The Hotel Cortez is inspired by the Hotel Cecil which has a dark history which includes several suicides, murders, and was stayed at by serial killers Richard Ramirez a.k.a. the Night Stalker and Jack Unterweger. The Hotel Cecil made news recently with the mysterious death of Elisa Lam (to whom season five is dedicated).
The season one house is a real location at 1120 Westchester Place in Los Angeles known as the Rosenheim Mansion. It was built in 1908 by architect Alfred Rosenheim as his own residence; Rosenheim was one of LA's most influential architects during the early 1900s. The house scenes in the pilot episode of "American Horror Story" were filmed on location at the Rosenheim Mansion, and then some of the house's interiors were replicated on a set. Exteriors continue to be filmed there on location.
Ryan Murphy and Jessica Lange became so close friends during season 1 that Murphy has consulted with the actress when writing the other characters. For example, Lange wanted to play a big drunk scene and sing in season 2 (therefore Sister Jude does these things), she also wanted to play an elegant woman wearing Chanel in season 3 (therefore Fiona dressed impeccably). Lange herself is also a photographer, and she was particularly attracted to the circus world, especially during the 50s. Hence the character of Elsa Mars, owner of a freak show.
The first season used horror film scores for its soundtrack, most noticeably the scores from "Bram Stoker's Dracula", "What Lies Beneath", "Psycho" and "Insidious". Also used the whistled "Twisted Nerve" from "Twisted Nerve". "Twisted Nerve" was also featured in Kill Bill. Season 2, Asylum, also featured scores from other movies such as "Carrie" and "Candyman".
In season 4 (Freak Show), characters sing songs that were released after 1952 (the time period in which Freak Show takes place). Many fans criticized and disliked this, but there is a deep and unique reason to this idea. Ryan Murphy has said in an interview that he picked songs that were made by artists who were known as or called themselves freaks. For example: David Bowie, Lana Del Rey, Nirvana, etc.
Within the season "Freak Show", the character Twisty the Clown was disliked by the National Clown Association of America for his inaccurate portrayal of clowns, and because he gave clowns a bad reputation.
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka were offered the roles of Chad and Patrick on season 1, but declined because Burtka didn't want to play a couple in constant fight shortly after A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011). He feared that people would think Harris and he were a troubled couple. They were both later featured in supporting roles during season 4.
The 'murder house' featured in the series is in fact called Rosenheim Mansion. It was also used as the Frat House location on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)'s Halloween special "Fear, Itself", in which the characters' fears manifest themselves.
Every scene involving Bette and Dot on season 4 required more than 10 hours to film, because it had to be repeated several times to film coverage and the interactions between Sarah Paulson, playing each time a different role, and the other actors.
In season five there is a sub plot revolving around "The chicken coop murders" which is based on actual events. Dennis O'Hare stars in this season as well as stars in the movie "Changeling" which is also based on " The chicken coop murders"
When it came time to announce the theme for the 6th season, FX admitted that they had been releasing fake promos and trailers that had nothing to do with each other to confuse people on what it was really about.
Dominique, the song we hear repeatedly during season 2, was interpreted by a Belgian nun called Soeur Sourire and was a big hit in Belgium, France and elsewhere during the 60's. She commited suicide with barbiturates on March 29 1985, because of financial problems. "Soeur Sourire" is French for "Sister Smile".
Throughout the subtitled season, "Coven", almost every episode features a song written by Stevie Nicks. Some songs include "Edge of Seventeen", "Sara" and "Rhiannon". The song is either from her career in Fleetwood Mac or her own solo career.
In Season 4, Kathy Bates adopts a thick Baltimore accent. To do this, she listened to interviews with Barbara Ann Mikulski, a United States senator from Maryland, and consulted a "Baltimorese" website.
Emma Roberts and Evan Peters, who have each played major roles in multiple seasons of American Horror Story, share more than just a professional relationship. They began dating in 2012, and on January 6th, 2014, it was officially confirmed by 'People Magazine [us]' that the couple had gotten engaged over the holidays. They later split, but in September 2015, it was confirmed they were together again.
