The long-awaited American Horror Story: Hotel premiere has come and gone. As in earlier seasons, American Horror Story fans have been waiting with bated breath to see what the series creators were going to throw at them this time around. Some of those fans got more than they bargained for, even from a show that’s known for pushing the envelope.
American Horror Story has been, since the first season, the epitome of unpredictable horror. Season 5 of American Horror Story: Hotel has been touted as the season that was going to take the show back to its roots; back to the classic horror and intricate scares of Murder House. If you’ve seen past seasons of the show (from Murder House to Freak Show or any in between), you already know that American Horror Story relies on shock value, in addition to its intelligent plot twists and engaging cast.
It was precisely that shock value, with an emphasis on forced sex, that turned some fans off during the American Horror Story: Hotel premiere, reports Polygon.
ATTENTION!!!!!! for those who haven't watched the first episode of american horror story: hotel, there is a rape scene in the first episode
— spooky dani (@pinkfIoss) October 8, 2015
Some fans went event further with their concerns, warning that the scene and the premise leading up to it could be considered a “trigger” to some with PTSD or other mental health concerns.
— mother superior (@90sdumbie) October 8, 2015
Violent sex and even rape are nothing new to the American Horror Story franchise. It seems that this season, like in seasons past, some viewers are getting sick of what they consider to be a glorification of sex crimes and sexual violence.
“Murphy’s disregard for sexual crimes becomes adamant once again.”
So what was it about this particular scene in American Horror Story: Hotel that has viewers and reviewers so upset? For the most part, it appears to be how unnecessary the graphic nature of the scene (which goes on for a full three minutes) was to the plot, as well as how the sexual violence is seemingly glorified.
The scene takes place 20 or so minutes into the first episode of American Horror Story: Hotel. Gabriel (played by Max Greenfield) checks into the ill-fated hotel. He is portrayed as a cocky, washed-up rock star type, in search of a room to get high in for the evening. He’s assisted by the concierge, played by series alum Kathy Bates, whom he harasses over the cost of his room in his broke-but-narcissistic state.
Gabriel settles in and does some self-administered IV drugs (something else that may trigger some viewers), which catapult him into an extremely high, extremely vulnerable state of mind. The Hotel denizens waste precious little time assaulting him; psychologically, physically, and sexually. It’s the sexual assault that has American Horror Story: Hotel fans and noobs alike bent out of shape.
Gabriel is assaulted by a man in a white suit, seemingly without context or reason. Could the violence not be implied? Did the scene have to stretch out for three minutes? To be fair, American Horror Story: Hotel is marketed to mature audiences. That being said, should even the most mature of audiences be preparing themselves for the potential of violent forced sex during prime time TV viewing?
If you’re familiar with American Horror Story in the slightest, you know that sex, forced sex, and sexual violence are nothing new to the series. The Murder House central plot was tied to the results of a non-consensual sex act. That season even portrayed the male lead’s mistress being violently murdered for refusing to have an abortion. In Asylum, the graphic portrayal of sex continues with Adam Levine in the opening sequence (not forced, but graphic enough to be cringe-inducing) and carries on throughout the season. In Asylum, Sarah Paulson’s character is abducted and imprisoned by “Bloody Face.” Bloody Face is a sadistic serial killer, who impregnates her. She gives the resulting son up for adoption shortly after his birth; she ultimately kills him years later when she realizes he’s followed in his father’s killer footsteps.
In true American Horror Story fashion, she dispatches her murderous son quickly and with as little suffering as she can mete out.
With a history like this, is it any wonder that American Horror Story: Hotel got risqué in its season opener? What do you think? Should fans expect things to keep getting more outrageous and even offensive as the seasons continue?
The American Horror Story tradition of sex crimes is a long and storied one. It remains to be seen if the most recent rape scene, depicted in American Horror Story: Hotel, was necessary to the plot or only added for shock and awe. No matter the reason why, the inclusion of the scene was offensive to many and even overshadowed the long-hyped addition of Lady Gaga to the cast for some. No matter what happens this season, viewers can bet this won’t be the last controversial scene or plot twist of American Horror Story: Hotel.
[Image Courtesy: FX/Twitter]