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Hotel Cortez

  • Expy: The Cortez is clearly drawing influence from the real-life and infamous Cecil Hotel. Notable former residents include Richard Ramirez, "The Night Stalker", and Elisa Lam.
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Staff

    Iris 

Iris

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/iris.jpg
"At least I care about something."
Played By: Kathy Bates

The manager of the Hotel Cortez. She lives there with her ailing son, Donovan. She has formed a friendship with hotel bartender Liz Taylor and has difficulties with tenant Hypodermic Sally.


  • Arch-Enemy: To Hypodermic Sally.
  • Anti-Villain: She's a very bad person, but has no doubt had a pretty bad life, which earns her some sympathy.
  • Berserk Button: Any type of drug. Her dislike seems to stem from the fact she lost her son, Donovan, who overdosed on heroin which was given to him by Sally.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Crosses it after Donovan makes it entirely too clear that he hates her and wants nothing to do with her. She decides to kill herself as Donovan suggests, giving a speech that makes it clear that she is deeply depressed and no longer feels happiness or sees any future for herself. Although Donovan saves her and wants to reconcile, Iris's depression continues until Liz is able to get through to her.
  • Dirty Old Woman:
    • Shamelessly makes innuendo at John immediately after meeting him.
    • She admits to enjoy watching porn in a monologue, and states she hates modern-day porn for its lack of good acting compared to the porn of her day.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Along with Liz Taylor, she guns down Donovan and the Countess at the end of "She Gets Revenge."
  • Driven to Suicide: She decides she has nothing to live for if she can't be Donovan's mother. At his urging and with Sally's assistance, she attempts to kill herself.
  • Emergency Transformation: Donovan turns her into a vampire in a desperate attempt to save her life after she tries to kill herself and he realizes she loves him more than anyone else will.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Gives off the impression of someone who has a severe distaste for the nastiness of humanity, and actively calls out aspects of people or society she does not approve of. From the beginning, we see she's Not So Different as she's aiding The Countess.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: She and Liz, though not initially close despite always being friendly to each other, develop this over the course of the season. Their closeness initially leads to them planning to enter into a suicide pact together before changing tracks and ending up taking over the hotel and running it as partners.
  • Holier Than Thou: She's rather judgmental of the Swedish tourists for their drug use; a little too judgmental for someone who partakes in murder on a regular basis. She also judges Gabriel, hiking up the price of his room, then sending him to room 64.
  • Hypocrite: Her Holier Than Thou attitude, combined with the fact that she has been a willing accomplice to murder, abduction, torture, rape, and tons of other heinous shit for over twenty years, definitely makes her this.
  • Jerkass: Her son gets it honest. Iris is rude to and dismissive of just about everyone.
  • Kick the Dog: Her treatment of the Swedish girls in the first episode is pretty cruel, from start to finish.
    • When she brutally stabs the porn star in the heart as she weeps and begs for her life. The girl didn't do anything to her and didn't even want to be there.
  • Lack of Empathy: She really doesn't care about any of the victims she helps make for the Cortez, even seeming to enjoy the suffering they endure to a degree. The only one she showed any remorse over was her own son.
  • Mama Bear: Heaven help anyone who messes with her son. She threw Sally out a window just for getting him high!
  • Meaningful Name: As the manager, Iris sees over everything in the hotel.
  • The Mole: Donovan and Ramona decide that Iris is their perfect "inside man" for their scheme to get to the Countess.
  • Moral Myopia: Iris sees herself as a good and sensible woman who does not stand for the ugliness of the modern world. But the ugliness she's responsible for tends to get swept under the rug, usually by her.
  • My Beloved Smother: How Donovan views her.
  • Not So Different: She constantly voices her disgust for the dregs of society, without ever stopping to consider that she might be one of them.
  • Offing the Offspring: She and Liz shoot both Elizabeth and her son Donovan.
  • Odd Friendship: With Liz Taylor.
  • Pet the Dog: Her role as governess to the vampire children. She takes care of them while the Countess does her own thing, and admits to loving them in a strange way. Of course, she's admitting this just as she was about to murder them all. Though this still works, since it could be seen as a Mercy Kill.
    • She also seems to care about John, as seen when she realizes that he remembers the years he spent at the Cortez and encourages him to escape the hotel once and for all.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: Look at her actions throughout the season, then look at her tribute video in "She Gets Revenge."
  • Rage Breaking Point: An entitled, disrespectful couple who check into the hotel continually, albeit unintentionally, antagonize Iris at a very bad time. She eventually snaps and stabs them both bloody with a corkscrew before slitting their throats and drinking their blood.
  • The Renfield: Becomes this to the Countess after her son's overdose and him being saved by the Countess's vampiric virus. She also shares this role with Liz Taylor, as both of them are the ones to deal with the cleanup jobs.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Her son gets it from somewhere. She sees her tribute video as a way of immortalizing herself and as "a beacon of hope for my three followers on Instagram," while also lamenting that no one will be "rushing to extol her virtues" after she's dead.
  • Vigilante Man: Or woman. Ultimately subverted: She likens herself to a female Dirty Harry, ridding the world of evil scum. The people she kills are simply those whose personalities and lifestyle choices she looks down on.

    Liz Taylor 

Liz Taylor (formerly Nick Pryor)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/taylor_liz.jpg
"I'm sorry, lady. This is a no-tell motel."
Played By: Denis O'Hare

A bartender and entertainer who is obsessed with the actress Elizabeth Taylor.


