Tag Archives: FX

Everything you need to know about American Horror Story: Hotel

It’s almost that magical time of year again when Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk release yet another long awaited season of “American Horror Story”. If you’re anything like me, you’re a little nervous for this season because it revolves around newcomer, Lady Gaga’s, character rather than Jessica Lange who usually plays a lead role. Never fear, however, because here is what you need to know before the premiere on Wednesday October 7th.

1) Taissa Farmiga will NOT be in this season.

Yes, it’s a huge bummer. I really thought she would come back for this one since it’s been an every other year type deal for her since season one. However, she has other filming commitments so while we will be missing her on the 7th, we will hopefully be seeing her soon in her upcoming projects.

American Horror Story kicks off their fifth season with "Hotel."
American Horror Story kicks off their fifth season with “Hotel.” Graphic from Pop Matters

2) Jessica Lange WILL be in this season.

When Lange, the usual star of the show announced that she would not be returning for season five, our hearts were understandably crushed. However, one of the show’s creators, Ryan Murphy, has confirmed that while Lange will not be playing a huge role, she will make an appearance. At least we can wean ourselves off of her.

3) Darren Criss WILL be in this season.

Darren Criss rose to fame after starring in Ryan Murphy’s hit show “Glee” (although I fell in love with him while watchingA Very Potter Musical” way back before his “Glee” days) and now after some vague Instagram remarks, it is apparent that Criss will be making an appearance on American Horror Story: Hotel.

4) Max Greenfield WILL be in this season.

Yes, Schmidt from “New Girl” is checking into the Hotel. Let’s all pray that he doesn’t die, although knowing Murphy and Falchuk, he probably will.

5) Evan Peters will be playing a serial killer.

Yes, you read that right. Sure, he shot up his high school in season one, but he ended up being a reformed bad boy. In all the other seasons, he played pretty moral characters. This season, we’re going to see a different side to him.

6) The plot may include something about the story of Elisa Lam.

If you don’t remember, Elisa Lam was a 21 year old Canadian tourist, who back in 2013 was staying at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles when she died. She went missing and was found days later in a water tank on top of the Cecil during an inspection after guests complained about low water pressure and funny tasting water. Bizarre and incredibly creepy security camera footage captured Lam acting very strange in the elevator as she presumably rode up to her death. She appeared to be interacting with an invisible being. The autopsy report showed no drugs in her system, making this video even more disturbing as it could never be explained.

The hotel had been the temporary home of a few serial killers and many people who believe in the supernatural say that one of their spirits killed Lam. Many fans of American Horror Story are expecting the new season to touch on this case ever since Ryan Murphy dropped hints that the show would cover famous Los Angeles hotel deaths from over the years.

7) Ryan Murphy says this may be the most disturbing season yet.

If you’re like me and you hate blood, you might want to sit this one out. Not wanting to miss out on a great season, I just plan on watching this one through my fingers as usual.

If you want a taste of what’s to come, check out the opening credits and this first look, released a few days ago.

Revel in ‘The Strain’

Ripe from the minds of Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, The Strain thus far is a slow burning thriller whose focus upon the human heart will undoubtedly intrigue viewers. As with the first book this series is based upon, the show starts as an unresponsive Boeing 777 lands at JFK Airport with seemingly dead passengers. Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (the story’s main protagonist) and Dr. Nora Martinez of the CDC are called to investigate. Upon boarding the plane, the two find a flight filled with passengers suffering from an unknown biological malady. The passengers’ eventual release begins the countdown towards the end of humanity — orchestrated by an ancient vampire known as The Master.

Promo poster for The Strain. Graphic from IMDb
Promo poster for The Strain. Graphic from IMDb

Much like the original trilogy, the main attraction behind this series is its brutality and reinterpretation of vampirism through biology. The latter is enough to set this series apart from its predecessors. Without revealing too much, victims of this disease experience their bodies corroding in order to establish new organs for feeding. This occurs in a very rapid and Lovecraft-like way, which will disgust viewers, while simultaneously triggering their curiosity. As intriguing as it is, this series is not by any means dependent upon or hurt by traditional horror tropes involving gore.

As the story progresses, those who are infected search for, and eventually drain their loved ones. This perversion of affection is driven by The Master’s will. The very idea of love being something worth striving for, yet binding is a concept that’s often used in this show. One scene involving an infected girl returning to her distraught father is particularly haunting. Ultimately, this idea strengthens the image of vampires being a metaphor for the mortality of humanity.

Del Toro’s influence upon the cinematography is clear and makes even the most distressing scenes beautiful. As a series that thrives upon a sense of hysteria, his and other’s shooting techniques greatly advances the immersion level. All of the key moments from the first book not only gain more weight for being translated into TV language, but draws alternative responses for the way it’s shot. As any creator knows, too much of any effect might produce an indifferent audience. Because of this, peppered throughout the show are additions of music and humor to add balance.

Unfortunately, because of the format of this show, one isn’t given enough time with certain characters. Thus, it is somewhat difficult to understand and even care for said characters (with exceptions such as Abraham Setrakian). Shortly thereafter, the very same characters you wish to see fleshed out more, become outweighed by the strange and creative nature of The Strain’s epidemic. For those who haven’t previously read the book trilogy, this might be enough incentive to give up on the show. That being said, after the first three episodes, character details are exposed that should capture the public’s attention once again.

Despite a potential absence for concern at first, and The Master’s ridiculously designed face, del Toro’s and Hogan’s brilliant work so far has found the right home with FX.

Prepare for The Strain. Graphic from ScreenCrush.