Evan Peters revealed on a recent interview (June 2016) that he originally was going to play Tristan, but at the last minute Ryan Murphy offered him the role of Mr. March, who had to be slightly rewritten since it was supposed to be 40-year old.
When Hotel premiered, there was some online jokes of how much four of its actors, Cheyenne Jackson, Wes Bentley, Finn Wittrock and Matt Bomer, looked alike. When asked about this on an interview, Jackson said that the reason for this may be that the character of the Countess (Lady Gaga) found her first love in Valentino (Wittrock) and this was why she was attracted to men who reminded her of him somehow.
Kathy Bates, who stars in seasons three, four and five, starred in Misery, a horror film for which she won an Oscar. Jessica Lange was in contention for Bates' role in the film. They both costar in this horror anthology together.
Mare Winningham and Finn Wittrock were only credited as special guest stars in Season 5 even though they were in 11 and 9 of the 12 episodes. Angela Bassett, Cheyenne Jackson or Matt Bomer who were in the main cast appeared in fewer episodes and had smaller parts.
Ryan Murphy said the theme for season six would be revealed in season 1 which was the Piggy Man who briefly appeared and the word croatoan used in a ritual to ward off ghost which reveals Roanoke colony with the pig as a monster
The character 'Kit Walker' (AHS: Asylum: Season 2) shares the same name as the alter ego of Lee Falk's character, 'The Phantom' who has appeared in numerous books, short stories, comic strips, comic books, video games, films and television series.
Actor Chris Zylka was booked for a two-episode arc as a deaf, mute patient in the series' second season. However, Zylka was quietly dismissed from the show after refusing to shave his head for the role. Producers then wrote the role out in the wake of the actor's ouster.
It was reported that Eric Stonestreet was booked for a guest spot as a serial killer who shares scenes with Sarah Paulson's Lana Winters in Season 2, but the scenes were cut or left unaired for unknown reasons. A similar thing happened to Max Adler's role as Mr. Capshaw.
Jeanine Deckers, singer of the song "Dominique" heard in season 2 "Asylum", was mocked in french-speaking countries for her chorus where she repeats three times the end of the name "Dominique" (talking of Saint Dominic). In French, she was using a very bad slang swearword to say that "Dominique is having sex", making the joke on her even worse as the singer was a nun at the time of release (according to interviews of people who knew her, she didn't know of the slang interpretation even after the song hit the number one spot in many charts around the world). Still a popular slang word, the first letter of the word is used in the name of the most famous French hip-hop act of all times, "NTM". The last two letters of their acronym stand for "Ta Mere", "Your Mother".
The musical theme played throughout Season 4 (Freak Show) is taken from the opening notes of the song Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath. It is played an octave or two higher and on violins, however. It is also played during the ending credit sequence of each episode.
Season 5 is confirmed to have Lady Gaga star in the main role. The series will be called, American Horror Story: Hotel. The role marks her first recurring role and her first for television in which she did not play herself (other than her brief "Sopranos" appearance as a teenager).
The Rosenheim Mansion, actual location used for exterior shots is located 5 min (1.3 miles) from the home used for exterior shots of the HBO series 'Six Feet Under' which is an actual location, 2302 W 25th St Los Angeles, CA.
In season 5 episode 4 "Devil's Night": The song Carnival by Natalie Merchant plays when serial killer Aileen Wuornos (played by Lily Rabe) is first introduced. This song was requested by the real Aileen Wuornos to be played at her funeral after she was executed.
Season 2 is the highest rated season with an average of 8.477. The lowest rated season is season 5 with an avrage of 7.942. The other seasons as following; Season 1: 8.267 Season 2: 8.477 Season 3: 8.223 Season 4: 8.223 Season 5: 7.942 (As of September 2016)
Edward Phillipe Mott, Evan Peter's character from the Roanoke series, is distantly related to Dandy Mott, played by Finn Wittrock, in the Freakshow series. The connection is mentioned by the historian in Roanoke Chapter 5 when she says, "The house remained in the Mott trust for over a century, but it was always said madness ran in the family. The line ended in scandal when the last Mott died in south Florida in 1952." Freakshow took place in south Florida in 1952.