  • Bald Women: Does not appear to ever wear a wig, despite otherwise very traditionally feminine makeup and dress.
  • The Bartender: Runs the hotel bar and tends to listen to people's stories, but may or may not give a quip to their troubles instead of offering them advice.
  • Berserk Button: Anyone saying or implying that she's gay.
  • Broken Pedestal: Needless to say, Liz loses nearly all respect for The Countess after she murdered Tristan upon finding out that he and Liz were in love.
  • Camp Straight: Outright says she's not gay. She does (or did) have a wife with whom she had at least one kid, but says that she only married her to have ready access to women's clothing in her size and that she had no interest in the woman herself.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Liz becomes very bitter after The Countess murders Tristan.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Often quips at other characters.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Along with Iris, she guns down Donovan and the Countess at the end of "She Gets Revenge."
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Liz decides to end it all partially because she's distraught over Tristan's death, and partially because she figures that the Countess is going to kill her soon anyway. She reconsiders, however, once she meets her son for the first time in 30 years and he tells her that he wants her in his life.
    • Decides to do so again after she gets prostate cancer in the last episode. She rounds up all the ghosts and tells them to kill her so that she can become one herself and remain among them forever. It's the Countess who actually does the deed.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Is happy to be killed in the final episode, surrounded by all her friends.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: She and Iris, though not initially close despite always being friendly to each other, develop this over the course of the season. Their closeness initially leads to them planning to enter into a suicide pact together before changing tracks and ending up taking over the hotel and running it as partners.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Honestly believed that The Countess, who Liz should know as well as anyone, would understand and accept it when she revealed that she and Tristan had fallen in love behind her back. Of course, she might have thought that she would be an exception to The Countess's usual vindictiveness.
  • It's All About Me: Not as bad as other characters in this list, but just as guilty. Liz remains at the hotel because it is the one place where she doesn't have to hide who she is, even if it means being The Countess's personal "doll" and routinely disposing of her countless victims.
  • Lack of Empathy: Clearly does not care that most of those she checks into the hotel will not ever be checking out.
  • Large Ham: Not all the time, but it's Denis O'Hare as "Liz Taylor." So this is bound to rear its head every now and then.
  • Odd Friendship: With Iris.
  • One Steve Limit: Subverted. Shares the same first name as The Countess/Elizabeth, but Liz Taylor patterns after Elizabeth Taylor.
  • Parental Abandonment: The only form of contact she had with her children after crossing paths with the Countess and embracing her feminine identity was sending them money until they hit 18. She is Driven to Suicide over the loss of Tristan, so she decides to get back in contact with her son. Her son wants her in his life, which renews her will to live.
  • Parental Neglect: Seemed to have a distinctly chilly relationship with her son even when he was trying to win her approval.
  • The Renfield: Shares this role with Iris, as the both of them are the clean-up pair for the Countess.
  • Trans Equals Gay: Liz faces the misconceptions about this trope from Iris in the present and from two of her own old coworkers in a flashback.
  • Transgender: The flashback depicting her first meeting with the Countess had the Countess note that Liz (then called Nick) smells like a woman — not from any perfume, but in her actual blood and heart. Hearing her say this brought Nick to tears. With the Countess's help, Nick ultimately embraced her feminine identity as Liz Taylor and began dressing and identifying as female in public.
  • Villainous Friendship: She was fond of Iris through their years working together despite Iris admitting that they didn't talk that much. As of "Room Service", they confide in one another and bond, with Liz later helping Iris dispose of her Asshole Victims without a blink of the eye.

    Will 

Will Drake

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/drake_will.jpg
"This place is far enough away that it speaks to me— it sings, even."
Played By: Cheyenne Jackson

The new owner of the hotel. He is a New York fashion designer who sought inspiration and bought the hotel, moving in with his son, Lachlan.


  • The Fashionista: Rare male example. He is a fashion designer.
  • Face–Heel Turn: He becomes a killing ghost after his death
  • Good Counterpart: To James March.
  • Good Parents: Played with. He's a pretty good dad to his son, Lachlan, getting along well and communicating with him maturely. However, he also lets Lachlan wander around an infamous hotel with a strange woman he (at the time) barely knows. And he apparently hasn't clearly defined to Lachlan what is normal and what isn't, since the kid doesn't see anything wrong with a bunch of creepy children who drink blood and sleep in glass coffins.
  • It's All About Me: It turns out this is the reason his business ends up in trouble as he took on all the design work of his company. When he vanished, his successors had no idea how to keep things going and it's going out of business, which he can't believe.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Oddly Zigzagged with Elizabeth. He initially rejects her saying he's gay then considers sleeping with her. However, in bed, he can't have an erection, saying that even if he's genuinely attracted to her "his cock and mind operate separately". She has to invite Tristan for a threesome. In "She Wants Revenge", he announces to his son that he's bisexual.
  • Large and in Charge: He's 6'3 and generally looks like he is towering over people.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Will's huge career and dynamic lifestyle are mostly in the way of him seeing the hotel's dark side. In fact, before he gets a look at Bartholomew (prior to being captured and killed), Will isn't aware that there's anything strange going on at all.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: A light example. His reputation is built on his wealth and taste essentially, and he finds the Hotel Cortez beautiful, stating that "this place is far enough away that it speaks to me. It sings, even." Will's not a bad guy, though. He's just hopelessly seduced by the person who is the bad guy. Or girl.
  • Meal Ticket: For The Countess.
  • Nice Guy: Probably the nicest guy in Hotel. The worst you can say about him is that he's a bit too privileged and naive.
  • No Bisexuals: Averted as of "She Wants Revenge", where he officially identifies as bisexual and explains the meaning of the word to his son.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Doesn't hesitate to release a frightened woman from her bizarre imprisonment. Unfortunately, this woman was Ramona Royale, who rewards this good deed by brutally slashing Will's throat and drinking his blood.
  • Satellite Character: Though his character affects the plot offscreen a number of times, Will mostly exists as a plot device for The Countess. Otherwise, he isn't around much.
  • Slashed Throat: Courtesy of Ramona.
  • Unwitting Pawn: To The Countess.

