News

7 Things To Expect From American Horror Story: Hotel

Look Out for a Shining Reference In Episode One

by | October 5, 2015 | Comments

Between the sinister child spirits, the blood-stained sheets and drug-addled residents with names like Hypodermic Sally, a stay at American Horror Story’s  Hotel Cortez would probably earn the worst Trip Advisor rating of all time. But for these same reasons and many more, viewers can’t wait to check in.

Can you blame them? Look at this cast list: Finn Wittrock, Evan Peters, Cheyenne Jackson, Denis O’Hare, Chloe Sevigny, Matt Bomer, Wes Bentley, Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, and Sarah Paulson have all returned for the fifth season of FX’s horror anthology franchise, joining Lady Gaga in an establishment that Bates’s hotel manager Iris describes as a building with “a heart as black as the ace of spades.” 

At some point, guest stars such as Naomi Campbell, Lily Rabe, Darren Criss and Max Greenfield also will drop by the Cortez. What’s unclear is whether they’ll leave the place alive.  American Horror Story: Hotel creators and executive producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk didn’t reveal much to reporters at a recent press conference, but here are  seven details that may stoke your excitement for the upcoming season – which could be the bloodiest yet.


The Basics: Who’s Checking In… and Who’s Checking Them Out?

American Horror Story: Hotel’s Cortez is owned by Gaga’s mysterious Countess, a gorgeous socialite who maintains her good looks with a steady diet of blood and sex. For the latter, she draws upon multiple sources, including her long-term lover Donovan (Bomer); a male model named Tristan (Wittrock); a film star named Ramona Royale (Bassett); and, Murphy told a group of reporters, a fashion designer named Will Drake (Jackson). Bates’s Iris is Donovan’s overbearing mother, and O’Hare plays the gender-bending Liz Taylor, who works in the Cortez’s Blue Parrot Lounge.

In keeping with one of the season’s main themes, addiction, Paulson portrays a living ragdoll of a woman known as Hypodermic Sally. Wes Bentley’s character, John Lowe, is a detective who visits the hotel as part of an investigation into a series of grisly murders perpetuated by the Ten Commandments Killer. In a move that would only make sense in a horror movie, John brings along his wife Alex (Sevigny) for the fun.


Goodbye New Girl’s Schmidt, Hello Gabriel the Junkie

The most surprising vision may come with Greenfield’s guest appearance. Murphy said the New Girl actor lost 30 pounds for the role and got his waist size down to a 27 by living on celery water. “He’s really committed to it,” Murphy said, adding, “Probably the most disturbing scene we’ve ever done, he is at the center of [it].”


Hotel’s Horrors, and Horror Tropes

Traveler tip: You probably shouldn’t ask for a bed equipped with Magic Fingers at the Cortez. That previously mentioned theme of addiction? It manifests as an entity known as the Addiction Demon, a monster that terrorizes its victims with, among other things, a metal dildo.

Another theme that Falchuk mentioned is that of insecurity, one of several commonalities Hotel shares with American Horror Story’s Murder House season.

“There is that feeling of, like, when you go home, wherever your bed is, wherever your safe space is, it’s the least safe place you can be in the entire world,” Falchuk recently told critics.


Haunted by the Past

As in previous seasons, Hotel presents part of its story in flashback, revealing Cortez’s history through the tale of its devious builder James March (Peters).  Murphy wanted to establish the hotel as a reflection of present day Los Angeles.

“Our hotel was built in 1930, and is sort of an art deco masterpiece that has fallen into ruin that once was where everybody in town went,” Murphy explained. “Then it felt out of favor… and now it’s sort of like a skid row, derelict sort of palace. It’s really also a rumination on, I feel, sort of the loss of culture in Los Angeles, but also about how Los Angeles is coming back.”

Murphy also based his fictional construct on familiar places. “I was always very obsessed with the Hotel Cecil that is right downtown [in Los Angeles], which is where the Night Stalker was rumored to have stayed, and where they had the video of the girl getting in the elevator” only to never be seen again, he said.

The executive producer added, “We do a very loving nod to the film The Shining in the first episode, that’s sort of a wink and a nod.”


Connections to Previous Seasons

American Horror Story’s fifth season is the first that follows the revelation that all of the seasons are connected. It also represents the first time that the series has returned to a city to tell a new tale. “So of course some characters who were in Murder House, it only makes sense that some of them would probably have had some relationship to this hotel,” Murphy teased.


Real-Life Characters   

In addition to announcing Rabe’s return as Aileen Wuornos in the two-part Halloween episode titled “Devil’s Night,” Murphy hinted that many more send-ups of real-life figures will pass through the Cortez this season. “The show has always played with that. I think it’s really fun,” he said. “The hotel is set in L.A., so we’re playing with a lot of historical L.A. figures, or people who have had some connection to L.A. come through. But I always love taking a real person a putting a spin on it, which is sort of what we’re doing with the Lily/Aileen thing.”


