OPENING SEQUENCE INTRODUCES CONJOINED TWIN SISTERS, SPLIT-SCREEN VIEWPOINTS, HERRMANN-ESQUE MUSIC
Ryan Murphy has once again directed the season premiere of American Horror Story: Freak Show, and once again he pays homage to Brian De Palma. In the opening sequence of last night's premiere episode, we are introduced to conjoined twin sisters Bette and Dot Tattler, played by Sarah Paulson. The scene features heavily Bernard Herrmann-esque music, and split screens that sometimes show the two sisters' viewpoints side-by-side, but also switches them up in rapid-fire AHS tradition, sometimes showing one twin's face on one side, and what she is looking at on the other. Of course, with conjoined twins, split-screens, and Herrmann-esque music, one thinks of De Palma's Sisters, and that film's Jennifer Salt is one of the producers through all four seasons of American Horror Story.
Two years ago, the premiere episode of American Horror Story: Asylum used actual prominent excerpts from Pino Donaggio's score for De Palma's Carrie, while the story itself had echoes of Sisters (I posted about it here). Murphy specifically told the press that year that the Asylum season was, partly, an homage to De Palma. This year, he has mentioned wanting to pay homage to Baz Luhrmann by having musical numbers throughout that aren't necessarily from the time period in question (the early 1950s). In that vein, tonight's episode included a David Bowie song sung by Jessica Lange.