    Miss Evers 

Miss Hazel Evers

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/evers.jpg
"I can take care of every stain there is."
Played By: Mare Winningham

  • Adult Fear: Like John, her back was turned only for a moment and her son was abducted and later murdered.
  • Adorkable: Treats receiving detergent as the ultimate gift to the point where she'll run out of the room to find something to clean and she was almost in tears from receiving a washer from Liz Taylor and Iris.
  • Cassandra Truth: She tried to warn Will Drake of the Countess's plans to kill him and leaves him at his demands but warns she'll be there watching with a smile as he dies. Later that episode, what she promised happens when a starving Ramona Royale killed him to feed. He even reaches out a hand to her begging for help.
  • Dead All Along: She insisted on being March's last victim before his suicide.
  • The Dragon: Iris states that Miss Evers was March's right hand during his murders.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She's unquestioningly evil, but her evil does come from a place of love and devotion...to her employer, who seems to return that affection (albeit not in a romantic way).
    • She reveals that they were supposed to marry each other but then the Countess popped into the picture.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When the police break into the Hotel Cortez to capture March, he offers her a weapon so they could both commit suicide. Rather than do that, Miss Evers asks if she could be his final victim. She makes sure to smile right before he shoots her.
  • Get Out!: Is told this by March in the penultimate episode after she reveals that she is the one who called the cops on him. She takes it rather well, actually.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: She makes a rather homophobic remark regarding the gay men of her era when talking with Liz, but she does bring up the fact that Liz was irresponsible for walking out of her son's life on her trip of self-discovery when he was in need of a parental figure.
  • Love Makes You Crazy:
    • Miss Evers was so head over heels for March that she was his willing accomplice. She was absolutely heartbroken when he wed the Countess.
    • Insists that love helps her get out stains. Unfortunately for her, it isn't enough to get the bloodstain out of her murdered son's Halloween costume.
    • She turns especially unstable around Halloween due to this, as that was when her son was taken.
  • The Power of Love: How she's able to clean up the blood after March's killings.
  • Not So Different: She and John Lowe. In 'Devil's Night', they commiserate over the loss of their children and how they are filled with deep regret over not watching them more closely the moment they were taken.
  • Psycho Supporter: To March. She doesn't care that he murders and tortures people as long she can clean sheets.
  • Yandere: She's later revealed to have call the cops on March but then Subverts it by telling March off and leaving his presence as he demands.
  • Servile Snarker: Towards the Countess, solely because of March.
  • Undying Loyalty: To her beloved employer, Mr. James March.
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Residents

    The Countess 

Elizabeth Johnson March/The Countess

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/elizabeth21.jpg
"You're only immortal if you're smart."

Played By: Lady Gaga

"We have two selves: the one the world needs us to be—compliant—and the shadow. Ignore it, and life is forever suffering."

A glamorous but deadly creature who sustains on a healthy diet of sex and blood. She kills with her very fashionable and very sharp chain mail glove.


