Welcome to the Carnival. Art by AWisher_ALiar
I never jumped on board the American Horror Storytrain.
I know. Weird, right?
I do like that each season apparently has a different setting and characters, though, and it seems, at least to this uneducated and passive observer, like a well-written and impressive show. Even though last season’s Coven caught my interest like the ones before it never had, I still never picked up the remote and flipped it on.
So now here we are, with the setting of the upcoming season suddenly leaked. And, it’s apparently a carnival.
This is probably enough to make me watch the next season. I will be the first person to admit I don’t really like carnivals. They’ve always felt creepy to me, and it probably didn’t help that the fairs I grew up visiting seemed to be plagued with violence and just generally sketchy goings-on. Plus, I’m terrified of clowns. No, seriously, I hate them and I don’t want to be anywhere near them. (Yes I’ve seen the movie It, yes I like it, and yes it disgusts me every time.) And I’ve never really been a big fan of people in giant costumes, and I just assume now that the animals are grossly mistreated. It’s a safe assumption to make; let’s be honest about that.
But the inherent creep factor of carnivals makes them the perfect setting for a horror story. The characters, especially the villains, can be so much more extravagant and sinister because why not? What better place for a spectacle of villainy than a place where guests expect things to be illusory?
I like horror. I prefer psychological horror to gross-out gore, though, and since I’ve never seen AHS, I’m really hoping it opts for the former. I’ll be sitting down to watch at least the premiere of season 4, especially if these rumors get further confirmation.
I’m also interested to see who AHS chooses to focus on for this. If they are going for a literal carnival setting rather than a loose interpretation, I wonder if the writers will focus on the patrons or the performers. There’s so much that can be done with either, or even a combination of both, but of course my hope is that they’ll focus more on the performers and staff. Like I said, it’s the perfect setting for some really down and dirty treachery, but focusing on the staff rather than the guests is just an unusual slant to take. I haven’t read many works set in locations like this, but from my limited scope I can say what I have seen focuses squarely on the patrons. Sure, the staff are slated as villains, but usually fairly one-dimensional ones bent on killing and/or eating the guests. Which is awesome, of course, but what about something completely different?
(Points for that reference, thank you)
The Midnight Carnival: One Night Only
Of course, I’ve got a personal bias here. Last Halloween saw the release of my authorial debut, and I’m still quite proud of myself. I’m published! A group of us got together and penned The Midnight Carnival: One Night Only. The gates here only open after dark and they close before dawn. Which is understandable when you consider most of the staff can’t be out in the light. The book follows the employees over the course of one night, and of course nothing goes as smoothly as it did at the fairs you went to as a kid. Within the book, I write a Seelie fae who entraps audiences and employees during her performances and a Principality angel who learns he can guide spirits across the void. Of course, not without consequence. I’m really thrilled about this book. I’m proud to have been a part of it, and I’m proud of the other people who lent their skills to it, from the writers to the illustrator (the fabulous bbshrimp, whose work is basically amazing) to our awesome point person who gathered everything together and made sure we stayed mildly responsible and serious about the whole thing—the fantastic LC Hu, whom you should follow immediately.
If you’re at all a fan of paranormal horror or short fiction, you should really take a gander at this. Maybe it’ll fan the flames while you wait for season 4 of American Horror Story, wherever it’s going to be.