American Horror Story Hotel Premiere

American Horror Story: Hotel Premiere Recap: Did You Enjoy Your Stay?

In its premiere, American Horror Story: Hotel went for the jugular, serving up everything from a blood-soaked foursome to an eyeless monster with a drill-bit dildo. But did it deliver shock and awe or shock and “eh”? Read on, then we’ll discuss.

TOURIST TRAP | As “Checking In” began, two comely Swedish girls — unimpressed by the retro-fabulousness of the Hotel Cortez — were trying to get their money back from bespectacled front desk clerk Iris (Kathy Bates) so that they could stay somewhere else. But, informed that a refund was as unlikely as cell phone reception, the girls gave in and headed upstairs. Big mistake. They’d scarcely put their suitcases down when they discovered that the stench in the room was coming from the epically messed-up fellow who emerged from their stitched-up mattress. And, believe it or not, it only got worse for the duo from there. While waiting for the police in room 64 — which Iris said was never rented out — one of the girls was fed upon by the creepy towheaded children who stalk the halls. Later, the pill-popping blondes were stripped down to their undies and restrained so that Iris could force-feed them a nightmare milkshake designed to purify their blood before The Countess (Lady Gaga — more on her later) rang the dinner bell. Before Iris could complete the procedure, however, in came Hypodermic Sally (Sarah Paulson), itching for a fight. When she and Iris were done hissing at one another, Sally was left alone with the girls and let one go. Mind you, she didn’t get far. In the lobby, she ran smack into The Countess, who casually slit her throat. “This can never happen again,” she told Iris. Well, duh.

SEVEN, PART 2? | Meanwhile, good guy cop John Lowe (Wes Bentley) was hot on the trail of The Ten Commandments Killer, whose latest victims were adulterers. (The woman was impaled; the man, still alive, had had his eyes and tongue removed, and his Johnson glued, um, into his mistress.) After the detective got a call from the maniac, saying that he was going to be performing an encore in room 64 of the Hotel Cortez, Iris checked fair-haired junkie Gabriel (Max Greenfield) into just that room. “I’ve got dibs on this one,” Sally told Iris. “I haven’t seen one that sweet in a while.” Of course, he didn’t stay “sweet” for long. As soon as he’d shot up, he was raped by The Addiction Demon and his stainless steel strap-on. “The more you scream,” Sally told Gabriel, “the more he likes it.” She could make it stop, though. All Gabriel had to do was say that he loved her, which, naturally, he did. Shortly thereafter, John arrived at the Cortez. (Iris’ priceless reaction to the handsome guy? “Woof.”) Showing the cop to room 64, sweet transvestite Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare) spotted pain in John’s eyes. “You’ve lost something,” Liz suggested, “and now you’re frozen in time.” In fact, John and his pediatrician wife, Alex (Chloe Sevigny), had lost their son, Holden, who several years earlier was abducted from a carousel ride at a carnival and was now (unbeknownst to the Lowes) living among The Countess’ children of the damned. And what do ya know? Though John found room 64 empty — he shoulda looked under the bed! — he did manage to catch a glimpse of Holden.

LOVE AT FIRST BITE | At the (unbeating) heart of the Cortez is The Countess, first encountered in all her glamtastic glory on a date night with her boy toy, Iris’ son, Donovan (Matt Bomer). After picking up a couple at a graveyard screening of Nosferatu, the lovers retired to the Cortez for a fourgy that left their bedmates more than merely dead tired. What about the blood? “Call housekeeping,” The Countess advised Donovan. Despite appearances, it wasn’t all fun and games for the vamps. Near the episode’s end, Murder House Realtor Marcy (Christine Estabrook) surprised Iris and Liz by introducing them to the Cortez’s new owner, designer Will Drake (Cheyenne Jackson), and his son, Lachlan. In turn, Will and Lachlan got a surprise when they found a naked Donovan asleep in his — now their? — suite. Naturally, the blood-sucker was as upset about this turn of events as Iris and Liz. But The Countess didn’t seem worried. She sweet-talked the New Yorker and showed his son her brood’s secret — and beyond enviable! — playroom. (Though if Lachlan is ever to fit in, he’s gonna need a serious bleach job.)

