American Horror Story returned for its fifth iteration last night with Hotel. It feels like Ryan Murphy and the gang have returned to familiar batsh*t crazy form. Whether you’re a fan or straight up disgusted with Lady Gaga’s blood-sucking performance, one thing that stands out is the unique set design on the series.
Whether it’s a haunted house, a mental institution, a school for witches, or an old circus carnival, the attention to tone and design detail is a key factor in delivering a memorable story filled with quirky and strange characters. Mark Worthington is the production designer of the Emmy-nominated series, and it feels like he has upped the ante yet again with the Hotel Cortez.
Inspired by Downtown L.A.’s Cecil Hotel — which was once home to serial killer Richard Ramirez — Worthington and team outdid themselves this year by creating a set that is pretty much a fully operational building. Continuing with the mission of creating a main character out of background scenery, the detailed set comes with an actual ceiling, a working elevator, and a fully equipped 1930s-style bar.
The fictional hotel is named after Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez and a giant portrait made entirely of metal depicts an image of the historical figure who caused the bloody fall of the Aztec Empire. We’ll have to wait and see if the Cortez motif plays out through the new episodes, but until then, and I may be crazy for saying this but…I totally see the appeal in staying the night here. Even if it’s in Room 64.
(Via FX Networks)