For some people, the ads for American Horror Story are actually better than the series itself. I don't disagree. These tiny little 15-30 second spots of distilled horror are entrancing. They create hype, capture the imagination, and imprint suggestions of what could be in a given season.
Many of my friends abandoned American Horror Story after Freak Show, specifically after Twisty the Clown met his untimely end. I agree that Freak Show was not the best season of the show, but I think some of the fan reaction was a tad over dramatic. It's not bad; it's horror.
Freak Show went after a subgenre that pops up occasionally, the carnival horror, that has never really hit its heyday. Freaks is certainly the most memorable example; even that is best remembered for the hysteria it induced in audiences and the butchered cut of the film demanded by the studio that kind of ruined the whole concept. Pennywise from It and the carnies of Something Wicked This Way Comes have their charm, but the films suffer from focusing on the grotesque rather than the carnival atmosphere itself. The Devil's Carnival is a triumph for the genre, but the indie distribution and music hall structure make it a bit impenetrable for some.
Hotel is going for the populist approach. Lady Gaga stars as the bloodthirsty hotel owner and the first full trailer focuses on fan favorites Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, and Finn Wittrock. Hey, losing Jessica Lange (if only for a season, allegedly) means spreading the love.
Some notes of The Shining with the creepy kids and groovy hotel patterns. I can get behind that.
Hotel horror is another one of those underexplored genres. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk are actually on a four year streak of playing with these lesser appreciated genres (Asylum had aliens, which rarely play well with horror; witchcraft films have never taken off in America as seen by Coven's poor critical response). What Hotel horrors do you know off the top of your head? The Shining? 1408? Psycho? Very few films commit to just being about a hotel and one hopes that American Horror Story won't stray too far beyond the Hotel's walls.
The other teasers, as always, are extremely promising. I especially love the one-room focus of each teaser. Every guest is clearly going to have their own secret in this hotel that hides behind the door. The rest of the videos on the next page for ease and speed of reading the article.
Season 5 of American Horror Story premieres on FX on 7 October. I'll be recapping/reacting this season, for sure.
Lady Gaga's Coming to American Horror Story:
Do Not Disturb: