Review: “American Horror Story: Hotel” Season Premiere

Posted: October 8, 2015 in Review, Scary Stuff
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Here’s been my impressions of the first four seasons of AHS:

  • Season 1 (Murder House): Awesome!
  • Season 2 (Asylum): Even better than the last season!
  • Season 3 (Coven): Too lighthearted, expansive, and a little boring at times.
  • Season 4 (Freak Show): On par with the first season.

When I heard not too long after Season 4 wrapped up that Lady Gaga was going to be having a big role in the fifth season, Hotel, I knew that we were going to see something different. And when I watched it online today, I was definitely not disappointed.

Hotel takes place at the Hotel Cortez, a hotel in Los Angeles, where a lot of strange people reside and a lot stranger going-ons are happening. When a homicide detective (played by the ever-intense and oh-so sexy Wes Bentley) is drawn there, he stumbles into a world that might make Wonderland look tame.

From the very get-go, Hotel‘s first episode does not let up. It’s fright after fright after fright, and it all sets up for a mystery of what the hotel actually is. The mood is darker than previous seasons, including Asylum (which is a definite plus in my book), the sets are gorgeous, and every scene feels like something from some of the best horror films out there. There’s a particular scene with the Countess (Lady Gaga) and her lover Donovan (Matt Bomer) that’s especially surprising, scary and gross, but it’s so good you can’t look away because it’s so good.

Most of the characters are pretty amazing as well, each feeling like they’ve got so much to give you and that you only scratched the surface this episode. Gaga is phenomenal as the Countess, who can smile and be the perfect lady right up until her darker nature shows. Sarah Paulson embodies her character Hypodermic Sally, making her someone I feel we’re going to love to hate. Bentley’s performance as Detective Lowe is powerful and emotional, and I feel everything he’s feeling as I watch him perform. And Denis O’Hare, continuing his tradition on the show of playing unusual characters, plays drag queen Liz Taylor (yes, as in actress Elizabeth Taylor) with such verve and pizzazz that I kind of want to party with her. The only exception I felt was Donovan, who so far feels like over-entitled rich kid, but given that this was the first episode I’d say we have more to see from him in the coming episodes. Bomer playing him certainly makes me want to dislike him, and I feel that was what he was going for this episode.

All in all, I’m giving the first episode a 4.5 out of 5. If American Horror Story: Hotel can make every episode as fun and as terrifying as this episode was, I think we’ll have our best season on the show yet. Fingers crossed!

  1. Adan Ramie says:

    I can basically second everything you’ve said here. I never had any reservations about Gaga’s performance, unlike a lot of fans, and I was blown away by just how well she did. I’m intrigued by what the Countess has in store for us throughout the season.

    Liz Taylor is another definite gem. As usual, O’Hare dazzles. I can’t wait to learn more about Liz Taylor’s backstory.

    Hypodermic Sally and her pet? Horrifying. I actually had to look away in that one scene… you know the one I’m talking about.

    I think it’s going to be a promising season!

  2. Sadly I was able to watch the Sally/pet scene, though it made me cringe, but the feeding scene did me in. As soon as Kathy Bates picked up the funnel I gagged and closed my eyes, LOL!

    A good opening episode for sure! 🙂

    • Is that what we’re calling that thing? “Sally’s pet”? I looked online and found out the producers are calling it the Addiction Demon. Certainly reminds me of a monkey on your back that won’t get off and causes you a lot of pain.

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