The Mother Monster is still in charge at Hotel Cortez. So, it’s only fitting that she play the owner of the establishment, an elegant, mysterious woman entitled the countess. The California-based hotel is the new set for the fifth season of “American Horror Story.”
Hotel Cortez is an old, historical hotel in California. With a vast dark lobby, lavish oversized chandeliers and creepy silence, this may not be the place for you if you’re planning on a peaceful stay, especially if you plan on staying in room 64. That’s the one to watch out for considering almost all of the murders and torture that occurred in the first episode were in this room. This room was also connected to a side plot in which a police officer investigating a murder gets a call from the supposed murderer telling him that he’s staying in that very room.
Such as the nature of the show, not much about the characters is given just yet. Much of the development of characters and of interconnected relationships will all unfold and unravel throughout the season. However, there are a few relationships that are already shown. For example, the desk clerk that runs the hotel is an older woman named Iris (Kathy Bates). Iris has a son named Donovan (Matt Bomer), who is now Elizabeth’s lover. However, Iris hates Sally (Sarah Paulson) because Sally got her son hooked on drugs. The hatred is mutual and it can be a little much to take in from the start.
This is the show’s first season without actress Jessica Lange, who has not only starred on the show since the first season, but has become a fan favorite. According to an article in Entertainment Weekly, Lange has gone back to Broadway to be in the spring 2016 showing of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” In addition, AHS co-creator Ryan Murphy has been talking to Lange in the hopes that she will return to the show. “She wants to come back,” he says. “We just need to come up with something.”
Another star to ascend to the hotel is supermodel Naomi Campbell. According to Popsugar, Campbell’s character is named Claudia. She’s an editor at Vogue who thinks she’s indestructible and nothing’s going to hurt her. Just like in every other season there is a monster who, before being unmasked around the end of the season, kills a bunch of people in his spare time. This monster hasn’t shown up just yet, but promotional images and incidents from the first episode suggest that it might be something that birthed itself from a mattress or some kind of fabric.
There are clear references to the 1980 movie “The Shining” which is about a family who stays in a haunted hotel. In the movie, the room to look out for is 237 just like the AHS 64. The carpeting of the hotel in AHS is very similar to “The Shining” down to the pattern and color scheme.
This was an eventful episode for the first of the season and leaves the audience wanting more. There’s already a mess of a relationship between a number of the characters and they are all so closely connected that it’s almost inevitable that it destroys one of them. There are a number of people, including kids, who are trapped at the hotel in one way or another so that begs the questions, how did these people end up here and what is going to happen to them? What does the countess have to do with any of this and how much is she actually in control of? This episode really set the scene for the bigger things to happen later on in “American Horror Story” season four.