If you are like me, then you are skeptical about the new season of American Horror Story - Ryan Murphy & Co. have developed a predictable rhythm and formula for each season, and the last two seasons were 100% mediocre and underwhelming, with the rare moment of OH FUCK THAT RULES. And yet, I cannot help but be intrigued and even slightly excited about American Horror Story: Hotel, even (especially?) if this trailer makes it look as though Murphy dedicated 13 episodes to making the longest Lady Gaga music video.
Hotel, like previous seasons, is taking its inspiration from true crime and iconic horror, and the first episode description from FX clues us into what's in store for the premiere on October 7:
Detective and family man John Lowe investigates a chain of gruesome murders in Los Angeles. A mysterious tip points him to the enigmatic Hotel Cortez.
Written by Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk; directed by Ryan Murphy.
Murphy & Co. have previously said they were inspired in part by the notorious Elisa Lam case (you can watch an eerie YouTube video from the night she disappeared), and further elaboration on AHS' horror Hotel indicates that the team was also inspired by late 19th century serial killer H.H. Holmes, whose story is covered in Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City. Those are two very unsettling cases to use as inspiration, but obviously it's only the tip of the wacky iceberg in Season 5, which will cover various eras in the spooky hotel.
There's very little (actually nothing) that's actually creepy about this trailer, unlike the annual run of teasers which are always incredibly effective and grotesque. There are some spooky kids and brief flashes of grime underneath the Gaga glam - but as usual, an AHS trailer means very little in the context of the coming season, which will inevitably squeeze 800 tons of plot into a five-pound container.
This season features AHS alums Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Lily Rabe, Chloe Sevigny (!!!), Wes Bentley (so glad someone finally figured out what to do with this guy), Matt Bomer, Finn Wittrock, Evan Peters and Denis O'Hare, along with AHS newcomers Lady Gaga and Max Greenfield (!!!).
Meredith won't be covering this season for BMD, but I will over at ScreenCrush if you're looking for a place to discuss/inevitably commiserate.