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Checking into American Horror Story: Hotel 

By: Michael McCarrick, Lion’s Eye Staff Editor, mqm5415@psu.edu, updated by the Lion’s Eye Web Staff

If audiences ever wondered what a dinner party was like with the guests such as Jeffery Dahmer, Aileen Wuornos, and The Zodiac Killer, then American Horror Story: Hotel is the show to watch.

The latest season of FX’s anthology series began in October with a huge buzz around the country. The show’s concept is that each season has a brand new story and theme, with cast members from previous seasons returning for a new role. Previous seasons had themes of a murder house, insane asylum, freak show, and now a hotel.  Although there is no need to watch those shows it is highly recommended; they are all available on Netflix.

American Horror Story built its success on making compelling television from murder, rotating camera angles, and gimp suits, and this latest season is no exception. The Cortez Hotel’s guests are vampires and spirits who are forced to stay inside the building because their human life ended and their monster life began.

Despite all of the hype surrounding the new season, a major absence from the stacked cast this season is Jessica Lange, whose performances in previous seasons gave the show national recognition and won multiple awards. In an attempt to replace Lange, the producers casted a pop culture icon in Lady Gaga to play The Countess. Her presence on the show is fitting for her bizarre elaborate costumes and gory, over-the-top theatrics for which she is well-known.

Another compelling performance is from Matt Bomer, best known from the USA show White Collar, who plays Gaga’s partner in their human-hunting expeditions.

Oscar winning actress Kathy Bates returns as the receptionist who orchestrates most of the hotel’s disturbing deeds. All of this because she wants to be close to her son (Bomer) who’s confined himself to the mysterious world of the hotel. Finally, Angela Bassett returns as the Countess’s former girlfriend looking to exact revenge on her for killing a rival.

Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson, the only two cast members to appear on all five seasons of the show, return as hotel spirits. Paulson plays a drug dealer who was killed and turned into a vampire; she is the most miserable hotel member of them all. The fan favorite, Peters, plays John Marsh, a psycho-killer and founder of the hotel from the 1920s who designed it to be a torture chamber for his victims. His spirit still haunts and influences the twisted hotel more than 80 years after his death.

Among this cast of outcasts are characters the audience can identify with in Detective John Lowe, played by Wes Bently (Edward Mordrake in the previous season.) Lowe is a good husband and father who investigates the strange occurrences of the hotel and has been haunted for five years by the abrupt disappearance of his son. His wife Alex, played by Chloe Sevigny, a doctor with deep spiritual connection with her lost son, is willing to sacrifice anything to have him back. John, Alex, and their daughter all discover the lost boy living in the hotel playing video games and sleeping in glass coffins. The situation tears the family apart, and a twisted journey begins for all.

So on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m., turn off the lights and tune in to FX to follow another twisted and intriguing chapter in the American Horror Story saga. It’s of this writer’s preference that students shouldn’t watch this with their parents or younger siblings. Always remember: the more you scream, the more they like it.

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