American Horror Story: Hotel, Episode 1
Unusual, sexy, horrific and glorious. American Horror Story has somehow succeeded in capturing all of these qualities in previous seasons and Hotel seems to be no different. The characters are especially interesting this year as the cast takes on roles very different from past seasons. Sarah Paulson’s alter ego this season is a drug dealing addict with some real balance issues. Lady Gaga joins the cast as The Countess, a sex crazed woman who enjoys the pleasures of the flesh in more than one way.
As the clock struck 10:00 p.m. last Wednesday, American Horror Story: Hotel began. Two Swedish women arrive at Hotel Cortez full of pep and enthusiasm for their first visit to Los Angeles. They rush into the building and are quickly slowed as they’re greeted with a very ominous view. Dark, quiet and dreary doesn’t begin to describe the main lobby. Also, is that the carpet from The Shining? So many nopes!
Kathy Bates takes the screen as Iris, concierge and caretaker of Hotel Cortez. She shows the unnerved women to their hotel room and passes an odd smell off as normal for an old building. One of the tourists is not convinced as she pinpoints the odor coming from the mattress. The two women quickly peel back the sheets to reveal the top had been stitched back up. Grabbing a conveniently placed chef’s knife, the woman stabs into the mattress. A hand suddenly springs up revealing a man naked and covered in burns and boils.
The two women, as though they are not terrified enough, are moved to Room 64. As ominous as a red shirt in Star Trek, this infamous room will prove to be a death sentence to all who enter. The episode continues on a rollercoaster of crazy, continuing to gain speed with no intention of slowing.
Death, sex and drugs seem to go hand and hand in Hotel Cortez. A rather attractive man (played by Max Greenfield) demands a room; yes, room 64, and proceeds to shoot up on heroin. The man passes out, and what has been touted as one of the most disturbing scenes in AHS history, unfolds. In comes a ghoulish creature with long nails and a large strap on metallic member that resembles a screw or unicorn horn. He proceeds to aggressively rape the man from behind until the victims’ inevitable death.
Well, that was terrible, but at least the worst is behind us, right? Well, no. Not exactly. The much awaited queen Lady Gaga captures the light as The Countess alongside boyfriend Donovan who is played by the delectable Matt Bomer. The music picks up, neon lines the wall, and cocaine is the drug of choice. The feeling created is one of an old Hollywood at the height of its popularity. The two go to an outdoor movie and tempt a young attractive couple back to their hotel room. Clothes hit the floor and bodies are intertwined as an orgy ensues. The young couple got a little more than they bargained for as Donavan and The Countess simultaneously stab their lovers in the throat with a finger blade and devour the blood gushing from their necks.
On a slightly less terrifying note, the hotel is also home to a scattering of young boys and girls with ghostly white hair who lurk in hallways in a way that is reminiscent of The Shining, much like the carpet previously mentioned. It so happens that one of these boys is Holden, the son of Detective John Lowe who lost his son at a carnival years ago. That same detective is receiving eerie phone calls, and has been charged with investigating the hotel.
Leave it to Ryan Murphy to show us such horror and leave us wanting more. His vision creates a show that demands attention and does not disappoint. With so much intensity packed into the first episode of Hotel, it begs the question: how much crazier can this show possibly get?