Massacres and Matinees
American Horror Story Freak Show



Critic Ratings: 13
Critics Consensus

The dark themes of "Massacres and Matinees" are reminiscent of themes of season two, only more vibrant this time around.

Episode Info

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


Jessica Lange
as Elsa Mars
Sarah Paulson
as Bette and Dot Tatler
Kathy Bates
as Ethel Darling
Evan Peters
as Jimmy Darling
Michael Chiklis
as Dell Toldeo
Angela Bassett
as Desiree Dupree
Emma Roberts
as Maggie Esmeralda
Finn Wittrock
as Dandy Mott
Frances Conroy
as Gloria Mott
John Carroll Lynch
as Twisty the Clown
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Massacres and Matinees

Twisty is my least favorite part of the season so far, but the throat-clenching tension of "Massacres And Matinees"'s cold open uses John Carroll Lynch's character to marvelous effect.

Jan 21, 2015 | Rating: B | Full Review…
Top Critic

The second episode of Freak Show was directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, whose sensibility is garish and loopy but also precise and formalist, like Wes Anderson directing a snuff film.

Jan 21, 2015 | Full Review…

The novelty and newness of the season premiere has worn off, the world building has mostly subsided, and the show has to start digging into its mystery and plotting. To say that's been a sore spot for much of the FX series' run would be accurate.

Jan 20, 2015 | Full Review…

The second episode of American Horror Story: Freak Show allows us to leisurely soak in the considerable atmospherics of Elsa's (Jessica Lange) financially imperiled Cabinet of Curiosities.

Jan 20, 2015 | Full Review…

This season is dark, dark, dark. Basically: It's "Asylum" with a prettier coat of paint on top.

Jan 21, 2015 | Full Review…

It's probably way too early to make a judgment call on this season of the show so far, but it's essentially a slightly lighter-toned version of season two, aka Asylum, only much more colorful.

Jan 20, 2015 | Full Review…

But - again, compared to other seasons - they're letting this one take its time... We sense some confidence in the scripts this time, as if people know exactly where they want to go and how they're going to get there.

Jun 8, 2018 | Full Review…

Massacres and Matinees was exciting to watch and had some serious OMFGWHATISTHAT moments, so I'm feeling kinda great about this season right now.

Dec 16, 2019 | Full Review…

As early as it may be in the season, I'm enjoying the Freak Show characters and story.

Jan 21, 2015 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…

In the early going anyway, Freak Show is more concerned with serving up a series of indelible moments than connecting them via a strong, compelling narrative. And that's okay for now.

Jan 21, 2015 | Full Review…

"Massacres and Matinees" was both scary and relaxed and set up a lot of very compelling threads that will probably be tugged on for the next few episodes.

Jan 20, 2015 | Full Review…

"Massacres and Matinees" not only introduces new characters in a way that makes sense, but also gives us far more depth into the character dynamics.

Jan 20, 2015 | Rating: 8.2/10 | Full Review…