MOTEL HELL | Maybe more than anyone, Iris was fearful that Will would throw everyone out of the Cortez. Though Donovan wasn’t in the least interested in his mother, she was eager to see him on a daily basis, and in a flashback, we saw why: In 1994, she’d been desperate to save the handsome junkie. Unfortunately, getting a fix with Sally in room 64 had left him in, shall we say, bad shape. In retaliation, Iris had pushed Sally out a window to her death. (Temporary as that may be on this show… ) When Iris returned to room 64, The Countess was sitting with Donovan and unable to overlook the fact that he had “a jawline for days.” (And we all know how that attraction turned out… ) Finally, after John’s dinner with daughter Scarlett was interrupted by a “Help!” text from Alex, he hightailed it to the site of what he thought was his wife’s house call, only to learn that he’d actually been lured there by The Ten Commandments Killer, who’d struck again (leaving two gents with their innards hanging out). Fearing that the psycho would further involve his family, the detective decided to move out, prompting Alex to admit that she would be glad he was gone. Not because she blamed him for Holden’s disappearance but because he reminded her so much of their son. So, as “Checking In” concluded, John relocated, not only to the Cortez but to room 64.

So, what did you think of the premiere? Hit the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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84 Comments
  1. Sam says:

    That was incredible. Felt so much more like season 1. Amazing.

  2. N says:

    It was straight gotta get better. I didn’t get that shiver

  3. Matt says:

    Amazing premiere! Already liking this season more than Freak Show, and we’re only on episode 1. I’ll admit, I had my doubts about adding Gaga to the cast, but she fit in perfectly.

  4. Joey says:

    As much as I will enjoy basically any episode of AHS, it still isn’t nor will it ever likely be as good as Penny Dreadful.

    • DL says:

      It’s really a matter of personal preference. I watched the whole first season of Penny Dreadful but just couldn’t get into it. Phenomenal performances, but the kitchen sink mythology I found difficult to digest. Still better than the weakest seasons of AHS, but I’d definitely put Murder House and Asylum above it; we’ll have to wait and see where Hotel falls on that spectrum.

      • Joey says:

        While I’ll definitely agree that Murder House and Asylum are by far the best AHS has given us so far, I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re better than PD. But, as you said, personal preferences and all.

        This episode is definitely more in the vein of Murder House/Asylum than the more recent seasons, so I’m hopeful that it will be pretty good. Also, I’d advise watching the second season of PD, the Nightcomers in particular are very creepy, as much as nude women with ritualistic Satanic scarring can be creepy, of course. :P

      • Temperance says:

        ‘Kitchen sink mythology’? It’s essentially the Universal movie monsters… updated slightly. Penny Dreadful is pretty stellar all the way around.

        • DL says:

          Yes, except those monsters all have their own individual films and worlds. Penny Dreadful mashes them all together, and that never completely jibed for me; it just didn’t feel cohesive. But as I said, personal preference. My brother and sister both adore the show and don’t share my opinion in the slightest.

          • Temperance says:

            They were all tweaked to cohere. From a world building standpoint, it’s done in a way that reminds me of TSR’s Ravenloft.

          • DL says:

            Well, props to you for bringing up Ravenloft. I loved that setting. But at least in season one I didn’t feel that cohesiveness. Egyptian vampires and Frankenstein’s monster and Dorian Gray all felt very separate to me. Maybe season two brought it all together better. Again, though, phenomenal performances all around, especially Eva Green and Rory Kinnear.

    • Jax&Juice's Girl says:

      Penny Dreadful is REALLY good……..this episode was WTF good! But I’m kinda disappointed that it didn’t show everybody like where was Angela Basset and Evan Peters? Overall loved it.

  5. A. D. says:

    Fantastic Show!

  6. anon says:

    I will have to rewatch, I kept getting distracted my shouting out “isn’t that similar to the Hyperion Hotel set from Angel!?” Anyone else?! Or do I need glasses?

  7. headdr23 says:

    I have watched every season & finally this season’s opener brought it all back why viewers love this show. Its sick,saddistic, nightmarish & scary as hell,but leaves ya salivating for more. Fantastic cast & Gaga was impressive. Love and adore Kathy Bates-phenomenal! Seriously, can’t wait for next week!

