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'American Horror Story' season 4 ideas: A carnival, brothel, or cabaret show

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The women of "American Horror Story: Coven" have definitely bewitched fans of Ryan Murphy's spooky series, so it's going to be hard to top season 3. However, a Dec. 20 report by Enstarz lists some ideas for season 4 that are intriguing.

A lot of fans are hoping for a carnival/circus theme, which would definitely work. "Freaks" is a good example of a horror movie with a circus theme that could serve as inspiration for season 4. In fact, the Pepper character from "American Horror Story: Asylum" was inspired by Schlitzie, an actor suffering from microcephalia who starred in "Freaks." Murphy could also create a creepy clown role for one of his favorite male actors, and it would be great to see an homage to some of Lon Chaney's great clown characters in movies like "He Who Gets Slapped" and "Laugh, Clown, Laugh." However, Chaney's "armless" knife-throwing character from "The Unknown" would also be right at home on "American Horror Story" (you should definitely check it out if you're into creepy circus movies).

But unfortunately for fans of the carnival/circus idea, one of Ryan Murphy's comments seems to indicate that he's going a different direction with season 4. He gave The Hollywood Reporter this hint:

All I'll say is, Jessica Lange has always wanted to play a Marlene Dietrich figure, and now she gets to.

This comment could mean a lot of different things. Is Jessica Lange going to play a famous Hollywood star who turns to the stage when she gets older? Lange played a former lounge singer on "American Horror Story: Asylum," but it would be a lot more fun to see her as a cabaret performer wearing Marlene Dietrich's famous top hat and tails. Marlene was bisexual, so maybe Murphy plans on Lange playing an actress who is a man-eater and a woman-eater (Marlene was known for having affairs with a lot of famous men and women). She also became reclusive later in life, so perhaps Murphy will throw in a little "Sunset Blvd."

It's also possible that Jessica Lange might portray one of Marlene Dietrich's femme fatale characters from her movies. Murphy could do a literal take on "The Devil is a Woman," which is set during Carnival in Spain. Murphy has said that season 4 will be filmed in Santa Fe or New Orleans, and if it's filmed in the latter location, he could set the series during Mardi Gras instead of Carnival.

Season 4 won't be contemporary, and Santa Fe and New Orleans both sound like great settings for an old brothel. Lange would be amazing as a madam whose line of work leads to encounters with all sorts of evil men, from criminals to politicians and crooked cops. Dietrich had a small but unforgettable role as a madam in the movie "Touch of Evil."

However, it just seems more likely that Lange is going to be playing some sort of actress. Marlene didn't just perform in cabaret shows when she got older—she played cabaret performers in movies like "The Blue Angel" and "Morocco." So maybe the setting for season 4 will be a live theater. Of course Murphy will have to make things spooky by throwing in a haunting by a "Phantom of the Opera"-like character.

So do you have any ideas for season 4 of "American Horror Story" that incorporate a Marlene-like character?

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