Massacres and Matinees

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"Massacres and Matinees"
American Horror Story episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 2
Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Written by Tim Minear
Featured music "Criminal" by Sarah Paulson
"Valentine Waltz No. 2" by George Antheil
"Sloppy Drunk" by Walter Brown & Jay McShann's Orchestra
"Hot Biscuits" by Jay McShann
Love Me, My Love by Dean Martin
Production code 4ATS02
Original air date October 15, 2014 (2014-10-15)
Running time 55 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Monsters Among Us"
Next →
"Edward Mordrake"
American Horror Story: Freak Show
List of American Horror Story episodes

"Massacres and Matinees" is the second episode of the fourth season of the anthology television series American Horror Story, which premiered on October 15, 2014 on the cable network FX. In this episode, a curfew is placed on Jupiter, as the police investigate the freak show when they suspect that a police was murdered on the premises. It was written by Tim Minear and directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.


In a toy store, a clerk (David Simpson) spots a windup toy tracking blood from the next room, while Twisty (John Carroll Lynch) lurks against a wall unseen. The clerk follows the blood trail to his employer's (Tony Bentley) severed head before he is stabbed through the neck and beheaded by Twisty.

At Elsa's campgrounds, the police arrive and enforce a curfew that will impact business. Bette and Dot (Sarah Paulson) confirm to Elsa (Jessica Lange) the story that their mother's killer matches the description of the others. During dinner, Jimmy (Evan Peters) snaps at the carnies and goes to dig up the detective's corpse with Eve (Erika Ervin), who finds the officer's badge, giving it to Jimmy. Ethel (Kathy Bates) observes her ex-husband Dell (Michael Chiklis) and his new wife Desiree (Angela Bassett) arriving, with a trailer in tow. The two had been with a Chicago troupe for the last six years, but they are now on the run because Dell killed a man who was having sex with Desiree. Desiree reveals that she is a hermaphrodite with three breasts and male and female genitalia. Ethel later visits Dell and tells him that he is not welcome as Dell tried to kill Jimmy when he was a baby. Dell claims that Elsa has deputized him as her new second in command.

During dinner, Dandy (Finn Wittrock) throws a tantrum over his constant boredom and storms away from his house. Later while driving, his mother Gloria (Frances Conroy) encounters Twisty roadside and asks him to come entertain Dandy as she will pay him handsomely. Dandy talks with Jimmy and begs to join the troupe, but Jimmy says that without a deformity, he won't do well. Gloria introduces Dandy to Twisty. Dandy looks in Twisty's bag until Twisty knocks out Dandy with a pin and runs off. Corey (Major Dodson) and Bonnie (Skyler Samuels) try to escape but Twisty returns to the bus. He enters their cage and Bonnie smacks him with a wooden board and they escape, dislodging Twisty's mask in the process, revealing his lower jaw is missing and he essentially has no mouth. Bonnie runs into Dandy, who has followed Twisty, and begs for help. Dandy brings her back to Twisty, who has caught Corey, as all four enter the bus.

On the main stage, Bette tries to sing but fails horribly. Elsa insists that they don't need a talent, since they have two heads. Jimmy suggests that Dot sing, and she beautifully performs "Dream a Little Dream of Me". Dell insists on matinees to get around the curfew but Elsa rejects the idea. Jimmy brings some carnies to the diner, wanting to be served, as disgusted patrons complain or leave. Paul (Mat Fraser) grabs a plate another patron left behind, but the waitress (Mariana Vicente) refuses to let him eat it. Dell angrily hauls Jimmy out and beats him in the street, upset that the troupe has given a "free show" at the diner. Back at the grounds, Elsa has had a change of heart and lets Dell try to host the freak show as she thinks it's good to have him around. Dell introduces Meep (Ben Woolf), who bites the head off a chicken, followed by Dot, who sings Fiona Apple's "Criminal" with Bette on backup vocals. The crowd reacts warmly while Elsa watches from the sidelines, clearly jealous.

The police return to search the camp after receiving an anonymous tip leading them to Dell. Jimmy attempted to frame Dell by planting the deceased detective's badge in his trailer, but Dell moved the badge under Meep's bedroll. Meep is arrested and shoved into a cell with angry locals. Elsa visits Bette, who is upset that she could not be the star her sister is. Elsa tells her that the fickle crowd will see her as the star soon. Elsa says that Bette must not allow Dot to steal Bette's stardom and slips her a knife under her pillow.

A drunken Jimmy is awoken by Ethel. Jimmy is upset about Meep and blames himself. Ethel says that Jimmy should stay away from Dell. Jimmy intends to confess to free Meep, but as he emerges from the tent, a truck dumps Meep's corpse at Jimmy's feet, and he cries out in agony as the carnies surround him.



"Massacres and Matinees" has received positive reviews from critics. Erik Adams of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B rating, stating: "Following the dull, clean monochrome of Coven, the popping colors and three-ring grime of Freak Show is refreshing."[1] Matt Fowler of IGN gave the episode a rating of 8.0/10, writing: "The clown is still ghastly, Dandy is still spoiled and sinister, and the introduction of Dell now brings a new carny power struggle to the show. All steps in the right direction."[2] Numerous other critics praised the introduction of Michael Chiklis and Angela Bassett's characters, as well as the Clown's and Dandy's storylines.


"Massacres and Matinees" was watched by 4.53 million viewers with a 2.3 18–49 ratings share, down 0.8 from the previous episode. It was the highest rated cable show of the night.[3]


  1. ^ Adams, Erik (October 15, 2014). "American Horror Story: Freak Show: "Massacres And Matinees"". The A.V. Club.
  2. ^ Fowler, Matt (October 15, 2014). "American Horror Story: Freak Show - "Massacres and Matinees" Review". IGN.
  3. ^ Bibel, Sara (October 16, 2014). "Wednesday Cable Ratings: 'American Horror Story' Wins Night, 'South Park', 'Teen Mom 2', Baseball, 'Impact Wrestling' & More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved October 16, 2014.