American Horror Story: Hotel – or, if you prefer the unofficial title, American Horror Story: Lady Gaga – is the fifth season overall of the popular FX horror anthology series, as created and run by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. The Hotel season revolves around Hotel Cortez, a Californian establishment owned and run by the mysterious Countess (Gaga); Hotel‘s cast also includes several returning players from American Horror Story seasons past, though the focus of the season’s marketing has been placed very much on its pop star attraction (essentially filling in for AHS season 1-4 queen Jessica Lange).
A unique and highly stylized opening credits sequence has been designed for each season of American Horror Story to date, and Hotel will not deviate from that tradition. Those Hotel credits, which you can watch above, retain the same aesthetic qualities as their predecessors – splicing together bizarre and twisted imagery (much of which foreshadows evens that will transpire during the season-long narrative ahead) through quick cuts that showcase the interiors of Hotel Cortez, while at the same time running down Hotel‘s main acting roster.
The American Horror Story: Hotel credits also include Biblical references (with Commandments shown as neon light messages), which are reportedly connected to one of the season’s main antagonists: the not so subtly named murderer known as The Ten Commandments Killer. AHS has long blended Murphy and Falchuk’s brand of camp horror with (often ham-fisted) social commentary and related metaphors; for example, AHS: Freak Show looked at the obsession with celebrity, while AHS: Asylum examined the U.S. health care system. It would appear that Hotel, in keeping with that tradition, may explore issues related to religion and its place in the modern world – among other issues, no doubt.
As it were, American Horror Story: Hotel‘s first episode begins with the sin of murder, as one Detective John Lowe (Freak Show alum Wes Bentley) conducts an investigation of a gruesome killing spree in Los Angeles (enter The Ten Commandments Killer) – a search that, in time, leads him to the enigmatic Hotel Cortez. Lowe was featured in one of a handful of new Hotel teasers that FX has released in recent weeks, and we’ve rounded up those clips, below (for those who have not yet seen them):
American Horror Story, in particular starting with season 2 (Asylum), has long examined the plight of individuals who are ostracized from society, be they more grounded or fantastical in their nature. AHS: Hotel doesn’t appear to be deviating from that formula either, as the longtime residents of Hotel Cortez include a junkie nicknamed Hypodermic Sally (Sarah Paulson), the cross-dressing bar worker Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare), and The Countess’ former lover (ex-major film star Ramona Royale, played by Angela Bassett), as well as her current lover Donovan (Matt Bomer) alike.
Meanwhile, also roaming the halls of Hotel Cortez will be the pack of youngsters that make up The Countess’ “brood” – with the hotel’s “monsters” also including the latest character played by longtime AHS cast member, Evan Peters – and Iris (Kathy Bates), Donovan’s mother, who also does her part to keep Hotel Cortez running… as smoothly as possible, anyway. Many of those players (among others) can be seen in the newly-released official Hotel artwork, featured below.
There’s certainly a tonal consistency to Murphy and Falchuk’s television shows, whether the series in question is based in the comedy/musical genre (Glee), exploring various flavors of horror on American Horror Story, or combining those elements together – as has happened on AHS before and is currently the approach being taken with the newbie horror/comedy show Scream Queens (co-created by Murphy, Falchuk, and Ian Brennan).
Murphy and Falchuk have created a recognizable brand, in others words, and that brand is very much to some people’s tastes – and very much not to other people’s tastes. That said, even many dedicated American Horror Story fans seemed to feel that Freak Show was a rough ride and signaled that this cable anthology series is in need of a fresh shot of creativity. Lady Gaga’s own “brand” of pop musical artistic expression reads as being a solid fit for AHS, right off the bat – but will combining the two give the show a nice boost, or just push it over the edge?
American Horror Story: Hotel premieres on FX on October 7th, 2015.
Source: Ryan Murphy, FX