FX renewed American Horror Story last October, but it wasn’t until Lady Gaga revealed she’d be heading up a Hotel did we know what to expect. Ever since the February announcement, casting news and bloodstained clips have teased what a stay will be like at the Hotel Cortez. Hotel owner Gaga gave us some inside scoop when she graced our cover last month, but here’s an all-in-one study guide to AHS‘s upcoming 13-episode installment before check-in begins Oct. 7.
What’s it about?
A haunted hotel set in downtown Los Angeles, run by Mother Monster Lady Gaga.
Who from the AHS franchise is returning for Hotel?
•Angela Bassett as actress Ramona Royale
•Kathy Bates as hotel manager Iris
•Matt Bomer as Donovan, The Countess’ (Gaga) lover
•Sarah Paulson as Hypodermic Sally, a drug addict
•Evan Peters as James March, mass murderer and builder of Hotel Cortez
•Wes Bentley as Detective John Lowell
•Chloë Sevigny as Alex, wife of Wes Bentley
•Mare Winningham as the hotel’s laundress
•Finn Wittrock as male model Tristan Duffy
•Denis O’Hare as movie icon Liz Taylor (but not the Elizabeth Taylor)
But what about Jessica Lange?!
The actress carried the first four seasons, but passed on Hotel to head back to Broadway. Still, creator Ryan Murphy revealed she’s not gone for good. “It’s always possible,” he told EW. “I’m trying to deal with her play schedule. She wants to come back, we just have to come up with something.”
Who else is joining the cast?
•Naomi Campbell as a Vogue editor
•Lady Gaga as Elizabeth/The Countess, the hotel’s owner
•Max Greenfield as Gabriel, a platinum blond Hollywood junkie
•Cheyenne Jackson as fashion icon Will Drake
Want more? EW’s Fall TV Preview mega-issue has the scoop on 115 shows! Pick up your copy on newsstands now, or buy it here.
What can fans expect from the Halloween episode this year?
Each year’s chapter celebrating Oct. 31 has taken the plot in a new direction and left viewers shocked at the latest ways Murphy manages to scare them s—less. This year will be no different, bringing back Lily Rabe for part one as a serial killer who attends Hotel Cortez’s dinner party from hell. As for the second hour, Darren Criss plays a hipster who checks into the hotel with his stuck-up girlfriend to escape trick-or-treaters.
Exactly how scary will the plot be?
So far, we know Hotel Cortez guests can expect people sewn into mattresses, creepy blonde children, and a particularly haunting room that March used as his office. This season also includes that which Murphy calls “the most disturbing scene we’ve ever done.”
Will Hotel reference any previous seasons?
Yes! Murphy revealed last year that each installment is connected, and in Hotel, we return to the first season’s Murder House. Marcy (Christine Estabrook), the haunted abode’s real estate agent, also returns to list the Hotel Cortez. Murphy has also said that people we’ll recognize from previous seasons will check into the hotel.
American Horror Story: Hotel premieres Oct. 7 at 10 p.m. ET on FX.
This article is being continually updated.