  • A God Am I: Not stated outright, but she sees herself as above everyone else and everyone else sees her as either a goddess or a devil.
  • Animal Motifs: Snakes. The Countess has a snake ring and a snake brooch. Iris refers to Elizabeth as a snake in ''Mommy."
  • Bi the Way: She had relationships with Donovan, Ramona Royale, Will Drake, James March, Rudolph Valentino, and Natacha Rambova. Also an example of Depraved Bisexual; see below.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: She and her late husband, James March, are the two driving forces of evil in Hotel, alongside the obscure but ever-present Addiction Demon.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She's pretty obviously not a good person considering that Elizabeth murders two people in the pilot alone, but she tries to put on a nice face when around Will Drake and his son, Lachlan.
  • Black Widow: After Mrs. Ever secretly turned her husband, James March, in to the police. This led to him committing suicide and her inheriting everything. She plans to do this again to Will Drake by marrying him and then killing him. She succeeds in killing him, but unfortunately for her, he dies in the hotel, leading to some complications for her.
  • Casting Gag: Like Lady Gaga herself, she's a fashionista and a lover of the arts and in one episode, she's shown enjoying a foot massage which is Gaga's favourite beauty treatment in real life.
  • The Chessmaster: Based on cast interviews and implications on the show, Elizabeth knows all and manipulates nearly every occurrence in her hotel.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mostly toward Donovan.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: She shows her first signs of fear and sadness in "Room 33." These emotions grow more pronounced during "Flicker," when she learns that Valentino and Natacha were bricked into the hotel by Mr. March for nearly a century.
  • Did Not Think This Through: She lampshades killing Will where the murdered has the possibility to become ghost was not entirely smart when Will reappears as a ghost and puts a small hold on her plans.
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • March speculates that she is the one who turned him in to the police, leading to him killing himself to avoid prison. She is forgiven for this because he thinks she's beautiful. As it is later revealed, she wasn't the one who did it.
    • Liz Taylor forgives her in the last episode for killing Tristan. In turn, Liz is forgiven by the Countess for nearly killing her.
  • Entitled Bitch: She askes Liz to help her with her wedding with Drake after killing Tristan. When Liz refuses, she comments that the people she trusts repay her with ingratitude.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Her abducted, vampiric children. Ramona believes that killing them all is the only way she can reap her revenge on Elizabeth.
    • She also has a baby that she gave birth to while attempting to abort it in the '20s. She even thanks Alex for saving him.
    • It seems that Rudolph Valentino and his wife, Natacha Rambova, are the only people Elizabeth has ever truly loved.
    • She claims later she only loved Rudolph and only tolerated Natacha to stay close with him.
    • It's shown she truly did love her "children" as shown when when her two remaining living kids accept dying to save her. She was upset at this and it caused her to lose motivation for revenge against Ramona and hand her the hotel.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Has a low, husky voice.
  • The Fashionista: Her outfits are incredible and numerous.
  • Gold Digger: She plans to marry Will Drake for his money and kill him afterward.
    • There are elements of this in her marriage to James March, though she also claims she was drawn to his darkness.
  • Has a Type:
    • Non-sexual example: Judging from the children she's already abducted, she prefers them to be as fair-skinned and fair-haired as herself.
    • Sexual example: She seems to prefer Tall, Dark, and Handsome men, having relationships with Donovan and Tristan, and commenting on Detective Lowe's looks. Donovan even namedrops this trope. In "Flicker," it's revealed the one who turned her was Rudolph Valentino, who matches the Tall, Dark, and Handsome quota and her other lover were Replacement Goldfish for him.
  • The Hedonist: A much more twisted example of this trope, but Elizabeth is introed having a foursome with Donovan and another couple before killing them and drinking their blood.
  • Hypocrite: She claims to hate betrayal in love and she demonstrates it by killing Ramona's lover and Tristan yet she had no problem dumping Donovan for Tristan.
  • Iconic Item: Her chain mail glove.
  • If I Can't Have You...: She definitely has a problem being cheated on and will makes sure the cheater and their lover pay both emotionally and physically. Though it should be noted she always kill the person she's least close too such as sparing Ramona and Liz Taylor who she knew for years when she killed Tristan, who she made her lover for a couple weeks. Ironically, she has no problem with cheating and dumping others if she feels like they get too boring or unsatisfying.
  • It's All About Me: The Countess likes being the center of everything, and will accept nothing less.
  • Lack of Empathy: For her victims, anyway. And even for her lovers. However, it seems like she had boundless empathy for Liz Taylor when she was still a confused Nick Pryor.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After spending the entire season of cheating, manipulating, and abusing her lovers and workers, she loses the one person she actually loved after killing her rival and manipulating Donovan into doing her dirty work, who murders her lover out of revenge and jealousy. Then as they begin to make up they're loaded with bullets by Iris and Liz Taylor as revenge for the abuse inflicted upon them.
    • Then John comes and finish the job forcing her to spend eternity with a man she despises.
  • Mama Bear: Was actually pissed off when she learned Bartholomew was let out his room by someone and was prepared to torture and kill Iris to find out who did it. It's also the reason she rebuilt the sealed off hallway and trapped Ramona inside.
  • Manipulative Bastard: She's attempting to manipulate Will Drake into marrying her so she can kill him and inherit his money.
    • She also seems to have somewhat manipulated Alex into becoming a governess for her vampire children.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She's participated in multiple sex scenes without much left to the imagination.
  • Narcissist: She's self-entitled, grandiose and manipulative.
  • Off with Her Head!: Is gunned down by John Lowe in the penultimate episode, who then takes her head to complete his and March's collection.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: She has a 'virus' but no fangs, and subsists on human blood.
  • Pet the Dog: Her whole relationship with Liz Taylor is based on this. She encouraged her to be what she wanted to be, even christening her Liz Taylor, killed two of her then-coworkers for bullying her over it, then gave her a job at the hotel.
    • As of episode 6, The Countess has definitely just kicked the dog by murdering Tristan in cold blood for little reason but to hurt Liz.
    • Saved one of her vampire children from dying of heatstroke and from the unwelcome attentions of the child's father.
  • Polyamory: She was in a three-way relationship with Rudolph Valentino and Natacha Rambova.
  • Ponzi: The reason why she plans to marry Will Drake for his money. She was bankrupted by Bernie Madoff.
  • Really Gets Around: She had been intimate with Donovan, Tristan, Ramona, Will, Rudolph Valentino, Natacha Rambova, and James March. She also once kissed Alex.
  • Sadist: Oh, yes. It's all about "the hunt."
    • When March places a gag in the mouth of one of his screaming victims, Elizabeth removes the gag, telling him, "I like it."
    • She definitely enjoys tormenting a lovelorn Donovan during his breakdown after learning she's dumped him for Tristan and wants him out.
    • When she first discovers March murdering someone, she scolds him for his poor choice in victims, then seductively tells him that next time she wants to watch.
    • In "She Wants Revenge," she delights in telling Will how much he's going to suffer before dying, then traps he and Ramona Royale in the abandoned wing of the hotel. She has cameras installed so she can watch Ramona kill and feed on Will, treating it like a movie as she sits on the bed of her penthouse eating from a big bowl of popcorn. You can see why she and March made such a great couple.
  • The '70s: Of all the eras through which she's lived, this one was her favorite.
  • Start of Darkness: It's suggested that her violent and malicious personality, as well as her [[Narcissist|narcissism]], developed after the apparent death of Valentino and her subsequent relationship with James March.
  • Stealth Expert: She manages to appear in rooms without a hint of her presence. John only had his back turned for a second when she abducted Holden. By the time John noticed Holden was gone, Elizabeth was already walking across the beach with Holden.
  • The Stoic: It adds to the intimidation factor.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Her last two remaining "children" die to provide her the blood she needs but is killed because of March's manipulations with John's mind and feelings.
  • Not So Stoic: As the series progresses, she displays more emotions mainly when confronted with a situation that affects anyone she cares for. In "She Wants Revenge," she shows a variety of emotions from stress.
  • Unholy Matrimony: To Mr. March.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: She has different outfits in nearly every scene (not unlike her actress).
  • Vampires Are Rich: She was rich but she lost her fortune when she invested it in Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme.
    • As of episode 9, she has inherited Will Drake's fashion empire and her fortune is restored.
      • Or so she thought, until his ghost turned up.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: A rare curvy example, but those cheekbones are striking.
  • Wicked Cultured: She's fascinated with art and high fashion.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Kidnapping them, but also turning them into vampires to boot.
    • On the other hand, she rescued at least one of them from an abusive parent and the others (apart from Alex, whom she kidnapped specifically to advance March's plan of turning John into a killer) may have been in similarly bad situations.
    • Judging from Miss Evers's warnings about her, she could murder a child in cold blood if she benefited from it.
    • She claims "I don't kill children" but in the same episode she threatens Alex to kill both her and Holden if she does not fix her mistake then has vampire kids locked in the hallway with Ramona.
  • Yandere: Didn't take it too well when Ramona left her for a man. However, the Countess became stoic after she left the recording studio, so she might've been faking.

    Bartholomew 

Bartholomew

The Countess and March's monstrous infant son. His mother tried to have an abortion (in the Murder House), but since she was a vampire he was instead born as an undead fetus and has been that way ever since.

  • Humanoid Abomination: He has gray skin, beady black eyes, and a deformed mouth with sharp teeth.
  • Made of Iron: John shot him a couple of times, which didn't seem to do much.
  • Nightmare Face: Has beady black eyes, and a deformed mouth with sharp teeth.
  • Undead Child: Upon being born and thought dead, Bartholomew springs to life and gores the nurse who held him.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: By the final episode, nothing really happens with Bartholomew. It appears as though he was only included as a MacGuffin to help with the plan to drive John Lowe insane, and give the Countess a reason to kill Will faster.

