TV Show Review

TV Review: AMERICAN HORROR STORY: Season 4, Episode 3: Edward Mordrake – Part 1 [FX]

Wes Bentley American Horror Story Edward Mordrake Part 1

FX American Horror Story Edward Mordrake – Part 1 TV Show Review. American Horror Story: Season 4, Episode 3: Edward Mordrake – Part 1 is the “Halloween” episode of the season. Directed by Michael Uppendahl, it was a true homage to the infamous film by John Carpenter. The Michael Myers proxy here, Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch). As I wrote in my last review, the creepy clown, like Michael, stalks his prey in the light of day. Uppendhal recreated the familiar eerie handheld POV shots, like being behind the mask…a direct nod to the classic, uber successful thriller. Uppendahl also gave a strong nod to the classic horror film, playing with shadows and light in the telling of the legend of Edward Mordrake. [The shots were quite stunning and flavored the story beautifully, creating a very believable horror story within a horror story.]

There was no shortage of emotion and humanity in tonight’s episode. Though several strong, heartfelt moments…the fascinating tale of Ethel Darling (Kathy Bates), her cruel past and ominous future, were truly heartbreaking. Ethel, having been diagnosed with a fatal prognosis at the doctors, was crying not because of her fate, but rather the doctor treating her like a “normal” person. [A much more powerful delivery of the message that “freaks are people to” than Jimmy Darling (Evan Peters) shouting from the diner every episode.]

Edward Mordrake, played perfectly and creepily by the excellent Wes Bentley, was summoned by Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) song, after Ethel warned that performing on Halloween would summon the man with two faces. Ethel had to tell Mordrake about her descent into the life she now led in Jupiter with the freakshow. [The legend of Mordrake provided an opportunity for real dramatic moments, lacking any camp or gimmick. Excavating the pasts of the “freaks” was a tender and compassionate exploration, that grounded the entire storyline.]

Two more past alums showed up tonight: Maggie Esmerelda (Emma Roberts) and Stanley (Dennis O’Hare), two charlatans looking to sell “bona fide” freaks to museums.

American Horror Story has a compelling success on its hands with Freakshow.

Happy Halloween!

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Eden Tirl

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