American Horror Story: Hotel, the fifth season in Ryan Murphy’s dark and deeply twisted series, is now available on Netflix, along with the first four seasons. I missed season five when it aired on FX, so I caught up this week. My initial thought after watching the first episode was, “Damn, Ryan or somebody on his team loved the movie The Hunger.” That is not a bad thing. I loved The Hunger too. The Hunger premiered in 1983 and set the standard for every vampire movie that ever followed. The slick horror thriller pushed conventional boundaries of mainstream films and featured a lesbian relationship between the leading ladies. The love scene between the two women was risqué for its time.
So how does AHS: Hotel compare? Let’s take a look at the “queen” vampires in both stories.
Strikingly similar, no? Both seductive, wealthy blondes with a commanding presence. They share a fondness for stylish dress, an affinity for face veils and a penchant for Egyptian ankh jewelry.
In both narratives, the “queen” vampire has a beautiful and adoring lover. They go out on the town hunting for an unsuspecting couple that is up for a foursome. Meanwhile eerie synthetic pop plays in the background. The sound was so similar I actually thought the songs might be the same band. However, the music in The Hunger is by Bauhaus and in AHS: Hotel it is a band called She Wants Revenge, who sounds hauntingly similar. The musical nods to The Hunger don’t end there. In a later episode Peter Murphy’s Cuts You Up is used. Murphy was the lead singer for Bauhaus. To top it off, they played Lacmé by Léo Delibes, a classic instrumental also featured in The Hunger.
To the left is the opening of The Hunger for comparison to AHS.
Both vampire couples take their prey back to their lairs and initiate their own versions of foreplay followed by synchronized slaughter. Needless, to say it does not end well for the swingers they picked up. The blood bath in AHS: Hotel evokes True Blood levels of gushing, spurting, erupting jugulars.
In both stories, the queen vampires dump their current amours for new models, although for different reasons, and the jilted lovers seek revenge.
But wait,” I hear you saying, “where are the lesbians?” In The Hunger Miriam’s new love was Sarah played by none other than Susan Sarandon. In AHS: Hotel one of the Countess’ former lovers was a woman. Although to be accurate, the vampires and their female lovers are all bisexual in both shows.
Like all AHS series there are multiple interweaving storylines; the show isn’t just about The Countess and her vampire lovers. The cast of characters includes homicidal ghosts, serial killers and women with an unhealthy obsession for their sons. If you are a fan of American Horror Story, or of the horror genre in general you probably don’t mind gore. However, there is a rape scene in episode one which is pretty gruesome. You have been warned. The rest of the series is standard horror fare.
So if you like horror, vampires, particularly bisexual vampires, and homages to great vampire films of the past you will probably enjoy AHS: Hotel.