American Horror Story: Hotel: Devil’s Night Review

American Horror Story’s annual Halloween episode is a ghastly affair as usual with many a trick and treat alike.

This American Horror Story: Hotel review contains spoilers.

American Horror Story: Season 5, Episode 4

American Horror Story’s motto for Halloween has always been the same as Tim Curry’s in The Worst Witch*– anything can happen on halloween. Specifically, as first shown in season 1, the dead can go anywhere they want on All Hallows Eve…and now apparently the night before as well. “Devil’s Night” sees a slew of famous real life serial killers flock to the Hotel Cortez on the titular evening in order to have dinner with Evan Peters deliciously over the top murder junkie James Marsh. Yes, Evan Peters is in this episode for more than five minutes much to my delight. In fact, it’s as though he and Lady Gaga switched places this week, with the Countess only appearing for what felt like an extended cameo. This works out well because I find as the season goes on that Lady Gaga is much more digestible in small doses whereas Evan Peters has been criminally underused.

As far as the serial killers go, all your favorites make an appearance — Richard Ramirez, John Wayne Gacy, Aileen Wuornos, Jeffrey Dahmer, and the Zodiac Killer are all present and accounted for. Charles Manson and David Berkowitz are the only really glaring omissions but Manson at least gets a mention. And of course Hotel’s very own Ten Commandments Killer is missing…or is he? There is a theory going around that John Lowe may actually be the very killer that he is trying to catch. There is certainly a precedence in fiction for having a main character black out and commit acts that they later attribute to another (paging Fight Club) and John being present at tonight’s serial killer powwow could definitely be hinting at his identity as a killer. Plus Marsh does say something like “John is not yet our kind” and the only other definition of “our kind” that would pertain to a room full of dead murderers would be the dead part and I’m not sure that Marsh would go out of his way to point out something as obvious as the fact that John hadn’t died yet. Still, “our kind” could just be foreshadowing that at some point John might be driven to commit murder.

On the other side of the Lowe spectrum, Alex gets turned into a vampire. I’m sure it’s no accident that the last couple of episodes have hammered home how much Alex despises anti-vaxxers and here she is willfully exposing herself to a virus. Isn’t it ironic, dontcha think?

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I only have a couple of small complaints about “Devil’s Night”:

  1. There wasn’t really much point in having Miss Evers tell John about her son (the point of which would seem to be so that he could figure out that her story took place so long ago that she should be dead by now) if he’s just going to figure out the same stuff from James Marsh and the serial killers (that the hotel is full of g-g-g-ghosts). Unless the creators really just want child abduction to be the main connective tissue for this whole season. It’s like some horrid reverse-Oprah situation, where instead of giving out cars it’s “And YOU lose a kid, and YOU lose a kid…”

  2. You knew, you just KNEW that Alex was going to take the Countess’s offer of eternal life to be with Holden so why put in the part where she resists, just so Finn Wittrock’s Tristan could show up and make my skin crawl for all of five seconds? Sure, have her resist a bit, but then have her cave in all one same scene. We didn’t really gain anything drama-wise by having her leave and then reconsider.

The serial killer dinner was a lot of fun and the minor complaints I did have didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the episode over all. A major improvement over last week’s Mommy Weaksauce.

Random thoughts during tonight’s episode:

  • John finally takes a drink. Can’t say I’m not disappointed but I knew it was inevitable.

  • I’m watching John Wayne Gacy (a killer famous for dressing up as a children’s party clown) thinking, “They should have put him in the clown makeup, It would have been scarier.” A few minutes later? He’s in the Pogo makeup.

  • Fun Fact#1: John Carroll Lynch, the actor playing Gacy, played a clown last season.

  • Fun Fact #2: John Carroll Lynch also played a major Zodiac Killer suspect in the David Fincher film Zodiac.

  • The Zodiac Killer in “Devil’s Night” was apparently played by the Black Knight from Monty Python And The Holy Grail.

  • Best lines of the episode:

           “I’ll bite your damn dick off!”

            “I don’t need a Batman costume to have fun!”

            “I know Mare Winningham was ugly when she was younger, but wow!”

(That last line came from my father-in-law who was watching the episode with me and in no way reflects my personal feelings about Ms. Winningham’s attractiveness)

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*If you don’t know what The Worst Witch is, Google it and then find it on YouTube, it’s classic Halloween goodness served up with a side of ‘80s cheese.


4 out of 5