Oddly, Chester Creb's U.S. Army uniform does not have a Purple Heart ribbon, which is awarded for being wounded in combat. It does show he was a soldier with the 1st Infantry Division who received a Bronze Star. It is unknown if this was an oversight by the costume designer, or he lied about receiving a serious head wound to account for his growing insanity.
Adina Porter was credited as guest star in Season 6 even though she appeared in every episode. Cheyenne Jackson, Evan Peters or Denis O'Hare were in the main cast appeared in fewer episodes and had smaller parts.
Kathy Bates' horrible character in Coven, Delphine LaLaurie, was a real woman in the 1800's, known for her brutality towards slaves and believed to be a serial killer as depicted in the show. Unlike in the show, she was not killed (or made immortal, obviously) by a mob, but a mob did storm her house and she was forced to flee to France with her family, where it's speculated that she died many years later.
In the first season of the show, Evan Peters' character, Tate Langdon, stated that he used to run for the school track-team before his death. Peters later on portrayed the mutant speedster Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse.
In accordance with the rumors that the seasons are connected, one of the witches in Coven, Madison Montgomery (played by Emma Roberts) shares the same last name as the doctor who built the Murder House in the first season.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The character of Edward Mordrake who appears in Freakshow was mistakenly believed to have been an actual person, but has been revealed as a hoax. The hoax story goes: He was a 19th century aristocrat who was said to have suffered a form of Diprosopus. He had an extra face on the back of his head, which could neither eat nor speak out loud, although it was described as being able to laugh and cry. Edward reportedly begged doctors to have his "demon face" removed, claiming it "whispered" to him at night. No doctor would attempt the surgery. He later committed suicide at 23. However, this story has been proven to be false. Mordrake was discovered to have been the fictional creation of Charles Lotin Hildreth, who fabricated his story for a sensationalist article in the Boston Sunday Post in 1895.
Evan Peters' Freak Show character Jimmy Darling covers Nirvana's "Come As You Are" in "Test of Strength". Evan's Season One character Tate was a fan of Nirvana, and died on the same day as Kurt Cobain.
The opening credits to each season are said to have clues to the events that will unfold as the season moves on. Coven was the first to involve animation, while Freakshow was the first to be fully animated.
In Coven's finale, two fates are foreshadowed. Before the test begins, there is a scene where Myrtle states that it is the girls' last supper before one of them becomes the Supreme - the camera pans to Queenie and Cordelia, the latter of which becomes the Supreme; Myrtle also remarks that the "last meal" could be a literal last meal for one of them - the camera shows Myrtle looking at Misty, who dies and is unable to be resurrected.
All of the characters that Lily Rabe plays in have all died or are dead. The same applies to Emma Roberts, Frances Conroy, Dylan McDermott, Finn Wittrock, Connie Britton, Zachary Quinto and many other cast members.
In Freak Show Maggie Esmeralda's (Emma Roberts) death is foreshadowed in episode Edward Mordrake part 2 where Dandy Mott (Finn Wittrock) nearly saws her in half but fails. In a later episode she gets sawed in half by Chester (Neil Patrick Harris).
As of season 4, Sarah Paulson is the only main cast member whose character has not been killed off, or she has yet to play a ghost (not including fantasy sequences of Freak Show). Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Francis Conroy, Lily Rabe, and Denis O'Hare are considered part of the main cast and all five of them have played either a ghost or have been murdered in at least one season.
Many of the background Music Soundtracks in AHS "Hotel" are also used in the movie The Hunger (1983) starring David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve as two very old Vampires that bleed their victims using a small knife disguised as a necklace they wear around their necks. Many of their victims come from nightclubs much like Lady Gaga and her male partner in AHS "Hotel". There are other similarities from "The Hunger" as well!
