8.4/10
4,578
9 user 19 critic

Monsters Among Us 

After their mother's murder, conjoined twins Bette and Dot are hired by struggling freak show owner Elsa Mars.

Director:

Ryan Murphy

Writers:

Ryan Murphy (created by), Brad Falchuk (created by) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Sarah Paulson ... Bette Tattler / Dot Tattler
Evan Peters ... Jimmy Darling
Michael Chiklis ... Dell Toledo (credit only)
Frances Conroy ... Gloria Mott
Denis O'Hare ... Stanley (credit only)
Emma Roberts ... Maggie Esmerelda (credit only)
Finn Wittrock ... Dandy Mott
Angela Bassett ... Desiree Dupree (credit only)
Kathy Bates ... Ethel Darling
Jessica Lange ... Elsa Mars
John Carroll Lynch ... Twisty the Clown
Grace Gummer ... Penny
Skyler Samuels ... Bonnie Lipton
Naomi Grossman ... Pepper
Jyoti Amge ... Ma Petite
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Storyline

In Jupiter, Florida in 1951 Elsa Mars rents a farmer's field and sets up the tents for her circus freakshow. She's always on the lookout for new acts and visits the Tattler sisters, Bette and Dot, who are hospitalized after the local milkman finds their mother dead on her kitchen floor. The sisters are perfect for Elsa's show - they are Siamese twins with two heads sharing one body. Elsa sees them as her new headliners. Other acts include Ethel Darling, the bearded lady and her son Jimmy, the Lobster Boy. They group is clearly not welcome in the community and few people are coming to their nightly show. Meanwhile a clown by the name of Twisty is killing people. He's also taken a young boy and a young woman prisoner. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 October 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Monsters Among Us See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This season takes place in 1952, while the song Elsa (Jessica Lange) sings, "Life on Mars" by David Bowie, was released in 1971, nearly 20 years later. See more »

Goofs

There's a scene where Bette takes a drag of a cigarette, but then Dot exhales it. However, the doctor (in the beginning of the episode) explains that they have four lungs without any mention of them being connected, so it would have been impossible for one to breathe in the smoke and the other exhale it. See more »

Connections

References Freaks (1932) See more »

Soundtracks

Down At the Beach
(uncredited)
Performed by The Pentagons
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Intriguing setting & killer but excessive characters - still has promise
8 October 2014 | by ArchonCinemaReviewsSee all my reviews

The FX Network brings viewers a fourth American Horror Story season, this time called Freak Show.

Speculation regarding this season of American Horror Story has been rampantly strong for months. Teaser trailers were released to satiate the voracious appetite about Freak Show, the fourth season's subtitle of the AHS television series.

Going into the first episode, Monsters Among Us, information regarding details of new characters were also released. American Horror Story series originals Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, and Evan Peters are back as members of a traveling circus oddities show. Frances Conroy and Denis O'Hare, also from Murder House, return for the fourth season. Series regulars from season three Coven, but relatively new stars to the FX series, Emma Roberts, Kathy Bates, and Angela Bassett also join as "freaks" in the circus in Freak Show. They even let anxious viewers know who the masked murderous figure would be in the season. And just when we thought we got all the breadcrumbs we could handle, the main title sequence, which is known to include hints to the plot of the season, was released.

American Horror Story creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk first episode of Freak Show is a monster and stretches 90 minutes with commercials. All first episodes of American Horror Story must be viewed and reviewed as if they were a pilot as each season is vastly different from the rest. As a pilot, Monsters Among Us lacks the knowing and foreshadowing presence that Murder House's pilot episode contained. Perhaps this sentiment would not be so strong if information about characters were not divulged prior to the season premiere.

Setting season four in the carnival atmosphere of Elsa's Cabinet of Curiosities in the 1950's was a masterful choice. Typically individuals marketed as 'side show freaks' came from dark pasts and lived a hostile existence typical of the American Horror Story motif. Further the time period is different enough to captivate and transport in the way AHS fans are accustomed.Though unclear at the present time, I do hope they allow art to imitate life and use real life human marvels's story lines from the Golden Age to be inspiration and let modern performers be highlighted.

Then, just to ensure Freak Show's success, a violent and hideous being murderously lurks in the background capitalizing on one of people's most common fears. Creators Murphy and Falchuk once again enlist a masked figure, this time a serial killer known as Twisty the Clown.

The production, set and costume designers capitalize on this captivating and nostalgic time with magnificent and enchanting locations. Then there is the amazing make up and effects department conceptualizing a truly horrifying killer clown. The face of Twisty is enough to hook me in for the rest of the season.

The serial killer aspect of Freak Show and highlighted in Monsters Among Us is the most compelling feature of the episode by the halfway point and grounds the episode. Pilot episodes always suffer slightly as they scramble to introduce any and all important characters, and Freak Show has an excessive amount. Though all actors involved are exceedingly superior in their craft some veterans stumble with wavering accents, specifically Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange.

Freak Show (AHS4) should be a fun show to watch if just for the weird, bizarre but exceptionally different characters. I especially think Sarah Paulson's portrayal of conjoined twins Bette and Dot Tattler will be the stand-out performance thanks to their polarizing personalities.

After watching Monsters Among Us I am unsure as to the direction of the rest of the series, whether Twisty or Elsa's curiosities will gain traction as the defining plot. American Horror Story's Freak Show is bound to be perversely sinister but I have doubts whether it will have that gratifyingly coalescent quality fans have longed for since season one's Murder House.

Check out our website for more reviews and to comment and give us your opinions of what is to come for the show!


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