American Horror Story has never been one to shy away from incorporating real life killers, mysteries and nightmares into its episodes, and American Horror Story: Hotel is an excellent example of this. Along with the notorious Devil's Night -- a Halloween dinner for dead serial killers, the Hotel Cortez itself is inspired by the infamous Cecil Hotel, and its creator, James Patrick Marsh, has a striking resemblance to the serial killer, H. H. Holmes.
Who Is James Patrick March and H. H. Holmes?
In Hotel, March is one of several antagonists and the creator of the deadly hotel. He began his murder spree in the 1920s before creating the hotel to continue his horrific hobby. March intentionally designed the Hotel Cortez with secret hallways and rooms to hide bodies and prolong the torment of his victims. He eventually died in the hotel after the cops closed in on him, killing himself and sentencing his spirit to forever be trapped in the Hotel Cortez. Due to the way he killed people, as well as his high body count, he's considered one of the most infamous serial killers in the world of AHS.
A murder hotel sounds like something straight out of fiction; however, there was unfortunately a real life serial killer very similar to March: H. H. Holmes. Born in 1861, Holmes is regarded as one of America's earliest serial killers. Many of these murders were conducted in his "Murder Castle," a three-story building he constructed for the purpose of killing. This included rooms for torture and murder, as well as chutes to move bodies to the basement where they could be burned. Along with this, Holmes would open this building up to the public, like how March would open up his murder hotel. Here, Holmes would kill an unknown amount of guests, but the estimation is between 20 to 200.
What Is the Hotel Cortez and the Cecil Hotel?
As for the Hotel Cortez, it takes inspiration from another real life horror story, that of the Cecil Hotel. This real Los Angeles hotel opened in 1927, a year after March opened the Hotel Cortez, and it has a history of violence, death and mystery. The earliest reported suicide in America happened here, Elisa Lam notoriously vanished and died in the hotel, it was home to serial killer Jack Unterweger, and the Cecil Hotel was rumored to be the last place the Black Dahlia was seen before her death, and these are just some of the mysteries.
Hotel incorporates a few direct nods to the Cecil Hotel as well, including the decade it was established, its location and its infamous guest, Richard Ramirez, who supposedly stayed in the Cecil Hotel while his fictional counterpart would visit Hotel Cortez on Devil's Night. AHS creator Ryan Murphy even confirmed that the Cecil Hotel was an inspiration for Hotel, adding to the list of real life mysteries and nightmares that AHS twists for its episodes.
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