  8. Anastasia says:

    I am so disappointed, I will never get 1.5hr of my life back. I loved all other seasons so much, and now this new is just so so horribly disappointing!

  9. Scott says:

    I’m sorry but I can’t stand Chloe Sevigny

  10. Ellinaras78 says:

    Lady Gaga is not an actress. Hopefully she won’t take too much away from this season which could be as good as the first two. I’m afraid she will though.

    • Anastasia says:

      bad decision let Gaga in to pollute America horror story, looks like she enjoy her freakish and not even attractive roll play. My personal opinion the pleasure was all hers, I gaged a little watching her.

    • Scotty B says:

      She didn’t bother me really, not a fan of hers but she didnt ruin anything for me. I was actually pleasantly surprised that they didn’t use her more. I was afraid they would be shoving her down our throats, but all in all, she wasn’t really in the majority of the episode.

    • Ray says:

      Actually, Gaga is a Stanislavski method trained actor. I wish people would stop talking out of their rears when they don’t know the facts.

      • Mac says:

        She might be trained cuz her parents paid for some lessons but she clearly has forgotten them. She can barely sing and now we know she can barely act. But America loves her!

    • Temperance says:

      She was surprisingly good, actually.

      • kittysaysmeh says:

        She was… passable, but that’s as far as I’d go. Maybe she’ll get better once she remembers she’s in a TV show and not a music video.

  11. Ashley Sarabia says:

    I loved every single second of it. I wish I want going to Vegas Saturday for a week so I can see it Wednesday.

  12. Karen says:

    The word “unsettling” definitely describes this premiere episode. Won’t be easy erasing some of those images from my mind for the next few days (and nights). Evoking same vibes as Season 2, which, in my opinion, was this series’ BEST.

    • Bartimeus says:

      Agree. Asylum has my least favorite plotlines on paper, yet it’s my favorite. Truly great writing and acting. Coven is conceptually my favorite, yet I thought the writing was extremely sloppy. But at least it was fun… Freak Show is alright but while the show has always been effed up and sick, it was always oddly fun about it, FS did not have any of that same spark, so it just felt mean and weird yet boring ish.

    • Scotty B says:

      Asylum is really good, the only major complaint i had was they packed way too much into it. Aslyum/insanity, demonic possession, serial killer, aliens, monsters in the woods. but the writing and acting was fantastic.

    • Red Snapper says:

      I agree that “unsettling” is the best way to describe it. I thought it was good, not great though. It just feels like something was missing. I’m not sure what though. I thought Lady Gaga was good. I’m not a fan of hers by any means but her acting was pretty good. I look forward to see what else she brings. Also, her and Matt Bomer looked great together.

  13. Saintsfan9 says:

    It was a VERY good premiere. Much better than season 3 that’s for sure. I thought lady Gaga was great. I hope it stays consistent like this all season. Much better than penny dreadful where Eva Green can’t act.

  14. Cheyenne says:

    Blood and gore all over the floor. Totally over the top but in a very good way. LOVED Lady Gaga and can’t wait to see more of her. Did not miss Jessica Lange at all.
    (P.S. Comparing this show with Penny Dreadful is apples and oranges.)

  15. Eric7740 says:

    Already better than “Freak Show” and we’re only one episode in!!!! I’m checked in!!! Go Gaga!!!

  16. Gillian says:

    So many mysteries in an hour and a half but the icing on the cake was Hotel California playing at the end. Hotel Cortez is THE Hotel California. You can check out anytime you like but you can never leave.

  17. Tony says:

    I guess I’ve grown tired by all the stylish gore and perverse sensationalism. Nothing “shocks” me anymore. The “fourgy” and the dildo death were turn offs. Probably won’t be watching the rest of the season since I turned it off half-an-hour before it ended.

    • Anastasia says:

      Absolutely agree on this with you, is much is I wore looking forward to new season, watching this episode couldn’t help my self saying to much of EwEw’ and been grossed out by some of the contents. And not that I didn’t see it all, I just choose not too.

  18. Et al. says:

    Not entirely sure there’s a story here, but atmospherically it was exceptional. That’s more than enough for me for a horror anthology show. I liked it. Gaga was good too.

