Pretty Va­cant

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased 3 OC­tO­ber 2015 | 18 | blu-ray/dVd/down­load

Cre­ator ryan mur­phy Cast lady Gaga, sarah paul­son, Kathy bates, an­gela bas­sett

Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story: Ho­tel isn’t for ev­ery­one. As a fran­chise, AHS’s only con­sis­tency is its in­con­sis­tency, and Ho­tel’s even more all-over-the-place than usual. It’s al­most as if the soul of the ho­tel set­ting has pos­sessed the nar­ra­tive, throw­ing in tran­sient char­ac­ters and overnight ideas, cre­at­ing a plot as var­ied and dis­con­nected as a B&B guest­book.

The clos­est thing to a main nar­ra­tive re­volves around De­tec­tive John Lowe (Wes Bent­ley) and his search for the iden­tity of a mys­te­ri­ous killer who is linked to LA’s Ho­tel Cortez, a place with its own dark past, present and fu­ture.

But that set-up is mis­lead­ing. De­spite the Shin­ing ref­er­ences, this Ho­tel’s more over­cooked than the Over­look, with ghosts, vam­pires, evil ba­bies and blax­ploita­tion clichés run­ning around its halls.

When the show works, it’s fan­tas­tic – with one-off episodes such as “Devil’s Night” (fa­mous se­rial killers meet for din­ner) and “Flicker” (back­story of Lady Gaga’s Count­ess char­ac­ter) stand-outs. And there’s a rea­son this show is con­sis­tently nom­i­nated for Golden Globes for act­ing: the per­for­mances are as­ton­ish­ing, with Evan Peters’ se­rial killer ghost Mr March and De­nis O’Hare’s trans­gen­der bar­tender Liz par­tic­u­larly wor­thy of praise. These per­for­mances equal the best of both ac­tors’ ca­reers, but they feel like they’re in com­pletely dif­fer­ent shows.

So, while Ho­tel may be as soul­less as a stay on the Las Ve­gas Strip, it’s still worth a visit. You just wouldn’t want to live there…

Ex­tras Two short fea­turettes: one looks at the Cortez set, while the other goes be­hind the scenes on “Devil’s Night”. Sam Ashurst

Gaga marked her first week’s film­ing with a party. She had black lace cur­tains hung, and her swim­ming pool dyed blood red…

Gaga and Tony Ben­nett: wadda duo!

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