The 48-year-old director and screenwriter detailed the new season in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Freak Show is set in Jupiter, Fla., in 1952, and centers on the performers at one of the last remaining carnival freak shows.
"At every freak show, you have the tropes but there's some [that are] unique and weird," Murphy said. "It's about something: It's about outcasts and how society at that time ... true stories about circus performers who were cast aside."
"The story in many ways dovetails with Asylum," he elaborated. "Because they leave one era and you can see many of them in real life were put into asylums. There's a great symmetry we've come up with that's rewarding."
Freak Show stars Jessica Lange as freak show manager Elsa Mars, Sarah Paulson as conjoined twins Bette and Dot Tattler, Michael Chiklis as strongman performer Wendell Del Toredo, Angela Bassett as Toredo's wife Desiree Dupree, Kathy Bates as Toredo's ex-wife and bearded lady Effil Darling, Evan Peters as Toredo and Darling's son Jimmy and John Carroll Lynch as Twisty, a clown killer and one of the central antagonists. Emma Roberts, Denis O'Hare, Frances Conroy, Gabourey Sidibe, Wes Bentley, Finn Wittrock and Jyoti Amge, the world's smallest woman, also have roles.
"It's darker than Coven; it feels very unique," Murphy continued. "The special-ability cast that we have is amazing and I feel so thrilled because for so many of them, it was their dream to be actors and they didn't have any opportunities ... They feel part of something perhaps for the first time in their life and that's an amazing thing that I was really emotional about when I was directing them."
American Horror Story: Freak Show will premiere October 8 on Fox. The series released a second teaser, titled "Caged," on Wednesday.