"This building has a heart as black as the ace of spades... And you're sleeping in it." warns horror icon Kathy Bates in the first behind the scenes look at [American Horror Story: Hotel](tag:3561561) (which you can check out below).
Ah, American Horror Story: Hotel. I don't know if any season of the popular horror anthology show has been as heavily anticipated as Season 5 has been, and there's only a couple of weeks left until we finally get to see the premiere episode.
As we saw in American Horror Story: Murder House back in Season 1, Hotel promises to tap into themes of sex and death, the two most primal parts of the human psyche. Creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk call Season 5 "much darker" than what has come before it though, and there's already a pretty high benchmark for that.
"It's about a theme and an idea that's very close to my heart that I've always wanted to do that's a little bloodier and grislier I think than anything that we've done before; it's straight horror this year." - Murphy
Who's Got Your Keys?
The central theme of AHS: Hotel looks to be centred around security, or the lack thereof, that permeates the general atmosphere of hotels. Murphy said he got the idea for the season based on his own personal fears about checking into hotels - the "place where other people have the keys to your room; they can come in there. You're not exactly safe, it's a very unsettling idea."
The teaser trailers really tap into this theme; a claustrophobic nightmare horror knocking upon your door, crawling under your skin. In particular the recurring motif of someone stitched into a mattress, breathing heavily, recalls images of the fetishised Rubber Man from Season 1 - tying back into Murder House as we were promised would happen here.
Uh, somebody fetch the scissors?
Evan Peters' James March, the original owner of the hotel back in the 1930s, will appear in flashbacks, seemingly as an antagonistic force. March, described as a charming but psychotic character, built the hotel to consist of labyrinthine structures with dead ends and secret rooms in which he could act out his murderous tendencies.
In addition, Murphy has confirmed that there will be two main antagonists this time round in the modern narrative: in the form of the Ten Commandment Killer and the Addiction Demon. The Ten Commandment Killer is a murderer who kills his victims in correspondence with biblical dictation, kinda like the Fincher movie Se7en. Wes Bentley's Detective Lowe will be checking into the hotel whilst he investigates this killer, bringing his family with him - big mistake.
The Addiction Demon, on the other hand, sounds more Rubber Man-like. A creature supposed to embody the physical representation of addiction, we already know Max Greenfield's drug-addicted character Gabriel and Sarah Paulson's Hypodermic Sally will have a run in with it as part of what Murphy describes as "the most disturbing scene we’ve ever done". This is probably something to do with the fact that, as well as appearing with skin covering his eyes and mouth and claw-like hands that recall the Pale Man from Pan's Labyrinth - the Addiction Demon also wields a conical metal dildo...
"[The Addiction Demon] is a representation of what people go through fighting addiction. It’s not done lightly or blithely. I think it’s very powerful and strong." - Murphy.
I guess that makes sense, it does make me wonder just how terrible this scene can be though, given what's we've already seen in seasons before Hotel.
On a lighter note, whilst AHS newbie Greenfield may have been taken aback by the Addiction Demon scene series veteran Paulson, who has been on all five seasons, described it as just another day at work:
"None of it’s crazy to me. I walk in and I’m like ‘Hello conical dildo demon person.’ I don’t even think twice. I had two heads last year — I don’t know what you want me to say. Like there’s nothing anybody can do on the show to shock me anymore."
Maybe Sarah Paulson can't be shocked anymore, but I'm not so sure about the rest of us.