AHS: Hotel – Making Reservations


American Horror Story Hotel: Lady Gaga Poster

Sean Koepfinger

Pack your bags and make your reservations, because tonight American Horror Story returns and we’ll be checking into the Hotel. Just like last year, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the return of this beloved show and have been eating up every teaser. For the last four weeks, FX has given us thirteen teasers in preparation for the show’s return. (I’d like to take a moment to note that each season has thirteen episodes. Very clever.) After reviewing each video as well as the “first look” clip and the opening credits, I’d like to discuss what I expect from AHS this season.

According to Falchuk and Murphy, the series creators, Hotel will be darker than previous seasons. This is a good indication the AHS might finally be returning to the horror roots that made the show so successful when it originally aired. While some may disagree, I haven’t felt like AHS has been scary since season two and it is a relief to see the series take a return to that direction.

If all goes well, Hotel should be a perfect haunting ground for all sorts of vile and horrifying activities. Unlike Coven and Freakshow, Hotel seems to be returning to the idea of a singular evil location. Containing the characters to an isolated place is great because it pins the story down and adds an element of claustrophobia or confinement.

The teasers gave us a lot to look at. If past seasons are any indication, not everything we see in the teasers will appear in the show. For the most part the teasers serve to give us a taste of what the atmosphere and theme will feel like for the new season. Immediately everything is darker. I get a sense of Murder House ghosts mixed with Asylum management. We also get a sense for what some of the story may be like.

Starting with the more abstract, there is a recurring depiction of people sewn up inside of mattresses. This is highly reminiscent of the legend and real life cases of hotel visitors complaining of bad smells in their room only to find that a corpse had been stashed under their mattress. This may be a nod to “The Ten Commandments Killer,” a serial killer created for the new season who will be tormenting visitors at the hotel. The inclusion of a serial killer is also fascinating as many real life serial killers have stayed at the infamous “Cecil Hotel.”

Another recurring element in the teasers is a group of blonde-haired, ghostly children. These kids pop up in several teasers and almost seem to be a nod to “The Shining.” Whether or not they will appear in the show isn’t clear but the frequent appearances make me hope that they will. Perhaps we’ll finally get some creepy ghosts again. The hotel’s proximity to the Murder House from season one makes me hope that there’ll be some more supernatural elements at work.

The last few teasers give us a look at some of the new characters for this season and give us a bit more to work with as to what the story will be about. Hotel seems to be telling the story of John Lowe, a detective who begins to investigate the strange activities at the Hotel Cortez. We are also given a few closer looks at Gaga’s character The Countess, a hemophiliac who may or may not be feeding on the blood of hotel patrons.

In general, it seems that Hotel is taking inspiration from classic hotel-related horror films like The Shining and Psycho, as well as real life stories and urban legends, in particular the “Cecil Hotel.” If the creators promise of a darker season is true then we should all be in store for a horrific stay.

American Horror Story: Hotel premieres on FX tonight. Check it out and tell us what you think in the comments below.