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Massacres and Matinees 

With a killer on the loose, police impose a curfew on Jupiter. Elsa hires a strongman, unaware of his dark past with Ethel.


Ryan Murphy (created by), Brad Falchuk (created by) | 1 more credit »




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


Things aren't improving at the box office for Elsa. With the sudden rash of murders, people are afraid to go out at night and the town has announced a nighttime curfew until the killer is caught. Gloria Mott and her son Dandy attend a show but are not impressed. Ethel Darling, the bearded lady, is upset to see that her ex-husband Dell Toledo and his current wife Desiree Dupree arrive looking for work. Elsa takes them on and decides to let Dell run things. Jimmy decides to get rid of Dell by framing him for the murder of a police detective but it all goes horribly wrong. Gloria sees Twisty the Clown walking along the road and brings him home as a plaything for Dandy. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Horror | Thriller


TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

15 October 2014 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Evan Peters plays Jimmy Darling in AHS: Freakshow. His character is based on the real life "Lobster Boy," Grady Stiles Jr.. See more »


Dot Tattler sings "Criminal" in the twins's matinee debut. The show is set in 1952; Criminal was not written by Fiona Apple until 1997. See more »


Elsa Mars: No matinees. No, people don't come to see freaks in the heat of the day, they come in the evening, when the darkness moves in and speaks of mystery, the unknown. When logic loosens its vice grip and the imagination comes out to play. Night allows the stars to shine and we come alive. No, daytime is for kiddie shows, clowns and Kewpie dolls. Maybe that's what you're used to, but you're in a real freak show now, my freak show.
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References Freaks (1932) See more »


Love Me, My Love
Performed by Dean Martin
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User Reviews

Where Is The Depth?
16 October 2014 | by Jac23443See all my reviews

This season seems to lack the wit and imagination the other seasons excelled in. Coven had that constant sense of dread, Asylum was weird and strangely creepy all the time, and the Murder House season was deep and intense... all those seasons contained some intensity that was serious, and compelling, something this season seems to lack almost completely.

Freak Show has poorly written characters trying to deliver great performances that to be honest are just awkward and watered down (Kathy Bates' character). The perfect example is the supposed scary clown that has given people nightmares; this was the most pathetic attempt at shocking and appalling horror, sure he is frightening to look at, but that is only when he does not move, because every time the clown comes on to be "scary" I end up laughing (awkward balloon pop scene). Its really sad when Pennywise from the 90s is scarier than a modern day creation.

This is not to say that the show is not promising, but nonetheless, it is not as promising as Coven, or Murder House because the plot lines seem to be just show and tell rather than staying obscured and mysterious until the end.

Also, this season is predictable, Elsa's constant struggle with her stardom delusion, the Dandy kid helping the killer because he is just as twisted as the clown, which in all honesty is completely uninteresting. The other seasons contained character depth like a wife who is married to an unfaithful man she no longer trusts, or a ghost boy who doesn't accept he is dead and a mother who has to live with the fact that her son killed school students (Lange and Peters). This season is just watered down with a plethora of simple characters with truly nothing to offer but excessive and gratuitous use of predictable suspense and watered down character plot lines. I do not know how much of this season I will be able to endure if this is the way it will continue. Maybe it will progress toward a better middle but if it doesn't I will not even bother with this season. This episode was utterly disappointing.

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