  19. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Holy s**t, that was Max Greenfield? I knew I recognized that guy. But I went back and rewatched that scene after I found out it was him, and still had a hard time seeing Max Greenfield in that character. What a difference a hair color can make. Also, he seemed skinnier.
    .
    This episode was weird, and for this series, that’s saying a lot. I miss the days when this show
    actually was kind of scary. Now it’s pretty hard not to laugh at it trying to be scary and disturbing. It’s always been kind of campy, but we’ve gone beyond camp appeal at this point. Even The Shining references didn’t scare me, and the original movie scares the hell out of me, so….I was mad it didn’t scare me. Also, ripping off Seven? Ugh. Especially in such an obvious and spot-on way. Are we going to find Chloe Sevigny’s head in a box too? I was disappointed in the whole thing and a little turned off by how hard they were trying to be shocking with the sex and rape scenes. Like, c’mon, Ryan and company, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.
    .
    I am however very interested in Denis O’Hare’s character and would like to see more of him on the show.

  20. David says:

    Question to previous viewers, I’ve only seen AHS:Coven. So is it normally this grotesque and gruesome?

    • Twokeets says:

      No, it hasn’t been this constantly gruesome. And it has always had a story to draw you in. In my opinion, this version is kind of dumb in its constant use of “shocking” scenes. I’m not sure I’ll come back. And I’ve watched every episode so far.

      • Tony says:

        The first two seasons were really “cerebral” in that they played with your imagination and involved you on an intellectual level. Coven was a break in that it went all-out in the campiest way possible. Style and sensationalism took precedence over story; Freakshow had its potential but derailed halfway through and lost its way until its end. Hotel is all about style. Aesthetically gorgeous, smart and ironic, but gore is now pornographic and nothing is left to the imagination. I was bored and tuned out. Not sure if I will be back next week.

        • David says:

          Thanks for the replies, I love the cast as actors but my family started laughing and left when the zombie thing popped out of the bed and I finally turned it off with about 10 minutes until it finished. I won’t be back, there was no story, just hoping from unnecessary grizzly gorry rape & sex scenes. Color me disappointed. VanityFair had a pretty accurate review in my opinion. Shame Gaga is in this, I would have loved to see her act.

  21. tahina says:

    Is it Cortez or Cecil hotel, the infamous hotel in LA, known for multiple homicides, mysterious deaths (Elisa Lam? ) and countless suicides?…I gave it a B, but hope for an A next time. .with I’ home”!

  22. Zachary Flye says:

    Honestly the first hour was a tad boring, I didn’t really get into it until the last half hour. So far not my favorite season, but there’s still time.

  23. katedfw says:

    Gaga killed it! The hotel is creepy as hell and the occupants quite strange. It’s going to be a fun ride!

    • kittysaysmeh says:

      As in “she killed the show.”
      Seriously though, she wasn’t as bad as I expected, but I wouldn’t call her “great” by a long shot.

  24. tark says:

    I skipped Freak Show because I enjoy sleeping through the night. I don’t know if I can hang with this season either “?” I try one more episode.

  25. Gerri says:

    Well we got to see more of Matt Bomer that we ever did in Magic Mike. Although I don’t like seeing his beautiful face covered in blood.

  26. sillyemmy says:

    Tuned in for Bomer and Cheyenne Jackson. Not sure I’ll stay. It was *so* over-the-top, that my reactions were mainly relegated to “ugh” and *eyeroll*. I don’t really NEED to be scared, but it’s called American HORROR Story. And instead of being scary in any way, it was kind of stupid. I mean, how many times can one see a jugular spurting fake blood before they’re desensitized?

  27. Evie says:

    Nope not up to my par, Had it been the first one I saw, it would be the last. It stands alone from the 1st three, it was humorless maybe except for Gorilla Glue and Obama reference. Too much time spent on male to male rape scene. Dandy was a more affable serial killer. So far I do not like any of the characters except Liz. I will watch again to see if more sarcastic humor appears.

  28. Twokeets says:

    I kind of hated it! And I have watched every episode of AHS so far. It felt like they couldn’t resist all the visuals, which were very nice, but they just don’t care about story. And the “shocking” tone just seemed dumb to me. Too bad.

  29. alistaircrane says:

    Are they using the Cecil Hotel for the exterior of the Cortez? That’s the haunted hotel where a young woman was mysteriously found dead in a water tank, which would have been impossible for her to enter. Creepy!

