From the first season of FX’s American Horror Story chills have been left down my spine and the need for adult diapers came at a much earlier age than expected. It was always terror and fear that struck me in past seasons. The debut of American Horror Story Hotel, the franchise’s newest season, struck me due to the uncomfortable and disturbing depictions of gore. It is evident that sex sells, and Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have grasped on to sexuality in all five seasons of AHS. Have they now begun to use blood and gore to sell? This question occurred to me while watching the first episode of season five. Instead of jump scare, and psychologically terrifying ideas, AHS Hotel has brought on the bloodiest of bloody scenes intertwined with the typical sexual nature of the show.
Is blood the new seller for AHS? If this is the case, I predict rapid decreases in views. Ryan Murphy and the other creators of AHS have always tested the limits and done some questionable things, but I feel like season five is taking things too far. As stated in the St. Louis Post, producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk say “…they want to horrify and disgust their audience”, in this season and they have done so thus far. My problem with this is that I want to be entertained and enjoy the horror, not be so disgusted that I feel uncomfortable with the content. It is so disturbing I contemplate continuing to watch the season, and I know I’m not alone in the contemplation.
Even the set director Ellen Brill complains about all of the blood in her interview with Vogue:
Actor, Evan Peters, who plays the developer of the hotel in this season, refers to the hotel as his murder house. Which doesn’t seem all that bad at first until they introduce his forms of murder, where the disturbing images of being trapped in a wall, or staked through the heart are being portrayed right in front of you eyes, with some of the best special effects I have seen on television. Which is rather intriguing, but is it intriguing in the wrong ways? I am not forgetting that the show is called American HORROR story, and there is a lot of gore in horror, I am questioning the reasons for the use of so much gore. Is all the blood necessary for views? I think so. I feel that the show is using these new tactics to surprise viewers and try to gain more viewers, but personally I know that less and less of my peers are watching due to the sickness and gore.
Spending the first few episodes in conflict with my thoughts about this new season, I came across and article from Vanity Fair that supported my thoughts. The article is titled Parents Television Council Says American Horror Story: Hotel Has “Most Vile” Content Ever, and one part stuck out to me the most…
As easy as it is to dismiss the criticisms of the P.T.C., the creative team over at American Horror Story would certainly agree that this season pushes the boundaries in new ways. Leading man Matt Bomer said, “I definitely had to put down the first script a couple times and take a few deep breaths and then come back to it” and his co-star Cheyenne Jackson agreed that Hotel is “scarier” than any of the season so far. Even Murphy openly admitted this season “is a little bloodier and grislier I think than anything that we’ve done before; it’s straight horror this year.”
So, I am stuck here between a rock and a hard place, am I just a baby who doesn’t want to see all the blood? Or am I correct in saying the gore of American Horror Story Hotel is too much and producers have gone too far just to receive views? All in all, AHS Hotel is controversial for many reasons, and I have a feeling that the controversy is leading to a decrease in series viewers.