Welcome to the Hotel Cortez. American Horror Story‘s fifth season, Hotel, debuts soon – and the slick and relentless promotion has been cranked up another notch. The latest addition to the gothic horror fest show is set in an infamous Los Angeles hotel that is home to a new set of bizarre characters, grotesque monsters, and just in case you forgot, Lady Gaga’s vampire countess. Creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk are no strangers to the ostentatious… but looking at the costumes alone, Hotel may be the campiest season of the horror anthology show to date (and that is saying something).
Case in point: the above AHS: Hotel featurette – recently released by FX – offers viewers a glimpse behind the scenes of the show’s highly stylized Art Deco set, along with clips from the upcoming episodes, and a chance for the main cast to discuss the horror genre themes that will be explored in this new AHS setting.
As recurring AHS star Kathy Bates puts it in that Hotel featurette, AHS (love it or hate it) is truly “not like any other television show” – reinventing itself each season and paying homage to different horror sub-genres each time. The returning cast for AHS season 5 also includes Chloe Sevigny, Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett, Matt Bomer, Wes Bentley, Denis O’Hare, and Finn Wittrock are joined this round by newcomers Cheyenne Jackson, Max Greenfield, and (of course) Gaga playing the mysterious Countess who runs Hotel Cortez.
The featurette also reveal the Hotel characters’ decadent, avant garde costumes, and the grandeur of the new set from both behind the scenes and in finished clips. The cast describes the hotel here as if the building itself were another character in the show, teasing the fear of malevolent forces in addition to the terrors behind closed doors (as brief flashes of the monsters are cut in). Thus featurette further asserts what the Hotel marketing has been telling us all along: Gaga is the main draw for this season, taking the spot usually reserved for series mainstay Jessica Lange.
In addition, FX has dropped yet another flashy AHS: Hotel teaser, this one featuring Gaga vogue-ing away to music by German industrial metal band Rammstein:
Despite the decidedly Gaga-flavored campaigning so far, we are still yet to see anything from her Hotel casting that promises substance. The latest teaser, ‘Above and Below’, is a visually stunning affair, but does little beyond framing Gaga ornately within set pieces. It has the tone of a music video – and, in turn, the nod to her musical career – but does little to alleviate concerns that her casting has more to do with her unique style and hefty fan base than her talent. This risky approach puts pressure on the Broadway trained singer and actress to deliver – something the showrunners (and Gaga herself) must be confident of.
AHS is known and loved by its fan for the show’s grandiose styling and heavy-handed shock tactics, though. The Hotel marketing upholds this end of the bargain, in what is hopefully a simple trick to build suspense (without spoiling surprises) for a quality season that can ‘reinvent’ the show again. From the actors themselves, season 5 should be scary, sexy and have gore galore (at the least).
American Horror Story: Hotel premieres Wednesday, October 7th at 10pm on FX.