Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Inn trouble

Currently watching - watching, not binging, because I go to work in the morning - the fifth season of American Horror Story. AKA "Hotel", noted for bringing Lady Gaga into the franchise. You can tell she's not a really seasoned actress, but she makes an impression.

This is the second iteration of the show that I've seen, and there are a few constants:

* It's really campy. The actors do a lot of nighttime soap emoting, regardless of how overqualified they are. (The gay associations with camp are certainly there too. Most men in the cast either are gay or could be really successful if they tried their hand at it.)

* There are a lot of shock tactics, sometimes sexual in nature and sometimes not, which have the effect of making the show less scary rather than more.

* Once you get past those there's actually a twisty and interesting story.

The story here has elements of The Shining, The Hunger, and Seven. There's a hotel that was basically built as a giant instrument of torture. There are vampires who hunt to throbbing goth rock music. And a serial killer is trying to make his punishments biblically appropriate.

An LAPD detective played by Wes Bentley ties the three stories together. He alternates between wooden determination and blind panic. His estranged wife is played by Chloe Sevigny, and she might be giving the best performance. She's the control in the experiment, the most "normal" character, a grieving mother and dedicated pediatrician. But normalcy is an illusion and you know things are going to go bad for her/in her.

In all, entertaining, which includes giving you something to goof on.


susan said...

'So how old are you?'
I was born in 1904.
'Wow, you mean you lived through the wars and the Depression and Clinton?'
Actually, my favourite was the 70s. I was the disco queen and we were all vampires then.

or something like that. Horror stories aren't usually my thing at all but I did just check out Lady Gaga as Vampira. yikes! Yes, she does make an impression (pneumatic plastic blond vampire seems a natural fit for her skills) and too, the bit I saw was incredibly campy - however, not in the droll yet hilarious Addams Family manner (yes, I get that there can be no comparison and none intended but who can forget Morticia?).

While it's not the kind of series I'd be drawn to watch I can understand how it caught your attention. When I looked the show up on Amazon the general feeling there seemed to be the first season was the best - the one called 'Murder House'. I'm not fond of shock tactics in the movies or shows I watch, but 'twisty and interesting' has made me at least a little curious.

Good tip and good review.

Ben said...

Yeah, as you might guess, the guy who remarks about living through the wars depression and Clinton isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. She's attracted to him for other reasons.

"Cool, decadent vampire types" seems to be a natural way of remembering the disco era, at least for those not overwhelmed by the tackiness factor.

Vampire queen is a good role for her because it allows her to float above the action at a slight remove, only getting down to emoting in a few key scenes. The cast is interesting overall. Kathy Bates has some good moments too.

Murder House isn't one I've seen yet, although I know it certainly got its share of attention, which is why the show was brought back as a semi-regular thing.

And thank you. There's a good chance I'll be doing some movie writing soon.