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: 35


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2133

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Air date: Oct 8, 2014

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

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Air date: Oct 15, 2014

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

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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.

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Air date: Oct 29, 2014

Conclusion. Jimmy and Maggie have a run-in with the Twisted Clown. Meanwhile, Elsa recalls her days in Germany.

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Air date: Nov 5, 2014

Desiree has a health scare. Meanwhile, Stanley and Maggie hatch a plan to murder the Freaks.

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Air date: Nov 12, 2014

A dangerous new act is unveiled by Elsa. Meanwhile, Stanley pressures Maggie to murder Jimmy; and Paul indulges in a secret romance.

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Air date: Nov 19, 2014

The women rally against Dell. Meanwhile, Jimmy has a strange encounter with Dandy.

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Air date: Dec 3, 2014

Recent disappearances around camp raise Ethel's suspicion of Elsa. Gloria makes a last ditch effort to contain Dandy's bloodlust. (C) FX

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Air date: Dec 10, 2014

In the wake of a tragic loss, Jimmy sinks into a drunken despair. A reading from Maggie spurs Dandy to action. (C) FX

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Air date: Dec 17, 2014

The death of a Freak sparks troubling behavior in Pepper. Elsa reveals the history of the Freak Show. Desiree grows suspicious of Maggie. (C) FX

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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

Cast & Crew

Jessica Lange
Elsa Mars
Kathy Bates
Ethel Darling
Sarah Paulson
Bette & Dot Tattler
Michael Chiklis
Dell Toledo
Angela Bassett
Desiree Dupree
Evan Peters
Jimmy Darling
Emma Roberts
Maggie Esmerelda
John Carroll Lynch
Twisty the Clown
Jyoti Amge
Ma Petite
Chrissy Metz
Ima 'Barbara' Wiggles
Erika Ervin
Amazon Eve
Mat Fraser
Paul the Illustrated Seal
Rose Siggins
Legless Suzi
Ryan Murphy
Executive Producer
Brad Falchuk
Executive Producer
Dante Di Loreto
Executive Producer
Tim Minear
Executive Producer
Jennifer Salt
Executive Producer
James Wong
Executive Producer
Brad Buecker
Executive Producer
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News & Interviews for American Horror Story: Freak Show

Critic Reviews for American Horror Story Freak Show

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (19)

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…

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…

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…

The problem with Freak Show is that the more we get to know these people, the less there is to like... Feak Show invites us to gawk at various people with disabilities and feel good doing it.

Jan 22, 2021 | Full Review…

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…

Audience Reviews for American Horror Story: Freak Show

  • Jun 17, 2021
    This season was very well paced, and had me on the edge of my seat! The plot was perfectly delivered and the characters were very well written. Ive been watching American horror story since I was 12 and had never failed to be amazing, and freak show was one of the best seasons
  • Jun 15, 2021
    I liked this season, however I don't like how peppers story ends that just added bad taste to my mouth, especially after not long ago watching asylum, the worst of this series was asylum. This season explored and gave the audience some adventure. This one is my personal favourite from this series.
  • May 02, 2021
    This was the first season I ever watched, and it is great. Definitely the most interesting setting in my opinion, which sets up some creepy and scary moments. Many of the characters are great but not to the standards of the previous seasons in general. This season is probably one of the scariest and has some wtf moments, which is part of the reason why it is so great.
  • Apr 19, 2021
    Better than season 3 but that's not saying much, it leans in much more to the horror than season 2 and it's actually pretty interesting, not incredibly but enough that I watched it all and actually don't feel like it was wasted time like I do with other seasons like 2, 8, and 9.
  • Apr 18, 2021
    This season just has so much heart! And made me cry wayyyy too often lol! Beautiful characters!
  • Apr 11, 2021
    I really like AHS and I'm a huge fan but this season was not the best. I think the main problem in this season was that most of characters were very unlikable, there wasn't a main character that you could really root for and genuinely like as a person. Most of the main characters that we get to know do something really bad at some point which makes them really dislikable. So you basically have something against every main character by the end. Dandy (a crazy rich spoiled serial killer who acts like a little whiney boy in a grown mans body) is so annoying the whole season. A killer clown who barely effects the plot at all takes up a whole bunch of episodes for no reason whatsoever. There was so much unnecessary stuff going on in this season, its even a chore to get through it. I'd recommend just skipping freakshow, or if you want to see Pepper's story, then just watch that part. Freakshow definitely had lots of potential for a season, but too much went on and the plot went into too many odd directions and they messed up the characters so much that you can't even enjoy it. Also, this season just felt depressing and strangely uncomfortable to watch.
  • Mar 22, 2021
    I found Freak Show to be the most middle-ground season of the bunch. While the first few episodes are stellar, being some of the best in all of AHS, the season falls off very hard shortly thereafter and never recovers. It also suffers from some pacing issues, and there are a lot of antagonists, almost one per episode it seems. Overall meh; not bad not good.
  • Jan 21, 2021
    My fav season by far. Can't really decided between asylum and freak show...but freak show had its touching moments and also the last season where you see Jessica Lange's expectational performance and then it all went down to crap after this season.
  • Nov 23, 2020
    This season bored me, at first it looked cool, but then it started to get boring
  • Nov 12, 2020
    Sarah's performance is so good! the whole cast did a great job on this one!

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