American Horror Story (Hotel): Flicker Review

Originally posted on outloudculture.com on Nov. 21, 2015

Flicker

If I was held at gunpoint, and forced to choose a show that has set itself apart from all other shows by having the most outrageous plots per capita, I would choose “American Horror Story” in a heartbeat.

To this day it is still mind-boggling that the man who created “Glee” also created a show where a woman ate a brain, a Nazi doctor experimented on mentally ill patients, zombies summoned by voodoo practitioners attacked an all-girls school for witches and a freak show is shot up by an inbred brat.

I wonder how everyone at the table read for “Flicker” reacted when they realized that they were going to do an episode about how director F.W. Murnau once approached Rudolph Valentino with the intent of turning him into a vampire-like creature which resulted in Valentino turning his lover Natacha Rambova into said vampire-like creature.

Also, was there enough disbelief to suspend when in addition to all of that, they would also end up turning the countess into a vampire which causes James March to hunt them down and lock them up in a corridor of his hotel for all eternity until Cheyenne Jackson’s character decides to renovate the hotel which leads to the discovery of said corridor and results in Valentino and Rambova escaping to once again live like gods.

If that was a lot to process, that’s because it is. “AHS” has spent half the season introducing its large cast only to introduce two more characters and a new plotline in a crowded hour.

In addition to Rambova and Valentino (and I’m also assuming Murnau), there is also an entire middle school’s worth of vampire children roaming about Los Angeles turning whoever dare to cross their paths into vampires themselves. Yet we hear absolutely nothing about this huge issue.

Aside from the vampires, “Flicker” is also an ode to the silent era of Hollywood. The sequence when Murnau presents himself to Valentino is so filled with love for the movies it’s almost surprising that Mark Cousins isn’t narrating. The frame rate was even lowered to match the “flicker” of the early films and has clear influence from “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” and other German films.

But back to the episode.

Meanwhile, Detective Lowe’s story has finally gained some momentum after he checks himself into a hospital so he can get closer to a suspect of the Ten Commandments murders.

This turns out to be a vampire girl – at this point it should be safe to assume that Los Angeles is 80% human and 20% blood-sucking creatures (insert Harvey Weinstein and/or Ari Emmanuel joke here) – who is somehow a witness to all of these murders. The plot thickens but will it be thick enough for the finale?

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