American Horror Story Observation (History)
All episodes of American Horror Story is based on real life stories, Season 5 is loosely associated with the origins of two actual hotels, the “Cecil” and “Murder Castle”. In Season 5 it features a hotel named “Hotel Cortez” and it takes place in Los Angeles, California during 2015. Most of the scenes focuses on the staff and guests of this supernatural hotel.
Hotel “Cecil” and “Murder Castle” were known to be both homes to serial killers, murderers, brutal killings and tortures during the 1920s and 1980s. Hotel Cecil was rumored to be the residence of serial killer Richard Ramirez, who gained the nickname “Night Stalker”. This is similar to the unknown serial killer character “10 Commandments” in “Hotel Cortez”. He/She undoubtedly takes pleasure in keeping these dark secrets of killing and torturing others. Just like the movie “Murder Castle” however was much more sinister in nature as it was well planned and executed by a man who was claimed to be possessed by the devil. From secret staircases and trap-doors, these features can also be seen throughout the series as characters and victims find themselves caught in familiar and unfamiliar spaces depicting the “uncanny”.
This was my first time actually watching this series, my first impression after learning about the history of series is that the director probably studied the mind of a serial killer. The layout of the set and story lines are unimaginable and makes you cringe at times. He forces you emerge in horrific, torturous scenes that even question your logic of what’s real and fiction. It has definitely had a lasting effect on me, the director deliberately takes you into a world of the unexpected. This movie is not for the faint at heart, he purposely portrays each characters point of view by highlighting the grimmest scenes without censorship. There were up close shots of a scene where Lady Gaga and her lover are having relations with another couple, once they were finished they killed them. Blood is scattered everywhere which is followed by intense music and moans of satisfaction from Lady Gaga and her lover. This scene is both erotic and grotesque at the same time, the director does this throughout the series displaying graphic scenes that is both grotesque and beautiful. This also reminds me of Bram Stroker’s Dracula when Lucy was killed by Arthur. He (“drives a stake through Lucy’s heart, whilst Van Helsing then fills her mouth with garlic and decapitates her, freeing her soul from Dracula’s curse”). pg 185. Lucy is now free and can be at peace, this was an excellent movie choice because it has many scenes that connects to the gothic genre and vampires we’ve discussed in class. You can find several moments of the uncanny and fantastic hesitation.
Stoker, Bram. “Dracula”. 1897. New c: Oxford University Press, 1990.