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Arts and Entertainment

What We Know About The New L.A.-Based Season Of 'American Horror Story'

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The new American Horror Story trailer is out, taking us down the halls of a strange, beautiful hotel. Here's what we know about the latest installment of this creepy show, set this season in Los Angeles.

FX anthology series American Horror Story: Hotel revolves around Detective John Lowe (Wes Bentley) who is on the case of the Ten Commandments Killer. His investigation brings Lowe and his wife, Alex (Chloe Sevigny), to the Hotel Cortez in downtown Los Angeles, which is owned by deadly Countess (Lady Gaga).

AHS' first season, Murder House, was also set in Los Angeles, revolving around a family that moves into a house full of dark surprises. Just as Murder House drew from several real-life elements—like a grisly tour based on Los Angeles' 'Dearly Departed' tour company, the Manson murders on Cielo Drive and the unsolved murder of the Black Dahlia—so will Hotel. Specifically, Hotel will draw parallels to downtown Los Angeles' infamous Cecil Hotel. We will also see a callback to Murder House in the form of Marcy, the realtor who sold the horrible house to an ill-fated family of that season.

Set to the sultry Brodinski track "Bury Me," the new trailer shows some series regulars, as well as some new faces, lurking in the halls of the treacherous Hotel Cortez.

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Here's who we're going to meet in Hotel:

  • Detective John Lowe and his wife Alex Lowe come to the hotel because John is investigating the Ten Commandments Killer, a serial killer who has a Biblical inclination in his crimes. This reminds us of Dexter's Doomsday Killer or Kevin Spacey in Se7en.
  • Lady Gaga will play Elizabeth, or the Countess, who apparently feasts on blood, but isn't a vampire. AHS' co-creator Ryan Murphy likened her addiction to "hemophilia," which would translate to a love of blood. This seems like a clear allusion to Countess Elizabeth Bathory, a countess in Hungary in the 1500s who was also a prolific serial killer. If you believe the legends, she used to bathe in the blood of young women because she thought it would preserve her youth. Gaga's Countess also wears some pretty intense gloves.

  • Sarah Paulson returns as Hypodermic Sally, a junkie who lives in the hotel.
  • Kathy Bates will play Iris, the manager of the hotel.
  • Lily Rabe will play real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos, who murdered seven men between 1989 and 1990. Wuornos murdered all of her victims in Florida, so it's unclear how that story line will connect with the show, though it's been hinted that this will be part of a Halloween episode where several notorious serial killers have dinner.
  • Angela Bassett will play the sultry Ramona Royale, a Hollywood film star who was once a lover of the Countess'.
  • Naomi Campbell will appear as Claudia, a Vogue editor who stays at the hotel.
  • Matt Bomer plays Donovan, Iris' son and another of the Countess' lovers.
  • Also involved in this bizarre love triangle—rhombus?—is Tristan (Finn Wittrock), a model who the Countess seduces.
  • Denis O'Hare plays an employee of the hotel bar named Liz Taylor. True Blood fans will remember him as Southern vampire Russell Edgington.
  • Cheyenne Jackson plays Will Drake, a New York fashion designer who comes to the hotel to be inspired.
  • Max Greenfield plays Gabriel, a junkie who stays at the hotel.
  • Evan Peters returns, but not in the present day. He plays James March, the founder of the hotel, in flashbacks to its nefarious beginnings in the 1930s.
  • There's also going to be a killer called the Addiction Demon who has no eyes or mouth, but who does wield a drill-bit dildo. Okay, that really reminds us of Se7en. Maybe this guy?

The Hotel Itself:

In real life, the hotel is actually a six-story set on the FOX lot, but the lore goes much deeper.

The Hotel Cortez is described as a 1930s Art Deco hotel, but designed as a maze with secret chambers and dead ends. This could be a nod to H.H. Holmes, a Chicago serial killer who built the World's Fair Hotel in 1893. His hotel was later dubbed a "murder castle," for its maze of rooms where he tortured and killed employees, guests and his own lovers. (Side note: There's an upcoming Martin Scorcese film based on Holmes' life called The Devil in the White City, starring Leonardo DiCaprio).

However, you can't talk about creepy L.A. hotels without mentioning The Cecil, located downtown at 5th and Main. It's since been rebranded 'Stay on Main,' and undergone some remodeling, but that hasn't erased its strange and terrifying past. In 2013, the body of 21-year-old Canadian tourist Elisa Lam was discovered in a water tank on the roof after she'd been missing for several days. The water tank was only checked after hotel guests reported funny smelling and tasting water. Surveillance video from that night showed Lam behaving bizarrely in an elevator, making strange hand gestures. Series creator Ryan Murphy said that he had watched the surveillance footage of Lam in the elevator while conceptualizing the season.

There was a surveillance video that went around two years ago that showed a girl getting into an elevator in a hotel that was said to be haunted … and she was never seen again.

The Cecil was also once home to two serial killers at separate times: Richard Ramirez, the Nightstalker, and Jack Unterweger, an Austrian serial killer who stayed there when he visited Los Angeles.

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American Horror Story: Hotel will premiere on FX on October 7.

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