clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Downtown LA's Nightmare Cecil Hotel Inspired This Season of American Horror Story

Downtown LA's notorious Cecil Hotel has a long, sad history (suicides, mass murderers), but now that one of its more recent tragedies has a connection to the new season of American Horror Story, the Cecil has become a major tourist attraction. TMZ says "hordes of fans" are now coming to the hotel and hoping to stay there, especially in the bedroom of Elisa Lam, whose body was found in a cistern atop the Cecil in 2013 and whose strange death inspired the new AHS season, aptly named "Hotel."

At a press conference in August, AHS co-creator Ryan Murphy revealed that the the new season "was inspired by a surveillance video from a Los Angeles-based hotel that surfaced two years ago. The footage showed a girl in an elevator who was never seen again." Lam, the woman in the surveillance video, arrived at the hotel in January and was missing for nearly three weeks before her body was found. There was a lot of speculation about the cause of her death, though it was later ruled an accident.

Long before Lam's sad death, the real-life Cecil was already eerie—it was a favorite place to stay for Richard Ramirez (the Night Stalker) and the Austrian murderer Jack Unterweger, and has a history of murders dating back to the 1920s, when it opened. In AHS, the scary hostelry plays the Hotel Cortez, and the spooky setting is a huge part of the show. "The hotel is obviously a character in the story; it feels that way when you're filming," Murphy told Variety. "It's very much alive in the story."

Morbid fans of the show, which won't even premiere until tonight, will be disappointed if they're trying to rent out Lam's room: TMZ says it's "it's off limits." Hotel security has also been warned to be on the lookout for "people daring to conduct paranormal investigations."
· 'American Horror Story: Hotel' -- Real Life Hotel Swarmed By Fans [TMZ]
· Why is Downtown's Cecil Hotel Such a Nightmare? [Curbed LA]