At the beginning of every season of American Horror Story, I pray to St. Cecile of B. de Mille that each episode will make sense and offer logical and proportioned story telling. And for the previous four seasons, I’ve been sorely disappointed. The show never fails to fail me, but like my inability to watch a young Hollywood starlet spiral out of viral control. I can’t help but watch the descent. I’ll watch season numero five if for nothing else, to keep a running tally of every production rule broken before the first commercial break.
The Hotel Cortez is lavishly decorated; Art Decor splendor with a cast of characters that are all delightfully broken souls. Failures, addicts, fringe types— Denis O’Hare portrays bellhop/bartender with a fetish for Liz Taylor (the caftan years).
Th production is equally lush with Kubrickian camera glides down hallways and use of special fish eye lenses on cameras the elevate in height—the kind that makes TV fangoria even more…well, goriia.
Sex, drugs sex, ambitious career dreams doused with lighter fluid, sex, homosexuality, murder, mayhem, rape eith pointy conical spheres, gratuitous ass shots, sex, vampires, a ghost or two, kidnapping, ornate dildos and violence all displayed before you like a horror buffet. Kathy Bates plays Iris, the stern, never smiling hotel manager. She fights with residents and guests and she works at the hotel to keep tabs on her wayward son who happens to be an addict, a boy toy and a vampire. Fortunately, son Donovan didn’t seem to inherit his mother’s vision. Those glasses??? She can kill dreams AND ants from 60 feet away.
I must confess–my first look at her prompted me to think of the result of a genetic commingling of Brett Sommers (the Mrs. Jack Klugman) of Match Game game fame and of the late Hollywood super agent And Odcars after party host extraordinaire, Mr Swifty Lazar.
Sarah Paulsen returns for her fifth consecutive season. She plays Hypodermic Sally, a drug addict with a hairstyle that looks a lot like the unconditioned bob I sported back
in ’84. She “lives” at the hotel and has a tempestuous relationship of some kind with Iris. Apparently, they’ve loathed each other for the past 20 years. Nancy is a drug addict that lured her teenage son Donovan into the Hotel Cortez for a vein full of China White. He must have been an at risk kid, because Iris had been spying on them from her car. Iris bribes Liz Taylor, looking lovely in fuchsia, and he tells her the room the two junkies are in. Iris goes upstairs, enters the room; the son is out cold, Nancy is loaded but coherent. The two women exchange words. Nancy flounces out of the room, into one of the hotel’s six hundred looming hallways, then finds an open window. Iris pushes her out, she falls several floors, we assume to her death.
This event happened in a flashback from 1994, Two commercials later, Nancy is back In the present day, looking haggard and all Nancy Spungeon-esque, but still part of the story line, we assume, as a ghost. Fast forward to present day and iris and Nancy are still at the hotel, mainly because Nancy might be a ghost.
There’s a police detective, a Jon something or other, who plays his part a lot like Kyle MacLochlan portrayed FBI Agent Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks. He’s investigating s number of murders that involve rape with conical-shaped metal dildo strap-ons. He’s crank called by the murderer who lures him to a house, which I swear is the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright Hollywood home of the doctor who’s been linked to the vicious murder of the Black Dahlia in the Forties. He find two men brutally murdered and in suspended cages. But just after that, we learn i the flash back contained in a flash forward that his son had been kidnapped from a carousel on an amusement park on the beach. This happens when he turns his back for one minute. And as familial trauma is want to do, this creates a problem with his pediatrician wife( Chloe Zevigny)
Lady Gaga stars as the countess and own of the hotel. Her acting consists of some dialogue, but mostly crafted profile shots and pouts I perfect keylighting, but she’s a singer first. She’s a vampire, apparently over s hundred years old and she needs the blood of children to keep,her looking good in a meat suit. But fear not, not one member of the four basic food groups was harmed in the costuming of her character. She wears rather fabulous closes, incredible gowns with trains, Bedazzled elbow length gloves with their own special scalpel sharp nail on the index finger. She has four Hitler youth looking children, who stay in a special game room behind s secret door….that is when they’re not stealing a scene from The Shining, appearing at the end of the hall, then sprinting off Hussein Bolt down one of the hotels 347 hallways.
Behind this secret door, the kids sit quietly while attached to machines that collect or purify blood (or both) while playing an ancient version of Mine Sweep. After only two episodes, we’ve learned that one of the kids is the cop’s kidnapped son. I guess they feed on the blood of addict murder victims (and those are a dime a dozen in this hotel), th blood is then removed of additives and Gaga and Donovan (Iris’ son).
But the CoUntess wants to sell the hotel to an ascot wearing clothing designer from the East Coast. He’s flamboyant yet has a son with enough of an Asian gene pool to make him looked like a perfectally coiffed Sanjaya from American Idol, 2007.
This is the best pic of young Lachlan Drake I could find.
There’s a heaviness to this season; more so than Asylum (Season 3). It’s darker, more morose. The hotel s clean as a whistle, dark in the places it should be. Just enough ambient lighting to create shadows. I get the sense that love is a culprit this season—-and so is vanity. People have killed maniacally for both. And in a hotel where police tape is considered devor, we’re talking about victims, ripe for the picking. And they pay for their sins in painfully gory ways.
More familiar actors from years past will return over the next several weeks.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot—Hume Cronyn is back. Well, Hume C. The actual,noted actor jettisoned this mortal coil several years ago, but the same actor who played the crazed reanimated Montgomery baby that often lived in the basement of Murder House I. AHS’s first season one of many ghosts of ha returned as some sort of creature that spears in walls and can often be found in s crudely stitched mattress.
See what I mean?
The first episode of Season 5 left me yawning. The second episode was better, or rather good enough for to commit to watching a third episode. One motivation for doing so, is seeing Finn Whitrock. He played th the murdeereous inbred psychopathic Dandy last year. in Season 5, he’s a bad boy model really into snorting “Columbian Marching Powder”. He walks out in the middle of a fashion show and falls under The Countess’ spell. One romp in the sack and he too is a vampire, but not only that, he’s replaced Donovan as her boy toy.
Here a scene of the pair in a post coital make up application session.
And here’s Gaga in one of her basic housdresses. Lovely. Now, I don’t know if this crock proves shoulder pads are coming back…………OR…………
She oddly wears Maxi Pads on her shoulders.
Either way, I hope the look comes back. I’ll be back for episode tres.