    Sally 

"Hypodermic" Sally McKenna

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hypodermic_sally.jpg
"Move me with your tears."
Played By: Sarah Paulson

"Getting high used to be like how you imagine Heaven. Pure light. The perfection of it all. Even in me. Then I got lost. Kept trying to climb higher. Get closer to that light. Like an endless ladder where all you do is get further and further away."

A drug addict and thorn in the side of her landlord at the Hotel Cortez.


  • Arch-Enemy: To Iris, her killer. Sally is happy to help with the deeply-depressed Iris's suicide, though not before forcing her to tell her exactly why she wants to die, to cause her more pain.
  • Bi the Way
  • Dead All Along: It's revealed at the end of "Checking In" that she's been dead for years and is now a ghost.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Particularly when talking to Iris.
  • Destination Defenestration: At the hands of Iris.
  • Desperately Craves Affection: Sally forces Gabriel into saying he loves her while he's being raped by the Addiction Demon and is moved to tears by the false words. She kisses a seemingly-alive Gabriel while she sews him up into a mattress, while berating him.
    • In her backstory she was friends/lovers with two musicians whom she sewed to herself in a drug fueled threeway. She states the she did it out of fear that they would abandon her. The Countess openly states the Sally has issues.
  • Disco Dan: Her entire wardrobe is reminiscent of the 90s. Of course this is due to her dying in 1994 and there for stuck in that time period.
  • Hidden Depths: Is shown to be very talented at removing bullets from their wounds and stitching people up, which she does to save the Countess's life.
  • It's All About Me: Sally mocks Donovan for dying of an overdose when she handled that much heroin just fine and happily indulges the Addiction Demon because he gives her a captive audience to coerce into saying they love her.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: Sally has been wearing the same outfit since 1994 when Iris pushed her out of a window, though there is one scene where she is wearing what looks like an old-fashioned nightgown.
  • Mad Love: With John.
  • Pet the Dog: She is the one to free Vendela and tell her to run in the pilot. Although this can be interpreted as wanting to get Iris in trouble.
  • Together in Death: This appears to be her plan for her and John.
  • The Vamp: She's good at using her sexuality to lure people in.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: She has an infatuation with the troubled but moral John Lowe, frequently attempting to seduce him and claiming they are meant to be. However, it could be that she sees him as another possible victim for the Addiction Demon...
    • Subverted, once we learn that John is really the Ten Commandments Killer and had been having an affair with Sally while in another persona.
  • Woman Scorned: In "She Gets Revenge," when John abandons the Cortez with Alex and Holden, Sally screams that she'll kill him.

    Donovan 

Donovan

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/donovan6.jpg
"I was a junkie because I wanted to escape from my mother. You made it so I never can."
'Played By: Matt Bomer

The Countess's lover of 20 years who gets rebuffed when she meets male model Tristan. He is interested in domesticity and is the son of Iris.


  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Gender Inverted. Not the Crazy Jealous Guy because it's still "played for laughs" (at least in the AHS world) as opposed to threatening and creepy.
  • Destructive Romance: Boy howdy. Dono's feud with Tristan and Valentino culminating in Valentino's murder. Also wanting the Countess to kill him because it's the only way she'll "let him love her". Yikes.
  • Dirty Coward: Along with being visibly intimidated by The Countess at every turn, he's a pretty weak-willed person anyway. When she dumps him, he prowls Skid Row for easy prey. And instead of ending The Countess's reign of terror with Ramona Royale, he betrays Ramona when he believes The Countess will finally take him back.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Donovan is pretty unnerved by Iris and Ramona's plan to murder a bunch of children to hurt the Countess.
  • Fool for Love: He cannot bring himself to give up The Countess and refuses to believe she doesn't truly love him. Proven beyond a shadow of a doubt as of "She Wants Revenge."
  • Gaslighting: His mother in every conversation they have: "You're such a drama queen."
  • The Hedonist: A much more twisted example of this trope, but Donovan is introduced having a foursome with The Countess and another couple before killing them and drinking their blood.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Seems to go through this upon Liz Taylor's big "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how he treats Iris (although he agrees Iris isn't the best mother, but she's tried). Upon seeing she tried to kill herself, he immediately goes to save her by turning her. Subverted later when he tells her that he regrets saving her.
    • He also goes back on his plan to take down The Countess with Ramona Royale, betraying her to get back into the former's good graces.
  • Hypocrite: Calls Tristan a junkie despite being a former drug addict, as the Countess reminds him.
  • I Die Free: Iris and Liz honour his request to be carried outside the hotel after he's been badly shot, so he won't be stuck inside for all eternity.
  • Incest Subtext: with Iris, of the non-consensual variety. Cf. Liz talking to Donovan at the bar: "You might find someone who (...) screws you better.", Iris saying something along the lines of "Donovan (is my) true love."
  • Jerkass: To the point that he's even taking shots at his mother. Though for some audience members who feel sympathy for his description of the way she raised him, he may be right to lash out at her.
  • Karma Houdini: After he's killed, he apparently goes to his own personal heaven, where it always smells like Iris's pancakes, and he always gets to watch cartoons on Saturday morning.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Bomer noted that he had more nude scenes in the first episode than in both Magic Mike movies.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: In "She Gets Revenge," he murders Valentino so he can have The Countess all to himself.
  • Pretty Boy: pointed out by Ramona, among others.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: He has a "virus" but no fangs, and subsists on human blood.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: to resemble the original - Valentino
  • Replacement Goldfish: Discovers that he is one, for the Countess' lost love Valentino. He isn't happy.
  • Revenge: As of "Room Service," Donovan seems to want this against the Countess and has even teamed up with Ramona Royale to get it.
  • Smug Snake: He's Iris's son and Elizabeth's lover. What'd you expect?
  • Spiteful Spit: After shooting Valentino in the head multiple times, tasting his blood, and remarking that he has better cheekbones, Donovan spits in his ruined face.
  • Spoiled Brat: Does this need an elaboration?
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He plays the trope fairly straight, being defined by his dark and seductive looks.
  • Yandere: for the Countess
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    Lachlan 

Lachlan Drake

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/drake_lachlan.jpg
Played By: Lyric Lennon

Will Drake's son.