  30. Leila says:

    Can’t believe most people gave an A for this. It was predictable, boring and not really scary. Good times when this show was actually intriguing.

  31. elisabeth says:

    Holy Ned, that was the dumbest of the dumb. I realise AHS is supposed to tongue-in-cheek, but would be it much to ask for something original? The writer seems to believe more blood equates to higher quality. Not scary. Not necessary to the story. Just plain stupid and redundant relative to past seasons. I’m giving myself 3 more episodes in hopes of a story development. Remember, kiddies, this is a opinion board – there will be those who agree and disagree with your view. Consider this before you scream at someone who could care less.

  32. Heathers says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha my comment must have been deleted. Lady Gaga sucks. That’s all.

  33. Carly says:

    The first thing I noticed about the hotel was the “Overlook Hotel’s” carpeting. I loved that touch. I do miss not seeing Jessica Lange and was worried about Lady Gaga, but I enjoyed it. Was it fantastic? I don’t know, but it entertained me and that is all that matters to me at the moment.

  34. jenn says:

    I thought one of the Swedish girls was killed by the vampire children- how did she survive

  35. Mia says:

    Better than last yr…its always the odd seasons that tend to be better

  36. Krlsellers@yahoo.com says:

    Sometimes less is more. The psychological horror is much more effective in my opinion than the blood and guts n sex crap I thought of the whole premiere. In my opinion Lady Gaga ruined everything. I cannot stand to watch her

  37. Melanie says:

    I thought it was bad. Really bad. Not as bad as Coven, but bad.

  38. Kayte CookWatts says:

    I am not sure why people are ragging on Gaga’s acting. I am only a casual fan of hers, but I thought she did fine. Her character wasn’t very developed, so what exactly what she supposed to do?Granted, I am not saying that she is any where on par with the rest of the actresses on the show, but I thought for someone who is pretty inexperienced, and the way the part was written, she was good enough. I didn’t find it scary overall, but interesting enough to keep watching. Certainly better than Coven, and I suffered through that, hoping it would get better.

  39. Guest says:

    I’ve seen other comments and I agree..the best way to describe this season premiere is unsettling which is exactly how I felt about the first and second season which were the BEST! Lady gaga was amazing! I loved her character and the portrayal of it that calm and collected but inside bat sh!t craziness was just killer (hehe pun intended:D) love her!! That scene with max greenfield will haunt my dreams for years to come. Just as bad emotionally for me as Jamie’s sexual assault in Outlander and with Jamie I had an entire 8 book series and all of the 1 season of the show to fall in love with that character and both scenes..just as cringeworthy :/ Sarah p…I’m sorry but she is my only complaint just because I’m tired of her period on Ahs

  40. Greg says:

    I Loved it! Great visuals, good acting, great music. It’s off to a great start! Did anyone else feel like the entire scene with the foursome was a play on the opening credits of The Hunger? Maybe I’m old enough that no one remembers that movie…LOL. I realize they took place in different places (Club/House vs Graveyard/Hotel), but the tone of the scene, the music, etc reminded me a lot of that scene. That scene from the opening (when they are getting ready in the hotel) until the end (the cigarette after the couple are dead) was an incredible visual/musical experience.

  41. Sue says:

    I only watched season 1 and so many actors I like are in this Gago, Bomer, Wes Bentley. I just couldn’t get through the episode though. The scene with Max Greenfield and the foursome, I was freaked.

  42. Matt says:

    Without Cliff Notes, I’m. Always list on this show

  43. Cori says:

    Most common critique from peers came down to one word, “cheesey!” Sell out. Feels like a rushed production. Too many déjà Vu moments inspired by other movies such as Seven, Room 1408, The Shining, snippets of Hannibal and multiple crap vampire movie insinuations! Many weak acting moments, weak character building, weird camera work, and above all Lady Gaga is butchering her role! She cannot even make a still moment withe zero dialogue believable! However having said that, thank AHS for Sarah Paulson , Denis O’Hare, Kathy Bates, Wes Bentley and (drum roll please), Evan Peters who for me has brought back the AHS we all know and love with his awesome representation of true acting ability! I will give this two more episodes if Gaga’s roll is rolled way back and the true talent on the show turn this around to meet AHS style and standards!