Over the years we have all become familiar with the sinister and terrifying changeable settings in the seasons of American Horror Story. With the newest season coming to us on the 20th of October, how can we expect Hotel to follow, and deviate from, the patterns of its predecessors? Jenny Cooke looks to the new series and offers up her thoughts.
The first notable differences are that of the cast; longtime AHS veteran Jessica Lange is bowing out of this season to appear on Broadway in another Ryan Murphy production (there are rumours of her returning to the franchise if given a character to work with around her theatre schedule). However, the new and exciting character of the Hotel season is the macabre hotel’s owner, The Countess (Lady Gaga). How well the singer will fit into the franchise is up for debate, with her previous acting credits amounting to visually stunning music videos and cameos in films such as Sin City 2. Lady Gaga is a controversial person in her own right, so her addition to the franchise is not only understandable but also elevates the excitement and anticipation for the newest season.
The similarities to past seasons are apparent; striking visual effects, sexual perversity, and the all too familiar allure of outright gore and the shock factors that keep bringing viewers back. These factors stay constant even while their execution differs- Hotel can be expected to be vastly disturbing, given that its setting is a hotel in which multiple murders have happened in the past and are occurring as the season first opens. The blender full of blood shown in a trailer gives the implication of vampiric tendencies in the character of Gaga’s Countess, especially considering the real-life inspiration for the character - Countess Elizabeth Bathory, the world’s most prolific female serial killer who was rumoured to bathe in the blood of her victims. Is it any wonder that this malevolent historical figure was taken as influence?
Lady Gaga is a controversial person in her own right, so her addition to the franchise is not only understandable but also elevates the excitement and anticipation for the newest season.
Something that should be considered whilst watching is Ryan Murphy’s revelation from last year’s Freak Show, when he told Entertainment Weekly that all the seasons were connected. If this is true, and coming from the show’s creator, we can assume that it is, how would Hotel then be connected to something like Coven? From this season, it can be expected that more of the clues to how the seasons all connect will become apparent, maybe even a returning character from a past season to tie this new horror-fest to its previous incarnations.
Scenes of a sexual nature, although definitely not uncommon in the American Horror Story franchise, are expected to be even more intense in Hotel. Sneak previews hint at foursomes, whilst other previews show the less glamorous side of the hotel. Kathy Bates acting as the gatekeeper, holding keys, seems like a good metaphor for the newest season, as viewers will no doubt will locked into watching it each week, much like its predecessors.
American Horror Story: Hotel airs on FOX (UK), Tuesday, 10pm.