A promising beginning to American Horror Story: Hotel

The wait is over—American Horror Story: Hotel began on last night with a premiere episode more chilling than ever before.

After Freak Show received even worse fan feedback than the three preceding seasons, a lot of fans doubted the quality of this new season.  Luckily, based off the first episode, doubts of the series couldn’t be more unwarranted.

The hour and a half long premiere opened with two European women making their way through Hotel Cortez’s gaudy lobby.  As the two make their way into the main lobby, viewers got a taste of the setting for the season.  Surprisingly, the hotel’s appearance didn’t exactly scream “Run while you can”—looking no different than the usual “ballin’ on a budget” accommodation.

In typical AHS fashion, show creator Ryan Murphy didn’t keep us comfortable for too long—as more murders seemed to happen within the first half of the episode than entire past seasons.

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Image courtesy of youtube.com

Also in the first half, viewers met the curious Detective John Lowe, played by Wes Bentley.  Determined to settle his suspicions surrounding a recent murder in the hotel, Lowe checks in and out throughout the installment—snooping around the red-carpeted halls in search of a clue.

From beds sewed shut to cover decaying bodies to secret torture rooms, it’s safe to say that any guest at The Cortez will have a few questions shortly after checking in with hotel manager, Iris, played by Kathy Bates.

While check-in at The Cortez proved inhospitable in last night’s episode, viewers can expect an even more unsettling experience behind the doors of this Los Angeles, California establishment.

In the opening moments of the episode, Murphy introduced us to the hotel’s unconventional inhabitants—including an Elizabeth Taylor crossdresser, played by Denis O’Hare and a junkie named Sally, played by Sarah Paulson.

After a runway walk through a graveyard, followed by a sadistic orgy of disturbing proportions, viewers were pleased to meet Countess Elizabeth, The Cortez’s blood-hungry owner, and her love interest Donovan, played by Matt Bomer.  Elizabeth, who is played by new cast member Lady Gaga, shows she’s a force to be reckoned with before we even see her face—as she ensures that nobody checks out once they pay their deposit.  Between bumps of cocaine and slashes to her guest’s throats with her clawed glove, the Countess seems to always manage to sneak in a shameless smoke break.

While AHS fans were disappointed by the recent news that original cast member Jessica Lange would not be returning, Lady Gaga seems to already be filling the blood-stained shoes of Lange just fine.

Despite apprehensions over the fate of AHS, after a poorly reviewed season and a changing cast, Hotel’s premier episode proved that Murphy has big plans for this upcoming season.  Viewers can tune in Wednesday’s at 10 p.m. EST to enter at their own risk and check in to American Horror Story: Hotel.

Liam McGurl

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