Less Music, More Murder

Oddly, though Hotel stars one of pop’s most celebrated divas, Murphy said there would not be any musical episodes or interludes along the lines of Stevie Nicks’s Coven cameo or Jessica Lange’s colorful numbers during season four. “Jessica loved [singing] so much that every season, she said, ‘I want to sing again, I want to sing again!’” Murphy explained. “I thought for the Freak Show season it made sense, and I wanted to do sort of a Baz Luhrmann thing with it. But I think we’ve done that, and we’re not going to do it again.”

Instead, Murphy plans to use Gaga’s monstrous appeal to delight and horrify – and we won’t have to wait long to witness just how ruthless the Countess can be. “Everybody who does the show has to start with something disturbing and awful right away.”


En español: Read this article in Spanish at Tomatazos.com.

Tag Cloud

APB Vudu Awards travel Rom-Com Columbia Pictures The Walking Dead Lucasfilm Britbox CMT Winter TV Trophy Talk Superheroe Amazon Prime TIFF CW Seed AMC binge game show Disney Plus social media Binge Guide Country diversity Red Carpet Cannes Bravo Amazon Prime Video Music south america based on movie Spike Pixar zero dark thirty Film Festival San Diego Comic-Con boxoffice RT History Schedule E! Crackle TNT TCA romance Star Trek Comic Book stand-up comedy Fall TV IFC Films USA Elton John war aliens TV Land vampires HBO renewed TV shows television VH1 ABC blaxploitation Spectrum Originals psychological thriller Sundance Now award winner The Arrangement Quiz CBS All Access halloween Superheroes Toys supernatural Musicals Creative Arts Emmys Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Set visit American Society of Cinematographers DGA Walt Disney Pictures Reality OWN Mystery National Geographic discovery Awards Tour LGBT Disney streaming service Hulu sports Pet Sematary miniseries See It Skip It series Polls and Games NBC ghosts kids crossover PaleyFest witnail X-Men Drama Marathons 2015 natural history dragons latino President Trailer MSNBC Countdown revenge TruTV Pop Esquire TV renewals Oscars Extras WGN canceled TV shows Watching Series Christmas LGBTQ doctor who ratings elevated horror strong female leads Grammys NYCC ITV Interview SDCC BET TV festivals 20th Century Fox cinemax Podcast Emmys Mindy Kaling cults Amazon First Look DC streaming service Ellie Kemper composers Heroines Animation Horror Food Network facebook Apple Apple TV+ green book justice league MTV cancelled TV shows casting movies mutant Tomatazos GLAAD game of thrones crime thriller dramedy HBO Max Valentine's Day spider-man 21st Century Fox Mudbound psycho GoT Premiere Dates sequel medical drama Rocketman Acorn TV slashers Television Academy Nominations Western Kids & Family zombies Writers Guild of America what to watch golden globes Shudder robots historical drama WarnerMedia Photos Emmy Nominations joker Film Comics on TV anime spinoff Holidays adaptation Disney dceu Comedy Fox News TBS Lifetime Dark Horse Comics talk show SundanceTV Ghostbusters New York Comic Con Spring TV FOX BBC America police drama science fiction First Reviews Certified Fresh crime Opinion Disney Channel Marvel El Rey YouTube Red SXSW DC Universe TCA 2017 FX cats ABC Family Character Guide 24 frames 007 2018 Best and Worst USA Network book 2017 Super Bowl Women's History Month singing competition zombie Calendar anthology IFC Tarantino harry potter Chernobyl comiccon Paramount Anna Paquin TCM political drama teaser spain Musical Election Year in Review GIFs Brie Larson 45 Netflix Star Wars batman RT21 Thanksgiving cooking Ovation BBC hispanic Rocky cancelled TV series Pride Month Rock cancelled richard e. Grant cancelled television History Logo Sundance Peacock The CW Box Office comic Cartoon Network Infographic PBS Mary Tyler Moore Paramount Network Comedy Central Arrowverse Sony Pictures disaster crime drama Mary Poppins Returns Starz toy story CNN sitcom Lionsgate Video Games Shondaland Teen Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt MCU CBS Action YA period drama jamie lee curtis adventure theme song E3 thriller children's TV TLC A&E canceled Showtime foreign docudrama Universal finale quibi nature Adult Swim true crime DirecTV Nickelodeon hist Pirates The Witch Epix animated Sneak Peek 2016 YouTube Reality Competition Trivia Nat Geo Syfy Fantasy Black Mirror 71st Emmy Awards Sci-Fi streaming FXX transformers cars spy thriller technology Summer video 2019 Masterpiece Family Captain marvel free movies mockumentary Winners Tumblr DC Comics ESPN YouTube Premium unscripted politics Stephen King Martial Arts Freeform space tv talk serial killer spanish language Mary poppins Warner Bros. biography Biopics VICE cops Cosplay Song of Ice and Fire dc