Season 5 of “American Horror Story” is on its way to reclaiming the status of TV horror leader after two seasons of disappointing storylines.
Season 5, named “American Horror Story: Hotel,” hearkens back to the first two seasons of the show, with dark, supernatural thrills and taboos.
Here’s the gist: There’s a hotel in Los Angeles with varied and questionable residents, and things don’t tend to go well for the guests who check in.
The season is a blend of slasher and supernatural horror, satisfying both blood and gore fans, as well as traditional horror fans.
Unlike the last few seasons of “American Horror Story,” which focused less on suspense and more on characters and gore, this season’s premiere gave me goosebumps.
The creepy atmosphere of “American Horror Story” is back, with lots of shadows and hallucinogenic-like camera effects.
Another much missed element of “American Horror Story,” the sense of mystery and intrigue about the characters, is back in full swing.
The premiere did just enough to entice viewers without giving away too much about any of the characters or the premise.
Lady Gaga is a main star in this season. Although I have never seen Lady Gaga in an acting role, she is a competent actress – at least in the horror genre.
Gaga is perhaps the most well-suited person for this role, which combines a type of old world Hollywood glamour and a bit of sadism — a persona Lady Gaga already puts off.
As a cautionary note, this season has far more sexually explicit scenes than at least the last few seasons.
Although “American Horror Story” is known for its gore and general depravity, Season 5 takes it a step further with a rape scene in the first 30 minutes of the premiere.
This scene is difficult to watch because it is so explicit, so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone with a history of sexual trauma.
That being said, the rest of the gore seems in line with previous seasons of “American Horror Story”: copious amounts of blood, detailed murder scenes and drug use are common throughout the premiere.
One of the best things about “American Horror Story” in general, and specifically Season 5, is the soundtrack.
The music is chosen tastefully and almost always narrates the scenes exactly, not just the mood of the scenes.
From indie rock to the Eagles, the music always adds to the scene depicted.
“American Horror Story” also does camera angles and lighting well. Wide angles are common to show off the detail in the sets, which are always flawless.
There are also some interesting camera techniques, including some that represent being under the influence of drugs.
The camera angles add so much to the show that I’m not sure it would be the same without them.
Lighting is also an important facet of “American Horror Story.” The contrast between dark and light is particularly stark in this season, contrasting a decaying holdout of old Hollywood glamour and the bright sunshine of Los Angeles.
Shadows also add to the creepy atmosphere. In some instances, things that appear to be there perhaps aren’t, and vice versa.
Overall, I was incredibly pleased with the new season of “American Horror Story.”
It truly seems that the show is coming back to what it was originally: a horror show.
This article originally appeared in the Oct. 14, 2015 print edition of The Echo.
image via techtimes.com