Here's What That One Horrifying 'American Horror Story' Scene Was All About

Ryan Murphy called it "the most disturbing" thing they've done so far.
Hotel Cortez is not kind to you, Max Greenfield.
Hotel Cortez is not kind to you, Max Greenfield.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead for the premiere of "American Horror Story: Hotel."

Now that "AHS" creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have properly scarred us all, let's talk about that one bit that I can't stop seeing when I close my eyes: Max Greenfield's drug-addled Gabriel, raped in a spectacularly gruesome fashion by a waxy monster.

If you've been keeping up with "AHS" spoilers, you could sort of see this one coming. The pale and faceless Addiction Demon, Entertainment Weekly reported back in August, would join the ranks of the Rubber Man or Twisty as this season's most mysteriously deranged character -- wielding a "conical drill-bit dildo." You'd be forgiven, though, for failing to envision just how he'd use it on screen.

So, back to our questions: What? Why???

According to Ryan Murphy, the demon is a metaphor. 

"He is a representation of that and what people go through fighting addiction," Murphy told EW, describing the scene as the series' "most disturbing" so far. "It’s not done lightly or blithely. I think it’s very powerful and strong." 

Lady Gaga echoed that explanation as she discussed this season's central themes with The Hollywood Reporter earlier this week. Season 5, she said, is all about addiction.

"What’s interesting about this season is that you see the dichotomy of the two worlds: You have the hotel world, which feels decidedly like the Ryan Murphy world, and then you have the outside world," Gaga said. "It’s addiction as the public sees it versus how it really is and how that all plays into each other." The gripping reality of full-blown addiction is, surely, very painful. 

And while drug abuse provides a convenient example to kick off the season, "Hotel" will explore other variants, too.

"The way that we can all be addicts in different ways that are detrimental to our health is a big part of this season," five-time "AHS" star Sarah Paulson told The Hollywood Reporter. "Whether it be love addictions, sex addictions, drugs addictions, alcohol addictions." 

As for Greenfield, it's pretty clear this was the "emotionally terrifying" scene he alluded to in a red carpet interview with PopSugar about the premiere. "I can say that I'm a different person for having shot the show," he explained. But he knew what a challenge it would be. 

"There was a moment of pause, and then I was like, ‘OK. Let’s do it,'" the actor told Vulture on doing the scene.

"[Murphy] wanted it to be graphic, and I think he wanted it to be intense and to shock people." 

Mission accomplished, guys.


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