American Horror Story: Hotel Starts Wednesday. What We Know so Far…

American Horror Story: Hotel premieres this Wednesday, October 7th at 10pm on FX. The story revolves around the sinister Hotel Cortez, which was inspired by old movies and the infamous Hotel Cecil in DTLA. According to horror blog Something Disgusting, the Hotel was “built in 1930 by the rich and charming but deeply psychotic James March (Evan Peters), the beautiful art-deco hotel is, in actuality, a labyrinthine structure built to hide March’s murderous activities (think dead ends, secret rooms, endless shafts).”

Hotel Cortez is now owned by The Countess (Lady Gaga), a bloodsucker with a nefarious plan and a passel of ten identical 8 year-old bloodsucking blonde children dressed like English schoolchildren. Creator Ryan Murphy wants to clarify that they are not vampires, but more like a “blood virus.”

There are two main villains this season —  a mysterious faceless rubber man known as The Addiction Demon, and The Ten Commandments Killer. For the always pivotal 2-part Halloween episode, Aileen Wurnos, portrayed by Lily Rabe (Nora Montgomery/Sister Mary Eunice, Misty Day), visits the Hotel to host an evil dinner party for detective John Lowe (Wes Bentley). As Ryan Murphy describes it, “The biggest serial killers of all time all come to the hotel. Gacey. Aileen…” The second part of the Halloween show features annoying Silver Lake hipsters, probably getting their comeuppance.

Hotel is being touted as dark, glamorous, and sexy. The sexiness is borne out by hints that The Countess takes on lovers, including the also blood-hungry Donovan (Matt Bomer), male model Tristan (Finn Wittrock) and Angela Bassett’s character, actress Ramona Royale. Creator Ryan Murphy has also reported that this season will contain their most disturbing scene yet, which will involve Sarah Paulson’s character, Hypodermic Sally, a drug addict who lives at the Hotel, Max Greenfield, a junkie who shows up in the first episode, and The Addiction Demon.

The look is hardcore art deco, with some scenes looking like they were either shot in or inspired by Cicada in downtown LA and the Vista Theater in Los Feliz. The set itself is enormous. According to Wikipedia, “production designer Mark Worthington [built] two stories on a soundstage, along with a working elevator and stairway.” There is also an S&M vibe, which barely showed up in Murder House’s black latex suit, and came into bloom in Elsa Mars’ Freak Show flashbacks. It comes into full fruition here with Ramona Royale leading a slave down the hallway on a leash. An upstairs/downstairs design is also hinted at with a filthy and creepy laundry room shot.

Much to the fans’ disappointment, Hotel is the first season of AHS without Jessica Lange. Ryan Murphy has said she will return in a future season. At the ComicCon panel this past summer, it was intimated that Jessica Lange is taking a year off. Kathy Bates will return for this 13-episode season as Iris, who runs the hotel. Iris does crossword puzzles, hates  Hypodermic Sally and is close to Elizabeth Taylor, a bartender played by Denis O’Hare. Other beloved returning cast members include Emma Roberts,  Chloë Sevigny, and Mare Winningham. Besides Lady Gaga, another exciting new addition to the American Horror Story family is Naomi Campbell, who will play a fashion editor.

Creator Ryan Murphy has said on various occasions that there is a grand design, and all of the seasons are linked. The connection is validated by the appearance of the character Pepper in both Asylum and Freak Show. Hotel will have a connection to Murder House,   whose realtor Marcy (Christine Estabrook) will make an appearance. You will also see other characters from past seasons visiting Hotel Cortez. As a result, there will probably be a lot of complex conspiracy theories as the seasons begin to merge. So ring for the bellhop and prepare yourself for some serious frights. Don’t forget to check under the bed.


  • Kathy Bates as Iris
  • Sarah Paulson as Hypodermic Sally
  • Evan Peters as Mr. James March
  • Wes Bentley as Detective John Lowe
  • Matt Bomer as Donovan
  • Chloë Sevigny as Alex Lowe
  • Denis O’Hare as Liz Taylor
  • Cheyenne Jackson as Will Drake
  • Angela Bassett as Ramona Royale
  • Lady Gaga as Elizabeth/The Countess

Sources: Wikipedia, Ryan Murphy, 2015 ComicCon AHS/Scream Queens panel, and an unbelievable amount of Youtube watching. Here is the most intense teaser of all:

Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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