  • Lonely Rich Kid: He is bored of attending his father's fashion shows and is happy when Scarlett shows up so he has someone his own age to explore his new hotel with.
  • Weirdness Censor: Apparently doesn't think that creepy children who sleep in coffins and play video games all day in a hidden room is strange.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Disappeared completely after his father was killed. Didn't even show up in the finale! Liz just handwaves that she took care of him.

Guests

    John 

Detective John Lowe

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lowe_john.jpg
Played By: Wes Bentley

Liz Taylor: [to John] I can see the pain in your eyes. It's very familiar. Oh, you've lost something. And now you're frozen in time. Can't move forward. Can't go back.

A detective investigating murders that have lead him to the mysterious Hotel Cortez.


  • Agent Scully: Does not believe that supernatural events are happening in the hotel, despite some evidence to the contrary.
  • The Alcoholic: Believes himself to be this, but Alex disagrees, arguing that he's actually just obsessed with control.
  • Carousel Kidnapping: His back had been turned for a minute away from the carousel his son, Holden, was riding; subsequently, the boy was kidnapped and "adopted" by the Countess.
  • The Comically Serious: As a rather stereotypical hard-boiled detective, John often comes off like this.
  • Defective Detective: John has a lot going on in his personal life; he's struggled with alcoholism and he has marital difficulties stemming from the abduction of his son.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: In addition to the female attention he attracts, John also catches the eye of Jeffrey Dahmer.
  • Fair Cop: Is a detective, and a highly attractive man, which has been pointed out by many characters.
  • Forgets to Eat: His own daughter reminds him that he needs to eat and calls him a liar when he says he has.
  • Gaslighting: The victim of it, mostly at the hands of March and Sally, though Alex has joined the fold.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Seems to be his arc, as the darkness surrounding John consumes him more and more with each passing episode.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: With his family problems, Sanity Slippage, and investigation into the Ten Commandments Killer, John hasn't had much time to acquaint himself with The Countess or any of the other vampires in the Cortez. He sees so little of the supernatural elements, he starts to believe he's hallucinating when he actually does.
    • Turns out, John has literally been locked out of the loop thanks to March, Sally, and other residents of the hotel manipulating his fragile psyche until he forgets all the time he has spent at the Cortez and becomes a serial killer.
  • Occult Detective: Whether he knows it or not, he seems to fit the build.
  • Papa Wolf: For his daughter and (missing) son.
  • Parental Neglect: Turns out to have become somewhat neglectful to his wife and children since he first discovered the Cortez. Alex even states that he goes missing for days and doesn't show up when he has commitments to his family. Seemingly made worse by the loss of Holden.
  • Sanity Slippage: Suffers a mental breakdown that turns him into a raving lunatic. It's also revealed that he's the Ten Commandments Killer.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Played straight early on when John refuses to believe that his daughter saw Holden in the Hotel Cortez, despite the fact that he has seen Holden in the Cortez as well.
    • Subverted later on. The reason John doesn't remember committing the Ten Commandment killings or all the time he spent at the hotel is because he's been repeatedly drugged, brainwashed, and manipulated by March and Sally, creating huge gaps in his memory.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: John has a habit of illustrating his thoughts or feelings verbally, perhaps due to his career as a crack detective.
  • Tragic Hero: A good man whose strong sense of justice is corrupted by March when he and The Countess kidnap his son, breaking his spirit and twisting his growing complacency with death and darkness into an insane lust for vengeance against those he is led to believe are getting away with evil deeds, driving him mad and turning him into the Ten Commandments Killer.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: Dear God, it seems like every villain takes an interest in him! The Ten Commandments Killer, Sally, and March all seem particularly intrigued and each with their own agendas for him.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Well, vampire children. He shoots Bartholomew on sight and works with Alex to lure all the infected children into the sealed-off hotel wing with a hungry Ramona Royale.
  • You Are What You Hate: John is very passionate about bringing the Ten Commandments Killer, or rather all killers, to justice. As it turns out, he is the Ten Commandments Killer.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Seems to be a struggle for him, as his wife can't stand his presence and he's losing his sense of control. He is tempted more than once by Sally (until finally she does sleep with him), nearly has a one-night stand with the ghost of Aileen Wuornos, and engages in a drunken threesome with Vendela and Agnetha.
    • In "The Ten Commandments Killer," it's revealed that John has actually been having an affair with Sally since his son was abducted and his marriage began falling apart. There were just holes in his memory.

    Tristan 

Tristan Duffy

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/duffy_tristan.jpg
Played By: Finn Wittrock

A temperamental model who becomes The Countess's new flare.


  • Alas, Poor Villain: He falls in love with Liz Taylor only to have his throat slit by the Countess.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: A variation. He falls in love with Liz Taylor after the latter doesn't just assume he's a dumb model and gives him books to read. It doesn't end well for him.
  • Brainless Beauty: Certainly attractive, but not very smart. He outright states that he knows this fact, but he was willing to read books recommended by his girlfriend, Liz Taylor.
  • Disco Dan: Tristan's hair and clothes are straight out of The '80s.
  • The Dragon: To the Countess. At least, until she kills him.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: He insists that he's not gay while sucking the blood of a guy he passionately made out with in the elevator.
  • Jerkass: Tristan is self-absorbed, aggressive, and essentially just downright vile. Yet understandably so, as he is implied to have grown up in the cut-throat modeling industry and having everyone either afraid of him or handing him things on a silver platter.
  • Lack of Empathy: Didn't seem to care when Mr. March shoots a tied up guest from the party going down on the ground floor. Only the fact blood splattered all over his designer clothes. Also inverted, as he is clearly shown to love Liz Taylor. Even when Liz had him meet her and the Countess to tell her the truth of their relationship which had been going on for weeks; he didn't lie.
  • Slashed Throat: How the Countess kills him.
  • The Vamp: No pun intended, but, for a man who insists he's not gay, he tends to default to seducing men to make them vulnerable enough to murder.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He strikes Alex so hard across the face she's knocked off her feet. The Countess didn't even order him to.

    Claudia 

Claudia Bankson

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bankson_claudia.jpg
Played By: Naomi Campbell

Claudia is a Vogue editor who ends up staying at Hotel Cortez. She's outlandish and thinks she's indestructible and that nothing can hurt her.


