American Horror Story showrunner Ryan Murphy confirmed early this morning at the Television Critics’ Association press tour, that the upcoming series in the franchise, subtitled Hotel, will be inspired by the death of Canadian student Elisa Lam at a Californian hotel in 2013.
Ultimately ruled as accidental, the circumstances surrounding her untimely death are mysterious. Elisa was found drowned in a water tank on the roof of the Hotel Cecil in California, however, a disturbing elevator surveillance video of her allegedly taken right before her death shows bizarre behaviour that still remains unexplained. Some have said it was due to the girl’s bipolar disorder, others allege that it was drug use, and some even cite paranormal involvement. The latter theory, we’ll assume, is where Murphy will be taking his inspiration.
Perhaps most interesting, and pertinent to the show, is the Hotel Cecil’s shady past. The hotel, since rebranded as Stay on Main, has reportedly housed several serial killers throughout its history including Richard Ramirez in 1985 and Jack Unterweger in 1991. Perhaps most interestingly, Elizabeth Short, a.k.a. The Black Dahlia, was last seen at the hotel before her murder in 1947. Murphy revealed recently that all seasons of American Horror Story are set in the same universe, so this would give Hotel a pretty cool connection to Season 1’s Haunted House – where, if you remember, Mena Suvari played her.
At the press conference, several of the characters from the upcoming season were also teased. Lady Gaga’s character was revealed as Elizabeth, the hotel’s owner and a “very wealthy social doyenne who is consumed with art and fashion and people and she has a nefarious plan that is revealed in the first episode and plays out over the course of the season.” Sarah Paulson is back to play Sally, a drug addict who lives at the hotel. Angela Bassett is playing an actress (I’m guessing Bassett’s terrible/hammy acting abilities will come in handy for this character) who doesn’t live at the hotel, but frequents it a lot and has a relationship with Elizabeth. Kathy Bates plays Iris, who runs the hotel. Other returning actors include Chloë Sevigny, Matt Bomer, and Finn Wittrock (yay!). However, Murphy also revealed that mid-way through the season will see the return of some familiar faces from previous seasons so I’m sure we’ll probably see the likes of Taissa Farmiga, Jamie Brewer, and yes Jessica Lange.
All in all, I’m pretty excited to see how this season pans out. What’s been severely lacking overall since Season 1 is the horror, the scares, the creepiness. This season’s setting gives way for all that to come back. Stuck in a haunted hotel? That’s the stuff of nightmares. Let’s be having you!
American Horror Story: Hotel starts on October 7th on FX.