clown to ever exist in either a TV show or film, he's right up there in the top three.

Full Review… | October 9, 2014
Showbiz Junkies

Unlike the first season's incoherent opener, Freak Show's was elegant, beautifully structured, and frequently astonishing. Also it was insane, obviously. And brilliant. And sad. But mostly insane.

Full Review… | October 9, 2014
TV.com
Top Critic

The first hour - which took us to Jupiter, Fla., in 1952 to ask who really are the "Monsters Among Us," the freaks or those who misjudge them? - was stylish, shocking and irresistibly over the (big) top!

Full Review… | October 9, 2014
TV Line

So far, it is a lot of fun, so I'm definitely in.

Full Review… | October 9, 2014
TV Equals

Though the beginning is slow as we are introduced to Elsa and Bette and Dot, later when we are given a look into the rest of the members of the freak show everything gets more interesting.

Full Review… | October 9, 2014
The Young Folks

The biggest compliment that you can give Freak Show is that its characters are vivid, even if their purpose and direction seem somewhat opaque.

Full Review… | October 9, 2014
ScreenRant
Top Critic

I enjoyed the "back to basics" elements here with regards to home invasions, abductions, and murder being the core scary elements. Especially the fact that they're being committed by nightmare clown.

Full Review… | October 9, 2014
IGN Movies

I didn't expect the American Horror Story: Freak Show premiere to be the most frightening of the anthology series. It was more bone chilling than I remember any of the previous ones.

Full Review… | October 9, 2014
TV Fanatic

There's still plenty carnage to be had, but that comes in between scenes that establish characters and explore relationships.

Full Review… | October 9, 2014
AV Club

The first hour of AHS: Freak Show, with its amazing new title sequence, odd characters, gorgeous production values and depiction of a dying show-biz era, totally pulled me in. But I'm a sucker for the nostalgia and the creepiness of the sideshow world.

Full Review… | October 9, 2014
Contra Costa Times

At this point, this is the closest a premiere of American Horror Story has been to something great.

Full Review… | October 9, 2014
Paste Magazine

Mesmerizing characters, a perfectly realized atmosphere and one truly terrifying clown could make American Horror Story: Freak Show the most deliciously creepy and captivating season yet.

Full Review… | October 8, 2014
We Got This Covered
Top Critic

It is Sarah Paulson who is the main attraction as a Siamese Twin that is actually more like the central creature in "The Thing with Two Heads" with Rosey Grier and Ray Milland. It's a triumph of special effects.

Full Review… | October 8, 2014
rogercatlin.com

As with the previous three installments, "Freak Show" has that "hard to watch but can't look away" quality that will keep me wondering throughout the whole season if I can stick it out or not.

Full Review… | October 8, 2014
News & Observer, Raleigh, NC

Speaking of scary: There's a clown. And not just any scary clown, but the scariest clown ever, a gruesome killer with a huge smile hideous enough to make us apologize to any ordinary clown we ever called scary.

Full Review… | October 8, 2014
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Like all great horror, it is willing to abuse its audience-which, in a perfectly Murphian turn, wants to be abused.

Full Review… | October 8, 2014
Slate

Even when it's not scream-out-loud terrifying, Freak Show is an act worth seeing when it comes to town.

Full Review… | October 8, 2014
Under the Radar
Top Critic

It's hard to know whether to laugh, scream or roll one's eyes. Even when Freak Show collapses under its undiluted excess, it does remember at least one essential truth of terror: Nothing's scarier than a mean, ugly clown.

Full Review… | October 8, 2014
TV Guide

In the early going it feels depressing and strangely uninvolving and mostly weird/edgy for the sake of being weird/edgy.

Full Review… | October 8, 2014
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Despite all the accumulated bodies, Freak Show is more style than story. But there's enough talent and intensity here for me to step behind the tent flap, to see if all this can cohere into something super freaky.

Full Review… | October 8, 2014
TIME Magazine

Freak Show... still has the high style we've grown to expect from the Horror Story creators, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, who wrote the season premiere (directed by Mr. Murphy). And it still has plenty of clever touches in word and picture.

Full Review… | October 8, 2014
New York Times

Murphy is in full ringleader mode here, the Barnum & the Bailey of television insanity.

Full Review… | October 8, 2014
RogerEbert.com
Top Critic

Some seasons of American Horror Story are better than others. American Horror Story: Freak Show seems to be the best yet, or at the very least, the best directed.

Full Review… | October 8, 2014

The appalling splendor is right there in credits. Credit sequences are an "AHS" specialty, but the FX franchise pretty much outdoes itself with this one.

Full Review… | October 8, 2014
Newsday

There's an intentional disconnect to it all... [It] is certainly telling a weird story, but it's not all that scary and, worse yet, the characters are already launching into tedious monologues about civil rights for geeks

Full Review… | October 7, 2014
Washington Post

Where too many TV series become stale after a season or two, Horror Story has a proven ability to transform itself -- not just season to season, but also episode to episode and sometimes even scene to scene -- built into its creative DNA.

Full Review… | October 7, 2014
Variety

Freak Show looks like a beauty, with a wealth of fascinating characters and a little smattering of heart helping to balance out the grisly appointed rounds of a so far unidentified clown with a hellish half-mask.

Full Review… | October 7, 2014
Uncle Barky

Is it scary? Let's just say that I've never before been afraid of clowns. And now I am.

Full Review… | October 7, 2014
Philadelphia Daily News

Alas, I found it insufficiently lurid--slow-paced and obvious.

Full Review… | October 7, 2014
Hollywood Reporter

I fully expect and embrace the point at which Freak Show flies off of the Ferris wheel rails, but this is a solid foundation upon which the show's writers and directors can build a multi-level madhouse, with an impeccable cast acting it all out.

Full Review… | October 7, 2014
CinemaBlend.com

The first two episodes try to fake us into believing there's more here than meets the eye or ear with a lot of dramatic music, but it isn't enough to mask the series' deficiencies.

Full Review… | October 6, 2014
San Francisco Chronicle

Freak Show is an excuse for American Horror Story to let its freak flag fly higher and prouder than ever before.

Full Review… | October 6, 2014
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for American Horror Story: Freak Show

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