During the 4th episode of season 5, James Patrick March holds the annual Devil's Night Soriee, the guest list including notrious American serial killers such as Alieen Wuornous, John Wayne Gacy, Richard Ramirez, Jeffery Dahmer and the Zodiac Killer. Interestingly enough, the actor John Carrol Lynch who plays Gacy in this episode, was in David Fincher's 2007 flim Zodiac, based on the Zodiac killings in Northern California in the late 1960's and 70's. Lynch played Arthur Leigh Allen, who was considered to be the most prominent suspect for the Zodiac Killer in the actual case of the murders.
In season 2, Episode 9 "The Coat Hanger" Brooke Smith plays Dr. Gardner; a psychiatrist who's patient is Bloody Face's son. Bloody Face and seemingly his son have a tendency to make home furnishings from the skin of women. Brooke Smith also played Catherine Martin in The Silence of the Lambs; a character who was kidnapped by Buffalo Bill - a villain who made home furnishings and clothes from the skin of women.
In the third season, Frances Conroy's character, Myrtle Snow, has two different colored eyes. After being burned at the stake, the first time she is resurrected by Lily Rabe's character Misty Day. When she first opens her eyes, her eyes are both blue.
During the zombie siege sequence from Season 3, Episode 5, Quennie jokes they're under attack from the "Army of Darkness". Later in the same episode, when Zoe lures the army from Nan and Luke, she goes for the workshed and grabs a chainsaw. These sequences could be a reference to the Evil Dead series.
Kathy Bates portays a mother in every season she is featured. In season 3 (Coven) she has three daughters, in season 4 (Freakshow) she is Jimmy Darling's (Evan Peters) mother, in season 5 (Hotel) she is Donovan's (Matt Bomer) mother and in season 6, she played "The Butcher", who was mother to Wes Bentley's character in the "My Roanoke Nightmare" segment.
Ashley Rickards has shared the small screen with Evan Peters (Tate) before, portraying his girlfriend on the drama One Tree Hill (2003). Here, however, she is a victim of his murderous rampage as opposed to a love interest.
Only a few characters have appeared in more than one season, but this trend is rapidly growing popular. They are Pepper (Asylum-Freak Show), Sister Mary Eunice McKee (Asylum-Freak Show), Dr. Arden/ Hans Grüper (Asylum-Freak Show),Queenie (Coven-Hotel), Dr. Charles Montgomery (Murder House-Hotel), Marcy (Murder House-Hotel), Billie Dean Howard (Murder House-Hotel), and Lana Winters (Asylum-Roanoke)
In season one, if you died in the house you remained in the house, yet Tate wasn't at the house when the school shooting victims confronted him. This was because it was Halloween and he could roam freely.
Misty Day (Lily Rabe) never saw Cordelia's (Sarah Paulson) real eyes. Before Misty and Cordelia met, Cordelia's eyes were blinded by acid that was thrown in her face. She was given replacement eyes by Myrtle after she met Misty but she torn them out while Misty was trapped in a coffin. When Cordelia becomes the Supreme her eyes are healed but this was after Misty died in the Seven Wonders.
Ryan Murphy told Finn Wittrock that Tristan and Elizabeth Taylor were going to be revealed as a couple a few episodes prior to the revelation, so he could subtlety played the connection between the characters.
Sarah Paulson has played two roles multiple times in a season finale as a character from the current season and a previous season. The first time was the season 5 finale when she came back as Billie (season 1) and the second time was season 6 as Lana (season 2).
In season 5, episode 3 "Mommy" Chloë Sevigny's character gets coffee at the hospital for one of her child patients, and when she pushes the buttons for a coffee, she's pushes "A5". An obvious message that American Horror Story is in its 5th season
As of Roanoke, in each season at least one character suffered from parental issues, most notably with their mothers. These characters include: -Tate Langdon (Murder House) -Johnny Morgan (Asylum) -Cordelia Foxx (Coven) -Dandy Mott (Freak Show) -Donovan (Hotel) -Jether Polk (Roanoke) There were many others, but these are among the most notable.