The Devil’s Night Soiree is the new Halloween. Should you be lucky enough to be invited — instead of dragged here to die — behold the most horrifying people in the world having fun times with friends! “We’re the Mount Rushmore of murder,” James March (Evan Peters) proudly announces at the exclusive dinner party for the ghosts of serial killers who learned from the best: March himself. He’s a genius, you see, “like Galileo or Peter Frampton.” No one can argue with that, so please, by all means, fetishize away. In the grand tradition of the Hotel Cortez, what isn’t possible becomes possible. Los Angeles-based Night Stalker Richard Ramirez will flash his Satanic tattoos every so often to keep everyone alert. John Wayne Gacy (John Carroll Lynch, who knows a thing or two about playing twisted clowns from AHS: Freak Show) will casually advise on how to have a “really terrific rec room” in your home. The Zodiac Killer will show up late and skulk in the corner, as unknowable as ever. Quiet cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer (Seth Gabel) does NOT do salad, so kindly hurry up and bring out the main course, so he can take a power tool to a young man’s skull. And Aileen Wuornos (Lily Rabe) will get all up in your face and dance around — only after her best attempt to seduce and kill you, of course. It’s all just another day at the home office when you’re Detective Wes Bentley.
“Johnny Depp likes my paintings,” Gacy said after March proclaimed this group “the definition of American success.” Much of “Devil’s Night” was spent on Detective Wes Bentley realizing that — no. Yes? NO. YES! — most of the people he encounters at hotel sweet home are, in fact, already dead. The hot tip comes from a trickle of real blood (but is anything real?) seeping through the ceiling of his master murder suite, as just upstairs the ghost of Hazel Evers (Mare Winningham) attempts in vain to scrub out the sins of her past. Our killer detective connects her son Albert’s 1925 abduction to the Wineville chicken coop murders on his work computer. It suddenly dawns on him: How is a woman that old still brilliantly red-haired and washing blood out of sheets today? But whatever. He’ll worry about that later. It’s just so rare to find a friend who shares your own experience: “like you’re living in a walking nightmare.” The detective promptly gets drunk at the Liz Taylor Lounge instead of getting the hell out of that insane hotel for good. And when Lily Rabe dances in to Natalie Merchant’s “Carnival” (the song Aileen Wuornos requested at her own funeral), it’s tough not to be turned on. A personalized invitation and a free tux on his bed for the soiree? Yeah, sure, why not? The detective is IN.
Up at the dinner party for past and future murderers, though, his absinthe-induced hallucinations keep him drifting between two of the worst sides of himself. Most of the time he’s pensive, sleepy Charlie Sheen, but sometimes he segues into aggressive, coked-up Charlie Sheen, squirming threateningly in his tufted chair and brandishing his handcuffs or gun. Which Sheen is he, really? Is life a Sheen? Why has he been invited here? If he can’t even tell the difference between imagination and reality, who’s to say he isn’t committing those Ten Commandment murders himself? No one’s ever going to help Detective Wes Bentley grapple with these difficult questions, but his trusty bartender Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare) and guardian devil in a leopard print coat, Hypodermic Sally (Sarah Paulson), do their best to distract and soothe him during his blurry process of self-discovery. “I came in the room, and you were alone, crying,” Sally insists after dessert (a mass stabbing). “Have you been drinking?” Please. We all saw you lure in that dorky finance guy with your beautiful hair!
The protector of lost souls is the biggest murder-baiter of them all. Meanwhile, Lady Gaga would like to present some stylish facial netting featuring giant clown zits for your pleasure.
Hats off, though: It’s time to get down to ancient-blood-virus business. After finally removing the ghastly beige beret from Chloe Sevigny’s head, the Countess slices open her gushing breast of eternal life to feed the newest member of her don’t-call-them-vampires community: Dr. Alex! Having officially reconnected with her creepy little old man son (who drank the blood of their poor family dog), Holden’s real mom shall be infused with vitality and bereft of non-couture millinery forever. One small catch, though: She’s now the Countess’ servant.
Eh. Chloe can handle it. Props to this show for taking every chance it gets to showcase the natural creepiness of Lady Gaga on scales both small and large.
Really? No one noticed the modern-day witch leading the little boy away? Also: How about "Beachcombing Straggler" as a last-minute costume idea?
Kidnapper Chic: Still Life With Cocktail Umbrella. Simple and glam. Like an ideal serial killer, you know? Keep it classy and don’t forget to check in next week.