American Whore Story

FX network’s American Horror Story has become somewhat of an icon in  horror/drama television and it’s no secret that its creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk seek new and ingenious ways to shock and frighten us. Each season starts fresh with different stories and different characters while maintaining much of the same cast. It’s an interesting concept and the fifth season AHS:Hotel gained many new viewers while giving Lady Gaga her first Golden Globe. Replacing Jessica Lange as lead actress was a tough act to follow but Lady Gaga immerses herself in the role of “The Countess”, a blood sucking fashionista who rules the Hotel Cortez with a rather sharp fist. Audiences loved her and she kills it from beginning to end.

Yet despite some brilliant performances (with Evan Peters as James Patrick March my personal favourite) Hotel remains the lowest rated season to date. Why? In taking gore to the next level did the creators finally cross the line? Was it the writing? Or was it just that it was all subject matter we had seen before? Throughout the show there were numerous allusions to the work of Stephen King. First of all, the premise: a haunted hotel. In Stephen’s famous novel The Shining the Torrance family falls victim to the power of the Overlook Hotel. Also Jack Torrance was a recovering alcoholic with a troubled marriage much the same as John Lowe in AHS. In fact, one can almost see Torrance walk up to the bar in the Cortez to share a bourbon with Lowe and trade stories of misery. Instead John goes back up to Room 64 and things just get crazier and crazier like King’s 1408. Every time the clock turned to 2:25 a.m. I kept expecting The Carpenters to start belting out “We’ve Only Just Begun”. I envisioned children in the halls to be screaming”Redrum!Redrum!” And it didn’t surprise me when John Lowe realized that HE’S the killer he’s been hunting all this time because I’d already seen it happen to Johnny Depp’s character in Secret Window written by…yup Stephen King. Even Kathy Bates is fondly remembered for her comical and frightening portrayal of Annie Wilkes in Misery.

King allusions aside, the “Ten Commandments” killer is a perfect mirror image of the elusive killer in 1995’s movie Seven with Kevin Spacey using the seven deadly sins as his own personal religious cult. As Hotel continues, the story line can be a bit frustrating at times. Subplots of previous murders that don’t seem to tie into anything and bloody orgies where no one even whispers the word “vampire”. A demon that wears a drill bit dildo raping at random intervals in the story? I just felt like a was watching a particularly garish snuff film. A whore story, so to say.

Nevertheless, I will be back for Season 6 on September 14 if only because I can’t wait to see what Gaga has in store this year.ahs_hotel  And because I like to watch.

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