If you’re lookin’ for a good, ol’ fashioned horror show, this latest season Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s American Horror Story anthology series might be the one for you. At Friday’s Television Critic Association’s press tour panel, limited—but still very informative and interesting!—details were revealed about the upcoming installment. Its forthcoming iteration, AHS:Hotel, has a veritable smorgasbord of impressive actors and scenarios to whet our horror-comedy appetites. Oh and there was even a sweet poster reveal, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Fans of the highly acclaimed first season will be happy to know that Hotel harkens back to those more classically horrific, primal fears—with many of the characters dealing with addiction issues. But perhaps the most exciting reveal was that, starting at around episode 6, old characters from past seasons will return to the American Horror Story universe, further connecting the standalone seasons in a way they teased at with Freak Show. Said Murphy at the panel, the “characters are all connected.”
As for who those characters are this season, there’s a LOT of them. So here goes the breakdown:
- Lady Gaga is the star of this installment, playing an evil character named Elizabeth—the hotel’s owner. Said Murphy of the pop star’s part: “She is a very wealthy social doyenne who is consumed with art, fashion, and people and has a nefarious plan that is revealed in the first episode that plays out over the season.”
- Kathy Bates‘ character, Iris, runs the hotel for Elizabeth. “I have relationships with Matt Bomer and Wes [Bentley],” explained Bates.” and I can’t stand [Sarah] Paulson[‘s character]; I hate you.” On the other hand, “Liz Taylor and I have a very close relationship.”
- Speaking of Elizabeth Taylor, that is a character played, surprisingly enough, by Denis O’Hare. A barhop that works closely with Iris, O’Hare explained that he’s “not actually playing the person but someone inspired by her awesomeness.” He added, “I shaved my head—and other body parts—for the part.”
- Angela Bassett is Ramona Royal, an actress that frequents the hotel even though she has a “real nasty relationship” with Gaga and Finn Wittrock’s characters.
- Speaking of Finn Wittrock, the actor is slated to embody male model Tristan Duffy, an addict on the prowl who finds his “biggest high in Lady Gaga [her character] and they have a lot to do together.”
- Matt Bomer will play Donovan, a hotel occupant with close ties to Gaga, Bates, and Wittrock’s characters. “He has very interesting relationships with the lady folk in his life,” explained Bomer.
- Perhaps the most playfully named character—or at least tied in second place with Elizabeth Taylor— is Hypodermic Sally, Sarah Paulson‘s character. Dark and devious unlike anyone she’s ever played before, Sally “hates Iris in a rather ancient way for reasons that will be revealed quickly.” She lives at the hotel.
- Wes Bentley plays the wife of Chloe Sevigny’s character—a Detective John Lowe, in fact. He checks into the hotel to go undercover in his investigation of some particularly dark and twisted murders.
- As for Chloe Sevigny‘s Alex Lowe? She’s a mother and a doctor dealing with “a great loss” according to the actress.
- Rounding out the cast who was at the panel would be Cheyenne Jackson, otherwise known as Will Drake on the show. Recently moved from New York to Los Angeles, he’s a desperate fathe-type and fashion icon hoping “to creatively re-establish himself,” he explained.
With the rest of the cast being far from slouches—including Emma Roberts, perennial Murphy favorites Evan Peters and Lily Rabe, as well as new-to-AHS Darren Criss, Max Greenfield, Richard T. Jones, and Twin Peaks‘ own Madchen Amick—it’s sure to be a real walloper of a season, thematically speaking. But Murphy’s also gone on record that this season will be far more akin to its first—Murder House—in psychology than previous iterations.
“This season harkens back to the first season and is much more rooted in the honest, primal fears as the first season was,” Murphy said, later adding, “While I feel like the first season trapped you in that house, the second season was very oppressive in the asylum, [in this season] the horror is sneaking out of the hotel.”
Oh and just for good measure, here’s that poster we promised:
Are you looking forward to the next season of AHS when it premieres on October 7th on FX? Let’s hear it in the comments!
Alicia Lutes is the Associate Editor of The Nerdist. Find her on Twitter—if you’re into that sort of silliness—@alicialutes.
Image Credit: FX