REVIEW: American Horror Story Season 5: Hotel

American Horror Story - Promotional Poster

American Horror Story – Promotional Poster

Welcome to the Hotel Cortez. Blood, guts, drugs, and the 10 commandments sound like the perfect premise for a gore filled fiesta of 12 episodes. Set in the present day, this season uses mystery, vampires, and scorned lovers to introduce us to Lady Gaga as The Countess, our replacement for Jessica Lange.

Following a similar format to season 1 – Murder House,  season 5 unravels the mystery that is Hotel Cortez one episode at a time. This season tries to mirror season 1 and be more clear and concise than the previous season 4 ‘Freak Show’. It’s definitely a step up from Freak Show, however Murder House has set the bar really high for successive seasons.

It’s definitely something you will have to binge-watch one whole night (or day if you’re a wimp). It follows the life and love of The Countess, how she came to be and when. Her life is certainly the main crux of season 5 as she holds a dominant role over every other character in this season.

Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary inspires Lady Gaga’s role of The Countess, she was known to bathe in the blood of her victims as she assumed it made her more vibrant and beautiful. Lady Gaga embodies this role with the perfect amount of enigma and an air of superiority, however she ends up being one of the least mobile characters within this action packed season. One thing you may find is this role wouldn’t have been handled well with Jessica Lange as The Countess. Where everyone knows Lange can play any role given, this role demanded someone a lot younger and with a more risqué look, meaning she wouldn’t have fit the bill for this role in the eyes of creators Brad Falchuck and Ryan Murphy.


Universal Studios Hollywood: American Horror Story nights (Jeremy Thompson)

Each character’s storyline is woven perfectly to provide the perfect blend of mystery, suspense and surprise. As most characters pay homage to famous serial killers, season 5 of American Horror Story nods to the gruesome past of the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer, Aileen Wuornos, Richard Ramirez and John Wayne Gacy. All actors playing serial killers hold striking resemblance to their criminal counterparts and portray their roles without fail.

Described as the modern day Dante’s Inferno, ‘Hotel’ traces around the 3rd circle of hell, Gluttony. This perfectly fits with the premise of this show. There is an excess of everything, drugs, sex, alcohol, blood and violence. This is mainly due to the fact that this season needs something fresh and different to one up the previous 5 seasons. It does a good job of involving circles of hell such as Lust, Greed, Treachery, Wrath and Violence.

Overall, season 5 is a big step up and away from the season prior to it however, aspects of it try and parallel season 1; one of the best seasons to date. It would be a good idea to try and gain an audience back by using ideas and formats that invited them in the first place. One thing we do find is that the creators will definitely come up with 12 sickening episodes to keep you on your toes and waiting for the next season of American Horror Story.


Hiba Bukhari

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