When it comes to the American Horror Story franchise, you can always bet that Ryan Murphy has been inspired by real-life cases for each of new season and story. And, things are no different for American Horror Story: Hotel. The hotel itself, Hotel Cortez, is loosely based on the Hotel Cecil, a Los Angeles staple, which had a disturbing case of a young woman named Elisa Lam who was caught on hotel surveillance video talking to herself and and behaving erratically before disappearing until hotel workers found her body days later. So, with a real-life inspiration for the hotel, which American Horror Story: Hotel characters are based on real people?
For one, this season is turning up the gore factor, which means there will be quite a few real-life serial killers checking into Hotel Cortez. When you have someone as violent as Lady Gaga's character Elizabeth basically running the show, it's not hard to see why more murderers would want to join the party. But, then again, there are also a few characters who may not be directly playing real people, but are absolutely inspired by real people. And, because this is Ryan Murphy, it's likely that the characters we've been introduced to or that have been announced already are just the tip of the iceberg. There are bound to be new real characters constantly popping up throughout the season, but here's what we know so far.
1. Countess Elizabeth
Lady Gaga's character Elizabeth, is likely adapted from the real-life Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who is considered the most prolific female serial killer of all time. She was a countess in Europe who abducted young women, tortured them, killed them and then allegedly bathed in and drank their blood in order to keep herself young. The vampirism already displayed in Gaga's Elizabeth makes it pretty clear that Bathory's legend will be heavily used in AHS: Hotel.
2. Aileen Wuornos
She has yet to appear, but American Horror Story regular Lily Rabe will be checking into Hotel Cortez as the real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Her name may not sound familiar but you've definitely heard of her; her real story was told in the film Monster, where she was portrayed by Charlize Theron who won an Oscar for the role. Wuornos was a prostitute who murdered seven of her Johns and claimed self-defense for each. She was eventually tried, convicted, and executed.
3. Jeffrey Dahmer
Ryan Murphy recently announced that Fringe and Arrow star Seth Gabel would be joining the AHS: Hotel cast as the notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in the upcoming two-part Halloween episode which also includes Rabe as Aileen Wuornos. Dahmer has been portrayed in the media before as well, by Jeremy Renner in a film from the 2000s, and is best known for eating his victims.
4. Mr. March
While Evan Peters won't be playing the actual man himself, Mr. March is loosely adapted from HH Holmes, the man who created the "torture hotel" in Chicago which was basically designed just so that Holmes could kill people in different rooms of the hotel. Mr. March is the original Hotel Cortez owner, so the similarities are already obvious.
5. John Wayne Gacy
If we're to take the American Horror Story: Hotel preview by face value, it's entirely possible that another real-life serial killer John Wayne Gacy could be in the new season. Gacy was a serial killer who would paint his face up like a clown, much like Twisty the Killer from American Horror Story: Freak Show. Could it be possible that Twisty himself is back for AHS: Hotel rather than the real-life killer from which he was adapted? It wouldn't be out of the depth of imagination considering everything in the anthology series is connected somehow.
These true-to-life characters are likely just the start for an already-gory season, and I can't wait to see who else Ryan Murphy has check in to the Cortez.
Images: Suzanne Tenner, Frank Ockenfels (2)/FX