American Horror Story: Freak Show is set to debut on October 8, and if recent casting news is any indication, series creator Ryan Murphy is planning something just as provocative as the Magical Bus Crash of Rapist Fratboy Death that kicked off Coven last year. That suspicion is confirmed by the show’s cryptic first teaser, which clocks in at exactly 10 seconds long, contains zero footage from the show, and uses the image of a monstrous, four-fingered hand for shock value.
The unease that Murphy is playing with here is that that thing is human, and in these enlightened times we should know better than to stare at it like a bunch of slack-jawed yokels. But as anyone who’s been to the gift shop at The Mütter Museum can attest, we may congratulate ourselves for being so much more tolerant than the sideshow patrons of yore, but we’re still going to buy a postcard with conjoined twins on it. Freak shows may have died, but our fascination with the Other remains.