*Sex, drugs, blood, murder, rape, creepy children…and Malik Yoba are crammed into the busy first episode of “American Horror Story: Hotel,” creator Ryan Murphy’s fifth season of the FX anthology series.
Richard T. Jones pops up briefly as an LAPD detective helping Det. John Lowe (Wes Bentley) investigate a murder at Downtown LA’s Hotel Cortez…a hotel that apparently has no patience for guests who use drugs.
Murphy told us during the show’s TCA session in August that addiction will be the running theme this season.
Iris (Kathy Bates) is the self-righteous hotel manager and works the front desk, Liz Taylor (a cross-dressing Denis O’Hare) is her assistant.
And then there’s Lady Gaga as the sex-crazed, foursome-having, bedazzled fingernail-wielding Countess Elizabeth. She lords over the entire hotel. And let’s just say, she and her armpiece, Donovan (Matt Boemer), like to feast — as if they just stepped out of “True Blood.”
Angela Bassett, not seen in tonight’s pilot, will eventually appear as film star Ramona Royale, a frequent guest of the hotel who used to date The Countess, but will soon team with Donovan to take her down. Bassett told EW:
“They are powerful women at opposite sides and at odds with one another, each believing that they’re right.”
Supermodel Naomi Campbell, last seen on “Empire” is also featured on “AHS: Hotel” as a Vogue editor who has a memorable night at the Cortez.
“She’s kind of outlandish,” Campbell told EW of her guest turn. “She thinks she’s indestructible and nothing’s going to hurt her.”
Murphy says he feels the pressure of coming up with fresh and inventive storylines to keep his award-winning regulars from abandoning ship, but it’s a challenge he welcomes.
“One of the fun things about the show, I think, for the actors, why they love it, is because they all have one year deals,” he told the TCA. “And after this season is up, they can go do other things. That’s what happened with Jessica Lange. She decided she wanted a year off to do a play, which I bought for her, stupidly.”
Below, Ryan gives his take on what types of fans were drawn to each of the past four seasons (“AHS,” “AHS: Asylum,” “AHS: Coven” and “AHS: Freak Show”) and who he believes will embrace “Hotel.”
“American Horror Story: Hotel” premieres Wednesay (Oct. 7) at 10 p.m. on FX.
Watch a First Look feature and the opening title sequence below:
*Oops! An earlier version of this story mistakenly identified Richard T. Jones as Malik Yoba.