Review of American Horror Story (Contains spoilers)
I finished watching ‘Freak Show’ in time for ‘Hotel’ to premier. I went into FS really thinking that I was going to hate it. I’ve never been a fan of Freak Shows in general. Not because of the ‘freaks’ but because I feel that they are exploited people. I also can’t stand people who point and laugh. They should be punched in the head. Not to mention, I fucking hate clowns. So I sat down to watch this knowing I wouldn’t like it.
I was wrong.
I rather enjoyed FS. It was hard to follow in the first half of the series. The amount of setup needed was a bit more than I am used to but I made it… mostly unscathed.
This season has it all, freaks & monsters (as they are referred to all season), killer clowns, ghosts, love, weddings, sex and murder, of course.
One of the beautiful things about this season is that they employed actual ‘freaks’. Four actors are ‘deformed’ in some way, but I loved them all, especially Ma Petite (I want to give her a hug). If you don’t understand why this is amazing, I am shocked. With how amazing makeup and prosthetics are (obviously well done, given that Kathy Bates doesn’t really have a beard and Angela Bassett certainly doesn’t have three breasts and Evan Peters’ hands were just fine last season), they chose to employ actual people with deformities rather than make them all up. This is another reason to applaud all of the people over at AHS for all of their amazing work to make things as authentic as they can.
Of course, these are all real conditions. Lobster Boy was Grady Stiles who suffered from Ectrodactyly, deformation of the hand. Salt and Pepper, the pin heads, actually suffer from Microcephaly and are fashioned after performer Schlitzie. The three breasted woman suffered from Accessory Breast; the bearded woman simply suffered from a hormone imbalance or a form of Hypertrichosis which is where we get our Wolf Boy from. Lastly, Conjoined Twins, which is one of the prominent ones. I could go on and on, but I am sure you get the point. There are many conditions out there that explain why they are the ‘freaks’ they are.
They also take the time to connect season 4, “Freak Show,” to season 2, “Asylum” with the ever loveable Pepper. So there is a connection to Briarwood, the actual Asylum. Looking at some fan theories, there are vague connections to the other seasons throughout and some are easy to catch and others you need to remember a lot more than I do.
I can’t tell you how pleased I was seeing actress Jamie Brewer in her third season of the show (I can’t place her in Asylum). Obviously, she was among the family that is now AHS but included some new blood, mainly Neil Patrick Harris.
So, what was ‘Freak Show’ actually about? It’s about a traveling Freak Show that is currently in its Jupiter, Florida location. There is a lot about how society treats people with deformities, how they treat each other and themselves. The amazing dangers of greed and trusting the wrong people. ‘Freak Show’ seemed like more than most of the other seasons. I can’t quite put my finger on it but this season felt so much different. Family doesn’t always end in blood, but a little bit of blood can end everything.
I liked it and it has the best ending of any season and most series I’ve ever seen. I enjoyed the last episode immensely. I enjoyed the season much more than I thought I would. This gives me hope for ‘Hotel.’
If the movie Se7en and Interview with a Vampire had a baby that H.H Holmes dry humped till exhaustion, it would be American Horror Story: Hotel.
If you just said ‘Holy Shit’ than you are right Sir, Holy Shit indeed. After binge watching a lot of AHS I actually took a bit of a break before I started watching Hotel, I was only going to let 3 episodes pass before I started watching, I checked and now it is 6 episodes in and I dove in.
After 6 episodes I am nearly salivating for more! It combines elements from each previous season to perfection. This is, so far, my favorite season yet. Lady Gaga is a much better actress than I had originally anticipated, however after watching 6 episodes I am starting to find her performance becoming a bit stale and one sided. I do hope this changes as the season goes on and that it is situational. Everyone else is, of course, spot on and I expected no less. I am shocked that Jessica Lange isn’t in this season, she was a staple in all of them but maybe she will appear in the 6th season the was recently ordered. However I will take Matt Bomer in guyliner over anyone. That is, of course, on top of the fact that the man oozes talent and steals so many scenes.
Now every season has it’s inspiration and this season was the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. “The Hotel is known for several suicides and its criminal activity which includes three murders. Most notably, the hotel was the reported residence for serial killers Richard Ramirez in 1985 and Jack Unterweger in 1991. It is rumored to be one of the last places Elizabeth Short was seen before her murder in 1947. “
It is also the location of the mystery surrounding Elisa Lam, the college student was found in the hotel’s water tank weeks after she disappeared. Mostly famous due to the elevator security footage that made its rounds on the internet before her death. She is seen doing odd and strange things that will probably never be explained. There are many theories on the footage, from demonic possession to being stalked.
The show also draws on the bloody legacy of H. H. Holmes. Holmes is the first documented serial killer. Mr. James March (Evan Peters) has constructed this hotel specifically to murder as many people as he could. In the show, this hotel is in Los Angeles but in reality Holmes did construct a hotel for this very purpose in Chicago. Admitting to 27 murders, 9 bodies were found but the number could be well into the hundreds.
Holmes is not the only serial killer to visit us in Hotel. Richard Ramirez, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy and Aileen Wuornos all make an appearance in one episode and I am curious to see if they pop up again later.
Now I am only touching on minor details here.There is so much more to this show than I can convey to you in this review. I don’t know major plot points yet, I don’t know where the show is actually headed or if it will be as amazing when it gets there. All I can tell you is to hop on for the ride.
So what is ‘Hotel’ actually about? So far it’s about a detective that gets wrapped up in the mysteries surrounded a handful of gruesome 10 Commandment murders that, for some reason, keep leading him back to the Hotel Cortez. A confusing place that leads him down a blood soaked rabbit hole and bizarre happenings. He is torn between losing his mind and the possibility that this is reality. A much more terrifying notion.
If you’re not already watching, I suggest binge watching it as soon as possible and chatting with me about it in the comments.