American Horror Story: Freak Show (2014)


Freak Show
American Horror Story

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.



Critic Ratings: 34


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2028
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Air date: Oct 8, 2014
Air date: Oct 15, 2014
Air date: Oct 22, 2014
Air date: Oct 29, 2014
Air date: Nov 5, 2014
Air date: Nov 12, 2014
Air date: Nov 19, 2014
Air date: Dec 3, 2014
Air date: Dec 10, 2014
Air date: Dec 17, 2014
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American Horror Story: Freak Show Photos

Tv 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

News & Interviews for American Horror Story: Freak Show

Critic Reviews for American Horror Story Freak Show

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (16)

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.

Oct 8, 2014 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

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

Oct 8, 2014 | Full Review…
Top Critic

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

Oct 8, 2014 | Full Review…

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.

Oct 8, 2014 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
Top Critic

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.

Oct 7, 2014 | Rating: A | Full Review…
Top Critic

Freakshow had everything I could ask for from American Horror Story; lots of blood, cringe-worthy horror, jaw-dropping moments..., and most of all a GREAT VILLAIN!

Jun 26, 2018 | Full Review…

Subtlety has never been creator Ryan Murphy's strong suit, but Murphy (who also wrote and directed tonight's premiere) seems to have fully embraced that approach, delivering what appears to be both the most horrifying and joyful season yet.

Mar 16, 2017 | Full Review…

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.

Oct 9, 2014 | Full Review…

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.

Oct 8, 2014 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…

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.

Oct 8, 2014 | Full Review…

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.

Oct 8, 2014 | Full Review…

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

Oct 8, 2014 | Rating: 7.5/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for American Horror Story: Freak Show

  • 4h ago
    The two-head character was so gross that it made the show unwatchable for me.
  • Oct 13, 2019
    7.3/10 It's more drama than horror, and it's much slower than previous seasons, but Freak Show is saved through some fantastic direction, a killer clown, and some wonderful performances from Sarah Paulson, Finn Wittrock, and Jessica Lange (not to mention a two-faced guest role from Wes Bentley).
  • Oct 06, 2019
    It's far from terrifying specially after episode 4. But it has something that touched my heart. I can totally get what this season is trying to portray, beautifully.
  • Oct 06, 2019
    Season 3 of American Horror Story took all kinds of risks with social commentary and politics with the magical elements Now Season 4 takes us back to the 1950s era but with something far more out of the ordinary with Freak Show This season starts with the murder of a mother and the discovery of conjoined twin sisters Bette and Dot by a show owner, Elsa Newcomers are Skyler Samuels and Michael Chiklis along with regular players Jessica Lange, Emma Roberts, Evan Peters, Angela Bassett and Sarah Paulson At this attraction many of the displays are Bette and Dot, a teen with conjoined fingers, a bearded woman, world's smallest lady, and a three breasted wife The residents living in this side show face all kinds of prejudice and persecution which makes sense given the time period here; the best they can do is stand together and not let the rest of everyone else treat them like dirt To make matters worse a psychotic clown is killing so many people and taken a young girl and a boy hostage. Everyone is quick to blame the freaks at the carnival. A rich boy Dandy leaves his mother to seek something more to his suiting even if it's very twisted. He may have more than 1 murderous bone in his body. As the season goes on several members of the 'freak' family keep going and coming back asking where they truly belong. Elsa might also start changing herself maybe not for the better. Even though she did take in all of these outcasts when they had nowhere else to go she begins to have other reservations. Are the so-called normal people the real monsters living bitter, bored lives? There's nothing worse than loving someone you can't have. Imagine being a freak for just being normal. Who are the real freaks in this crazy messed up world? Sometimes all us ‘freaks' have is each other. This season dives deeply into the strange, the bizarre, the macabre, although it never truly frightens like previous seasons and it tends to get a bit too dramatic. But there's a cool connection to another season of the show and the 1950s era of fear and communism fits very well masking people's paranoia and mistrust in those whom are physically different from us. ‘Freak Show' succeeds showing what goes on behind the curtains for a change.
  • Oct 01, 2019
    I think the director failed miserably on this one. The story was all over the place with a lot plot holes, like what happened to Stanley and Chester. It's a shame they wasted such a nice cast.
  • Sep 28, 2019
    American Horror Story: Freakshow has its moments of sheer terror, but the series falters as a whole with an uneven storyline. It is saved with the ensemble of actors and actresses, the cinematography, and the writing of diverse, effective characters.
  • Apr 10, 2019
    This season had no storyline, the one good plot line was Elsa and her Germany days and they went nowhere with it. This season was like a can of sprite that's sat on your nightstand over night. Flat and bitter tasting.
  • Mar 23, 2019
    Maybe my favourite season of AHS since Murder House. More raw, more emotional. The underlying issues of acceptance and self-love are counterpoint to some truly terrifying and twisted villains. Beware if youâ??re not cool with clowns because this one had me looking away even though Iâ??ve always liked them. Finn Wittrock is a great addition and creepy AF. Kathy Bates is the heart this time, but the entire extended cast is so solid.
  • Feb 28, 2019
    Not as good as Coven and Murder House for me but still a great addition to the American Horror Story franchise. Quirky and Clever plots and tie ins to the others. *(Spoiler alert)* Apart from the massacre which was like theyâ??d ran out of ideas so just wiped them all out to be done of it!
  • Jan 07, 2019
    Again, a personal favourite! Probably one of the most emotional season throughout 8 seasons. Jessica Lange as Elsa Mars was on point by portraying her emotional battle and struggle, toward herself, and the show. Nice add to the musical acts and showing multiple conflicts without confusing the audience. Love!

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