The official cast photos from American Horror Story: Freak Show are here at last and the only appropriate reaction is 'holy shit.' But 'holy shit' has to be written in the sky in giant neon orange letters. Because holy shit, these characters look really cool.

We've been discussing the characters for a long, long time now and we finally get to see what the characters are going to look like. It's a pretty great treat for those of us who get obnoxiously excited about their favorite shows (I AM SO SORRY ABOUT ALL THOSE TWEETS ABOUT 'MATT HOUSTON' I JUST REALLY THINK IT WAS A GOOD SHOW.)

Pictured above is Kathy Bates, who plays the Bearded Lady, Ethel Darling. Tim Stack of Entertainment Weekly has a Q&A with co-creator Ryan Murphy, who gives some details on the show and characters like Bates':

Ethel is basically Elsa's [Jessica Lange's character] right hand woman. She helps run the camp and she's sort of the guardian of the law. She had a real tragedy in that she was a real circus star in the '20s and 30s and then she had her baby and she became a down and out drunk and Elsa saved her from the drunk tank. So she's so indebted to Elsa she'll do whatever Elsa says so she's sorta like Elsa's henchwoman


This is Sarah Paulson as Dot and Bette. "Basically Sarah has two different heads," Murphy explains. "So when she's playing Dot she has on a fake head so she can look at that fake head. And we lock out the frame and we're measuring everything and there's CGI and then we take off the head. Then she changes her headband and then she plays Bette the other sister." Scenes with Paulson can take up to quadruple the time film, he says.

Of course, this is the Eternal Light of the Moon Goddess herself, better known in our mortal world as Jessica Lange. I have already tried to steal her entire outfit. Murphy says this season, expect a kinder, gentler character than the ones we're used to seeing from her appearances in past seasons.

This year, the thing about Elsa is she's a very benevolent soul in that her sideshow has been going on since the '30s. What she's done for 20 years is she goes around to hospitals and jails and rescues these "freak" circus performers who are going to be shipped away to asylums and she signs the waivers and she becomes their guardians. So she loves them and takes care of them. She's sort of like the mama of all of them.


Angela Bassett time! She plays Desiree, a lady with three boobs. She is married to Dell, played by Michael Chiklis; the couple shows up at Elsa's show because they one they were working in closed.


Speaking of, here is Chiklis as Dell, who Murphy says has a backstory that involves being on the run from the law because"he did a series of disastrous events." I MUST KNOW MORE.

If you don't recognize the face right away, give it a moment and say to yourself "Sometimes, there's so much beauty in the world - I feel like I can't take it..." Yes, that's American Beauty's Wes Bentley as Edward Mordrake:

Edward Mordrake is a very famous horror myth. It was a man with two faces. A normal face and then a face on the back of his head that would whisper evil things and force the forward facing entity to commit horrible crimes. And Wes is doing several episodes. He torments everybody. The carnies back in the day had a very specific superstition about the character of Edward Mordrake. It's very much like a Bloody Mary sort of thing. It's in that realm.


Francis Conroy plays Gloria Mott, a "wealthy Palm Beach society" woman, who doesn't want her son, played by Finn Wittrock, to run off and join Elsa's freak show/circus.


AMAZING CHARACTER NAME ALERT: The name of the character Wittrock plays is "Dandy Mott." You may all carry on with your lives now, thank you.

PopSugar has even more of these new official cast photos as well. Murphy also tells Entertainment Weekly don't expect a lot of magic and curses and that once a character is dead they are gone for good, done, bye, thanks for stopping by we'll send you your things. No more magical trips back from the dead, sorry.

I do not have pictures of them (sorry, please don't leave me for another blogger) but Murphy says Patti LaBelle plays a woman who "who knows what's going on in this town and she tries to stop it." Gabourey Sidibe plays her daughter, who left to go become a "society girl" in New York but comes back to the town to get in touch with her mother.


More pictures from the first episode of the new season are here, but they don't really give us any more clues about what will happen other than knowing that Lange's glorious, perfect resting bitchface makes its spectacular return. CONSIDER THE TIVO PROGRAMMED. OK, honestly that's a lie. I don't even have a Tivo anymore. That's a lie, too. I never had one, ever. Do you have any idea how long it took me to finally give up using a VCR? I still shed a tear remembering the day it finally put itself out of its own misery and died. FYI, people will hang up on you if you call their repair store in tears begging for them to save the life of an electronic device "you considered closer and dearer to you than your own mother."

The new season finally debuts on Oct. 8 on FX. So at least I have until then to get a new VCR.

Images via FX Network.