Review: American Horror Story: Hotel, ‘Chutes and Ladders’


Chutes and Ladders *SPOILERS AHEAD*

Last week, American Horror Story: Hotel shocked us all with an episode full of blood, gore and sexual immorality that somehow made it past the censors to be on cable television. The show has been pushing the envelope from season one but the sharp metal codpiece butt rape scene was by far the furthest they have gone to date. That having happened in only the first episode of this season, I think it is safe to assume we can expect much worse as the show goes on.

Photo Credit: Suzanne Tenner/FX
Photo Credit: Suzanne Tenner/FX

Tonight’s episode, entitled ” Chutes and Ladders” may not be as shocking as the season premiere, but it still has its moments. They begin the episode by cleaning up after the premiere by revealing the fates of both the remaining Swedish girl and Gabriel (Max Greenfield), the victim of the aforementioned rape. New hotel owner Will Drake (Cheyenne Jackson), holds a fashion show introducing Finn Wittrock to the season. Finn plays Tristan Duffy, a drug addicted and anger filled model that catches the eye of The Countess (Lady Gaga). There’s no doubt that it is his unpredictability she is attracted to as Donovan (Matt Bomer) has become boring to her.

John Lowe (Wes Bentley) brings his daughter Scarlett (Shree Crooks) to the hotel to show her where he lives and to spend the day with him. When John gets wrangled in to watching the fashion show instead, Drake’s son shows Scarlett where the vampire children sleep. Here she finds her little brother, still alive without having aged.

Hotel has a few historical elements hidden inside. To start, we go back to my original theory that Gaga is supposed to be Countess Elizabeth Bathory. Despite her revelation that she was born in 1904, I still believe that The Countess was based off of her.

Photo Credit Suzanne Tenner/FX
Photo Credit Suzanne Tenner/FX

Then there is the “laundry chute” where the hotel staff is able to dump dead bodies into the basement. This is reminiscent of the man most consider to be America’s first serial killer, Mr. H.H. Holmes. In 1893 , Holmes opened a hotel in Chicago that he had equipped with hidden rooms, secret greased laundry chutes and acid vats for the purpose of murder. Hotel explains that a wealthy man named Mr. March (Evan Peters) built
Hotel Cortez for his own sick pleasures. It is safe to assume that Holmes was, at the very least, an inspiration for March and for this season of American Horror Story.

Mr. March is easily the best character on the show thus far. He seems like your typical spoiled, wealthy guy. He has the slicked back hair, pencil thin mustache and snootiness to his voice that are stereotypical to the old timey rich men. That being said, the guy is brutal and emotionless when it comes to murder. What I love is that he has a maid sidekick who happily cleans up his bloody messes. There is one scene, another that I cannot believe got past the censors, where March is having sex with this woman while slicing and dicing her to bits. When he is finished, he lays on the bed and tells the maid to remind him to change the ugly light fixture. She goes along with it like its just any other day. She washes his bloody sheets, scrubs his bloody shirts and follows his every command with nothing but love until they died.

The theory is that March’s wife turned him into the police and inherited his millions upon his death. My money is on it being Gaga.

If this episode didn’t reel you in, I’m not sure this season is for you. This episode set the season up for so many excellent storylines and conflicts to arise and now I am really excited for episode three. Next week cannot come soon enough.

American Horror Story:Hotel airs Wednesday nights at 10PM on FX

========================================================================================================= Ann Hale is the horror editor for and a senior contributing writer, reviewing horror movies and television shows. Ann attended East Carolina University, majoring in English Literature. She is a collector of Halloween (the film) memorabilia and is a self-admitted opinionated horror nerd. You can follow her, her collection and her cat, Edward Kittyhands on Twitter and Instagram @Scarletjupiter

Just a giant nerd in love with horror, 80's action flicks, Star Wars and Harry Potter. Hit me up on Twitter or Instagram @scarletjupiter to talk horror or just to browse the horror collection.