Ah, October already! Fall is in the air: the leaves are changing, pumpkin spice is taking over the world, and bodies are being stuffed under beds. American Horror Story is once again painting Halloween season bloody. Ah, spooky children in the hall, maids vacuuming blood off the mattresses; everything is perfect and we’re ready to check in to the Hotel Cortez.
The opening credits are amazing. It’s got a strong theme of entrapment, likely taken from theories of the theme revolving around HH Holmes' Murder Hotel (known as The Castle) and the mysterious death of Elisa Lam at the Hotel Cecil. Between names are flashes of the 10 Commandments, hinting at a possible religious theme. I love the juxtaposition of the Commandments and the general Rules of Horror. They flash across the screen so quickly, they’re nearly impossible to see.
Kathy Bates is back as Iris, the hotel clerk. She’s snide as hell and I love it. The two Swedish girls, Vandela (Helena Mattsson) and Agnetha (Kamilla Alnes), find a body in the mattress (living, mind you) and in response, Iris doesn’t bat an eye. Instead, she gives them the mysterious Room 64, which is apparently never rented out because it’s haunted by vampire children. The Hotel Cortez is very much like The Overlook. Maze-like, disorienting, haunted; the camera work does a wonderful job of highlighting and exaggerating the unease air of the place.