  • Dead Star Walking: Despite being played by one of the most recognizable members of the cast, she gets next to no characterization before being disposed of by a crazed Gabriel. She does, however, become a ghost due to her dying in the Hotel.
  • Rich Bitch: She's quite haughty and smug.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Though she becomes one of the Hotel's ghosts, she isn't seen again after episode 3 and doesn't appear at the ghost meeting in the finale.

    Queenie 

    Gabriel 

Gabriel

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gabriel1.jpg
Played By: Max Greenfield

  • Cruel and Unusual Death: He's seemingly raped to death by the Addiction Demon.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When Iris claims the Hotel has had renovations, he gives a quick look around his surroundings and proclaims it bullshit.
  • Dies Wide Open: Not only that, but his pupils are disturbingly dilated.
  • Made of Iron: Apparently survived being brutally raped with a drillbit dildo and then being trapped in a mattress for several days with enough strength left to stab Claudia to death and have a heart attack in the hospital.
  • Not Quite Dead: Seemingly revived after being raped to death and was later being sewn into a mattress by Sally. His real death comes later, of a heart attack.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: He's on-screen for barely five minutes before the Addiction Demon takes care of him.

    Agnetha 

Agnetha

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/vlcsnap2015102617h49m10s474.jpg
Played By: Helena Mattsson

A Swedish tourist who checks into the hotel with her friend Vendela.


  • Affectionate Nickname: Her friend Vendela calls her 'Aggie' for short.
  • Damsel in Distress: Is held captive in a cage by Iris, her blood being used to feed the Countess's children. Unlike her friend, she doesn't get the chance to escape and dies from blood loss.
  • Decoy Protagonist: A good chunk of the first episode revolves around her and her friend arriving at the Hotel Cortez and being unsettled. Vendela has her throat slashed before the first episode is over, and Agnetha is unceremoniously drained of blood by the Countess's children in the second.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Well more like afterlife but she and her friend are completely sad and bored being stuck in the hotel. They resort to murder, at least until Alex convinces them that they can break minds instead.
  • Femme Fatale: Seduces other guests as a ghost multiple times during the series, including Mr. Wu, later her ghost boyfriend of sorts and John.

    Vendela 

Vendela

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ahs_hotel_vendela_01000.jpg
Played By: Kamilla Alnes

A Swedish tourist and friend of Agnetha.


  • Damsel in Distress: Is held captive by Iris. She is later freed by Sally although she doesn't get very far.
  • Decoy Protagonist: A good chunk of the first episode revolves around her and her friend arriving at the Hotel Cortez and being unsettled. She has her throat slit up the Countess before the first episode is over, and Agnetha is unceremoniously drained of blood by the Countess's children in the second.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Well more like afterlife but she and her friend are completely sad and bored being stuck in the hotel. They resort to murder, at least until Alex convinces them that they can break minds instead.
  • Dirty Coward: Leaves her friend to die after being freed by Sally.
  • Femme Fatale: Uses her looks to seduce other guests of the hotel, including sex-crazed businessman Mr. Wu, who later becomes her ghost boyfriend, and John.
  • Slashed Throat: Courtesy of the Countess.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: She is killed by the Countess in the first episode. She later shows up as a ghost stuck in the Hotel Cortez with her friend.

     Justin 

Justin

Played By: Darren Criss

Justin, a former photographer for Entrez-vouz magazine, stays at the Hotel Cortez after being terrorized by the kids that go out for candy on Halloween in the past years.


  • Asshole Victim
  • Jerkass: Brings Iris to tears when he asks for a cheeseboard and grilled romaine from Room Service.

Serial Killers

    March 

Mr. James Patrick March

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/march_small.png
"Well then, I guess I'm just going to have to kill God."
Played By: Evan Peters
Appearances: Hotel | Apocalypse

The builder and owner of the Hotel Cortez in the 1930s.


