AHS Hotel: Show Me Your Teeth

hotelOn Wednesday night, I made a mistake. I made a mistake and I decided to watch the new premiere of American Horror Story as it aired, right before going to bed. Mistake. I ended up having to watch an old episode of The Vicar of Dibly (the most delightfully inoffensive, weird little British show imaginable) in order to cleanse my palate and be able to close my eyes without seeing that one guy whose eyes and tongue had been cut out. Body mutilation like that is definitely not my thing and I had some trouble getting passed it.

There is a little part of me that’s cringing that I’m watching this season. Seeing as I’ve actually never seen any of the earlier seasons. I keep meaning to, but never get to it. And since it’s such an anthology series (and I’ve loved Matt Bomer since he was Bryce Larkin on Chuck) I finally decided to dive in in the middle and give it a go. But it still hurts my heart a little when I really think about it.

I think I said this after the premiere of Once Upon a Time, but it’s hard to talk about premieres sometimes. There’s such limited information. You’re stuck jumping to conclusions and making assumptions and basing any and all thoughts on the veneer of both characters and worlds. We’re only at the surface, and there’s going to be so much more. It’s hard to say what you think when you’re only privy to your gut instincts.

But I’ll try to do my best.

At this point – for the most part, anyway – I’m intrigued. That’s really where I’m at. From what I know about the other seasons, there’s a more tangible horror trope I can pin point that corresponds, that each season is exploring. This season isn’t as straightforward, at least not yet, and so I’m curious to nail down exactly what it is we’re looking at this season. And, as is always the case with me, I’m desperately eager to understand the rules: is everybody at Hotel Cortez dead? Donovan and Sally, yes. But what about Liz Taylor? Iris I’m pretty positive is not. So again…what are the rules? What is their purpose? How do they work in tandem with the very literal demons we’ve seen within the halls? And what’s the deal with the Countess’ hoard of platinum blond children?

But I imagine that these are the basest of questions when it comes to this season. These are the basics, the structural beams, the bare bones of questions. These rules I’m so curious about can only give us the skeleton, while the meat of the story and the mythology is not even in focus yet. But we’ll get to that.

I will say this, I’m already invested. Donovan and the Countess’ introduction was perfect. And I’m so on board with everything about them. The glamorous, rock and roll, grime and glitter of their persona, the completely non-verbal glory of their pickup and orgy, the almost decadent way they slit the throats of their conquests and drank their blood; it was sensational. Bloody and beastial and so visually arresting and I loved every moment of it. And the Countess’ glib quip as she and Donovan lit up a cigarette, still covered in blood and bodies: “And you didn’t want to go out.” Slayed me. This was the moment I knew I was in.

And so, there we go. I’m not sure enough of anything to make any real, tangible commentary, but there’s enough feeling for me to want to keep going: warm, ooky, disturbing, fascinating feelings. I think I’ll have to wait a week or two to become more sure of the characters; who I like and don’t, who I’m suspicious of, who I feel sorry for. Right now all I’m sure of is wanting more of Donovan and the Countess, all based mostly on that one scene. I know there were some people who were down about GaGa – and I get that, she can be a bit polarizing – but I thought she was excellent: icy glam, strident, sexy, and feminine, with a perfectly stilted old-Hollywood style of speaking. I know she’s supposed to emulate old silent film actresses, and she definitely does, but I actually got a real Mae West vibe from her, too – a brassy, bawdy undertone to all the outward femininity. Like I said, I thought she was excellent.

I’m glad I finally made the plunge. I’m going to try and catch up on the other seasons in my free time (which means like six years from now) – mostly to sooth my soul from the rankles of watching this out of order. But if more people are going to get their eyes poked out, maybe I’ll make sure to watch it in the day time.

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