Review: FX series 'American Horror Story' premiers fifth season

The fifth installment of the FX horror anthology television series, “American Horror Story” premiered last Wednesday. This season has had a lot of hype around it upon its release because it’s the first season without Jessica Lange and casts Lady Gaga in a starring role.

Creators Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy claim “Hotel” will be much darker than previous seasons. According to interviews with various entertainment outlets, they were inspired from old horror films and actual hotels in downtown L.A. that have a reputation for sinister events.

The show returns to Los Angeles where it started in season one. The formal plot of the show is described as “centering around the enigmatic Hotel Cortez that catches the eye of an intrepid homicide detective (Wes Bentley). The Cortez is host to the strange and bizarre, spearheaded by its owner, The Countess (Lady Gaga), who is a bloodsucking fashionista.

This season will feature two murderous threats in the form of The Ten Commandments Killer, a serial offender that justifies his actions in accordance with biblical teachings; and The Addiction Demon, who roams the hotel, armed with a drill bit dildo.”

I was a bit skeptical when I first heard Lady Gaga would be added to the lineup of new and returning characters, but after watching the first episode for “Hotel,” I quickly saw that she was meant to play the role of The Countess.

American Horror Story is infamous for really pushing how much sex and violence they can show on basic cable. After every commercial break FX would continue to show viewer desecration advised warnings before returning to the show so it is to no surprise the way Gaga’s character was first introduced. She and her boyfriend Donavan (Matt Bromer) attend an outdoor movie where they eye up another couple and bring them back to the hotel. The other couple gives into The Countess and Donavan’s seduction and unfortunately meet their demise. Lots and lots of blood, of course, accompany all of this.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Murphy said a reoccurring theme since the show’s beginning is that wherever you die on the property, you’re trapped there. 

“The rule is a constant on the show, the place that you die is the place that you haunt,” he said.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers for those who have yet to watch, but it will be interesting to see how that plays out in “Hotel,” given the amount of murders that have already been committed. 

Acclaimed critics have varying responses to the premier. Entertainment Weekly wrote “Hotel” is a lavishly produced, energetically made copy of a copy of so many things, all at once, including itself. The shock is gone, the pop is fading.”

On the other hand, Variety wrote, “If your party can assemble the right guest list, it doesn’t really matter how the conversation goes after that.”

“American Horror Story: Hotel” airs Wednesday 10 p.m. EST on FX.


Angie DeRosa is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at angelina.derosa@uconn.edu. She tweets @theangiederosa.