On American Horror Story, nothing good ever happens on Halloween. For one day each year, the dead walk among the living, while most of the living remains oblivious to the supernatural forces in play. And the dead, well, they prefer to play to the death.
Most normal folks celebrate the festive holiday in a joyful fashion with candy, costumes, and parties (not too frightful). This is why fans are so grateful to have American Horror Story: Freak Show to remind us how horrific Halloween is supposed to be.
Those not obsessed with the show are unable to grasp how these disturbingly erotic story lines have harnessed such a cult-like following. But for the fans, what more can we ask for? It’s entertaining as hell. The first part of the Halloween double feature, titled “Edward Mordrake Part 1,” brings us face to face with the two faces of this season’s first supernatural being, Edward Mordrake, who leads us to our first awful truth.
Awful Truth #1
According to the old superstition, any carny that performs on Halloween runs the risk of summoning the ghost of Mordrake, a 19th century English noble, who was born with a second face on the back of his head. The horrid whispers of his second face tormented Mordrake to the point of murdering his fellow carnies before killing himself. When summoned, Edward will remain until he’s chosen a tormented soul to join his own troupe in hell. We have Elsa and her tainted rendition of Lana Del Rey’s “Gods and Monsters” to thank for Edward’s arrival. On a side note, the song was a perfect fit for the episode and is reminiscent of the Freak Show’s aura.
Awful Truth #2
The going rate for an authentic specimen of an abnormal being, or freak, is sky high. When Stanley (Denis O’ Hare) and Maggie Esmeralda (Emma Roberts) hear that The American Morbidity Museum paid $5000 for the conjoined liver of Siamese twins, money bells rang in their fraudulent ears. Stanley, however, is the true mastermind and we shouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being the major force to be reckoned with. Bette and Dot should already be running for cover. Posed as a Hollywood talent agent, Stanley already has Elsa on her knees. The way he sees it, who cares if a freak goes missing?
Awful Truth #3
Is it time for us to feel sorry for Elsa Mars? The wannabe superstar, who uses her freak show family for her own selfish reasons has been through the most horrific of life experiences, something you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. In 1932 Berlin, Elsa worked in a brothel and became infamous among the men for her especially creative talents. A group of men tied her down for a snuff film and cut off her legs with a chain saw, leaving her to die. She was drugged, but not enough to numb the pain. She’s been to hell and back, and she’s still the prominent leader of her troupe, putting her toughest face forward and demanding respect. She’s a strong woman, and though she hides her deformity, I have a newfound respect for her.
Awful Truth #4
Who’s the worst clown of all? Up until now, we were unsure if Dandy was simply a spoiled man-child with strange tendencies or a bloody murderer. But our questions are answered when he slices the neck of his housemaid. Then, there’s Twisty, a misunderstood soul. He’s severely misguided, but still, misunderstood. How American Horror Story manages to twist our view of Twisty from the murderous clown that has been terrorizing Jupiter since episode one, to the once happy, tormented man we can all sympathize with, is insane. But it happened.
In 1934, Twisty was a lovable children’s clown who became the target of jealous freaks. They tormented him, insisted he molested children, and convinced him cops were after him. Rumors flew and he couldn’t find work. He returned to Jupiter where nothing went as planned. (End of feeling bad for Twisty) So, he starts killing, kidnapping and holding a hostage audience. Twisty is so delusional, he thinks he’s saving his victims from the real freaks. Edward sees this unfixable soul and stabs Twisty, deciding he’s the one for the taking.
Awful Truth #5
Jimmy and Esmeralda kind of seem like “a thing.” This may not seem so awful, but it poses many problems. First off, Esmeralda is a fraud. She’s the Thing Two to Stanley’s Thing One. Can she be trusted? She seems to have a soft side for Jimmy and even gives him a kiss on the cheek after he saves the day. She was also surprisingly selfless when she tells Bonnie and the two boys how to get to the road and has Dandy follow her instead. But there’s one person who would truly see this coupling as awful: Dot. She’s had her eyes set on Jimmy since day one, and she now has a major ego.
An Extra Awful Truth
Dot is a terrible person. She longs for an operation to separate her body from her sister’s. But that’s not the worst of it. She’s so set on this vision, partially because of her daydreams of getting married and having kids (primarily with Jimmy), she tells Bette she wouldn’t care if one of them died during the operation. The fact that light-hearted Bette is permanently attached to a selfish dreamer makes her the least fortunate freak of all.