I don’t own a tv but I love it as much as the next person. As much horror going on in the real world it is nice and perfectly ok to escape for a little while. When American Horror Story “Murder House” debuted I LOVED it. But my aversion to “Asylums” and indifference to fictional Witches thus far led me to skip the show’s next two seasons. But knowing that AHS/Freak Show was coming this season, I turned to Netflix to see what I had missed. And boy did I miss out!
I think that if the thread throughout AHS seasons is about reincarnation and maybe even purgatory. These characters, essentially the same people season after season are locked into a perpetual existence together, learning the same hard lessons, time after time. All of the same lessons that we are perpetually learning ourselves. The struggle to live with greed, envy, ambition, self-pity, death, identity, marginalization and trying if not highly challenged to eventually rise above. It is sad and magical and beautiful. And of course so well executed and so touching. Although I AM Myrtle Snow in most respects, Elsa Mars, played by the astonishingly wonderful Jessica Lange, is my absolute favorite character in Freak Show and of course I am in love with her style!
Elsa is the German Ex-patriate, ring mother to her “collection” of “freaks” and aspiring superstar. A former cabaret performer and Mistress (Of the S&M variety) in post warWWII Berlin, Germany she escapes a violent end to her career and seeks out the American Dream as detailed in too many a glamorous magazine. Elsa’s lavish and fabulous dress is a bit dated and marks her love affair with the past.
The year is 1952 and nothing has turned out as Elsa had planned and her desperation grows. She lives in stylish ensembles reminiscent of the 40s by day, fabulous furs, and bathed in lush silk robes and evening wear reminiscent of her youth of the 1930’s. Elsa is a sad, pitiful, dangerous and aging Marlene Dietrich in her own mind. Hiding from her carni “family” that she is indeed is a “freak” too, she is losing their trust as she disposes of all of those that she thinks stands between her and her stardom.
Glamourous and treachorous is Elsa. She is a Divine tragedy. And its hard to believe there will be redemption for our fabulous Ms. Lang’s character in this season….Who knows? To the Divine Ms. Mars. I can’t wait to find out!