There are a few things that people look forward to every year in the lead up to Halloween - pumpkin spice everything, corn mazes and changing leaves, and a new season of TV's freakiest horror-fest, "American Horror Story".

In its 5th season, the AHS franchise continues in anthology fashion. Instead of a continuing story line each season, every Fall we get a whole new AHS world, but with many of the same actors.

This year's setting is a sprawling, art deco big city hotel.

The show doesn't pull any punches. In the first 5 minutes, you pretty much know if it's for you or not. If you do decide to stick around for the whole hour-plus and check in to the hotel, you may need therapy after.

The show is brutal. It's profane, explicit, and gory. If this was a movie, there's no doubt that it would be a solid "R" rating. But, if you've been on the "American Horror Story" ride before, it's to be expected.

I'm going in with high hopes. In five seasons, AHS has been hit and miss. I thought that the first season was pretty close to perfect, the second ("Asylum") was good, the third ("Coven") was a ridiculous mess, and last year's installment ("Freak Show") was a little unbalanced, with some shining moments and some pointless digressions. I'm hoping that this season is more "hit" and less "miss".

The first episode of "Hotel" already has the feel of season one. It feels moody and claustrophobic, even with the cavernous setting. There were a few outstanding moments (Lady Gaga is elegant and bold as a maybe-vampire), and a few moments that were a little too obvious (spooky twin toddlers at the ends of a long hallway? Hello, "The Shining" wants its scary hotel kids back).

It's too early to tell which way the show is going to go; will it be a horror masterpiece, or a gaudy, overdone gore-fest that achieves shock value and not much else?

There are already a good half-dozen story lines to keep track of, so it definitely won't be for the casual viewer. If you're going to check in to the Hotel, you'd better be prepared for an extended stay.

"American Horror Story: Hotel" is on FX Wednesday nights at 10.

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