Sarah Paulson leans over the bed and whispers, “The more you scream, the more he likes it.” She’s speaking to a young junkie being violently, viciously raped by a demon. You can’t look away because all angles are covered, all sections revealed, and all vulnerabilities taken advantage of.
The premier of American Horror Story: Hotel brought with it the usual suspects: cinematic allusions, actresses spitting venomous lines of dialogue, hot men that are just there, and, well, rape. It’s the third time in Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s anthology series that the pilot episode has used rape as both a plot point and a provocation. Game of Thrones, another show widely criticized for its depiction of rape and sexual violence, could be argued to portray those scenes with more “taste” in comparison. But at the core of AHS’s sexual violence, which has been employed at least twice every season, is not only lazy provocation, but a deep cynicism for human relationships as a whole.