  • Amicable Exes: His current relationship with the Countess, at least until he reveals what he did to Valentino.
  • Art Deco: His preferred aesthetic, as evidenced in the design of the hotel.
  • Ax-Crazy: He brutally murdered dozens of people whilst alive, averaging three a week.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In the end, March gets everything he wants. He succeeds in completing the Ten Commandment Killings through John, has The Countess killed and forever trapped within his hotel, and even manages to ensure that the Cortez continues to thrive long into the future by forbidding murder. Since he's a ghost and still seemingly in control of the Addiction Demon, it doesn't appear that anyone had a chance of stopping him to begin with.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: He and his former bride, The Countess, are the two driving forces of evil in Hotel, alongside the obscure but ever-present Addiction Demon.
  • Blasphemous Boast: He declares he'll "just have to kill God" to a religious victim. The guy's got some balls, that's for sure.
  • The Bus Came Back: In Apocalypse, he's shown tormenting Queenie after her ghost is trapped there, playing cards with her for all time.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: March tries to make light of the fact that he had Valentino and Natacha locked away for nearly a hundred years at the same time he tries to ingratiate himself to The Countess. When she promptly slaps him across the face, he is stunned and asks: "You're still upset about the dago?"
  • Catchphrase: "Ahh...yes!"
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: To Dandy Mott.
  • The Corrupter: March is apparently even better at this than he is being a serial killer. He's responsible for The Zodiac Killer, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Aileen Wuornos, Richard Ramirez, Charles Manson, John Lowe, and Tristan becoming murderers just as bad as he. He's even the one who corrupted Elizabeth.
  • Dead All Along: March killed himself in the 1930s but continues to reside in the Cortez as a ghost.
  • Disposable Vagrant: Preyed on these. His wife, the Countess, disapproved because there was nothing to gain from it and encouraged him to kill people with belongings worth taking.
  • Evil Mentor: To many of history's most famous serial killers, including Aileen Wuornos and John Wayne Gacy. At the moment, he may be trying to be this to Tristan and John.
  • Face Death with Dignity: After the police arrive, he rather calmly discusses a murder-suicide with Miss Evers before unhesitatingly cutting his own throat.
  • Family Values Villain: He apologizes to Miss Evers after he curses.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He's a remarkably genial fellow, even when slaughtering scores of innocent people.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: March was positively addicted to killing people.
  • It's All About Me: March is completely self centered in his desire for the Countess. He shows little to no concern for her feelings, and even arranges for her death so that she will be forced to spend eternity trapped in the hotel with him, even after she has been mentally broken and wishes to leave.
  • Karma Houdini: Though his murder spree officially ended when he killed himself in the 1930s, March continued to live on as one of the Hotel Cortez's darkest spirits. He never suffers any justice for the evil he commits.
  • Large Ham: Oh boy, this guy just loves chewing scenery whenever he gets the chance. Whether he be threatening, making plans, or torturing people to death, he's always a delight to watch, and makes much of the season more palatable with his oddly charming and hilarious on-screen presence.
  • Lonely at the Top: He's still very much charge of a successful hotel meant to satisfy his murderous urges, yet he implies that he feels this way given how much he desperately tried to keep the Countess at his hotel, and later, he appears genuinely saddened when Queenie (the girl he killed) was freed from the hotel's dark magic by Michael Langdon.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: And it also makes you seal off your wife's first love in an abandoned section of your hotel out of sheer jealousy.
  • The Man Behind the Man: To many of history's most famous serial killers, and John, the Ten Commandments Killer.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Seems to have out-manipulated The Countess herself! It was him who suggested that The Countess kidnap Holden which would lead to John jumping off the slippery slope.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Wears a sharp 1920s suit. He also freely admits to copying his Exeter professor's Brahmin accent.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Attempts to do this to Valentino and Natacha by having them sealed away in an abandoned wing of the hotel. Seeing as how they're carriers of the blood virus, they survive.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Is closely based on H.H. Holmes, a real-life serial killer who built an entire hotel to commit murders in.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Michael Langdon pays his hotel a visit to pick up Queenie in Apocalypse, he immediately drops his smug bravado and lets him proceed.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Agrees with Liz and Iris that the ghosts should stop killing people in the last episode. However, as he even states, this has nothing to do with morals. He simply doesn't want the hotel to get torn down, as he doesn't know what will happen to him and the other ghosts if it were no longer standing.
  • Self-Made Man: March built himself up from humble beginnings; his wealth was earned, not inherited, and so his peers considered him "new money."
  • Serial Killer: His reason for building the Cortez was to have his own murder playground.
  • Slashed Throat: How he offed himself.
  • The Sociopath: Built a hotel solely to have a death trap, for goodness sake.
  • Shoot the Builder: Did this when the builder questioned the hotel blueprints, and later murdered several construction workers as well.
  • Sword Cane: His weapon of choice.
  • Unholy Matrimony: His wife, the Countess, told him not to put a gag in the mouth of a woman he was bricking up inside a wall because she liked to hear the screams.
  • Villainous Rescue:
    • In the past, the Countess was about to jump from a window and end her life, before March rushed to save her.
    • Does this again in the present, rescuing Ramona Royale from Queenie, with the latter's human voodoo doll power having no effect on him because he's a ghost.
  • Wicked Cultured: In addition to being a psychopathic murderer, he's well-read and charming.
  • Yandere: In the penultimate episode, he manipulates John into murdering the Countess when she tries to leave, forcing her to spend an eternity with March.
  • You Are What You Hate: Or rather, You Build What You Hate. Most of the time, March is very proud of the bloody, grand hotel he built. But when The Countess threatens to end their dinner nights together, he breaks down and begs her not to, saying that seeing her is his "sole comfort in this stygian heap!"

    Wuornos 

Aileen Wuornos

Played By: Lily Rabe

  • Ax-Crazy: She's deeply and entirely insane.
  • Berserk Button: She doesn't seem to take too kindly to cops and to an extent men.
  • Character Tics: She has a tendency to bite down on her lower lip.
  • Does Not Like Men: She rants about men taking from her. In real life all her known victims were men.
  • Historical Beauty Update: In reality, Wuornos was an unfortunate-looking woman. Here, she's played by the gorgeous Lily Rabe. All the make-up can't quite disguise Rabe's beauty.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Wuornos was, like Elizabeth Short and the Axeman in seasons before her, a real person.
  • Serial Killer: A rare female example.

    Gacy 

John Wayne Gacy

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/csb22ijuaaare9f001.jpg

  • Affably Evil: Comes across more like a jolly small-town businessman rather than one of America's most infamous serial killers; next to Ramirez, he's one of the most sociable of the dinner guests. Also, when John arrives at the Devil's Night dinner in the finale, Gacy greets him with a massive bear hug.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Gacy struggled with his sexuality from an early age, but exclusively targeted young men and boys. He actively jokes about this during his second appearance while attempting to inspire Jeffrey Dahmer to be more outgoing in selecting fresh victims.
  • Fat Bastard: Like in real life, the Gacy portrayed here is overweight. And a psychotic whack-job.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Like Wuornos, Dahmer and Ramirez, he was a real-life serial killer.
  • Monster Clown: Quite possibly the most infamous non-fictional example in all of history; the media made much of Gacy's clown persona, a performance character he named 'Pogo the Clown'. Contrary to popular belief, he never actually killed while dressed as a clown; in death, however, Gacy gladly dons his makeup before murdering the evening entertainment.
  • Serial Killer: Gacy was a notorious serial killer active in the 1970s.
  • Villains Out Shopping: When John arrives at the dinner, Gacy is having a chat with Richard Ramirez about techniques for making a really good subfloor. During the finale, he's trying to get Jeffrey Dahmer to dance with him.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: As was the case in reality, he styles himself as a respectable businessman, mentioning the fact that he's the owner of a construction firm and a member of the moose club ahead of the fact that he had thirty dead bodies rotting in his crawlspace.

    Dahmer 

Jeffrey Dahmer

Played By: Seth Gabel

  • Depraved Homosexual: He was gay, as were many of his victims.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: His nerdy appearance belies the true monster within.
  • Historical-Domain Character: He was a real-life serial killer of men.
  • Literal-Minded: On their first meeting together, March insisted that Dahmer had to study his victims and get inside their heads; to his bemusement, Dahmer took this as a cue to start drilling holes in the skulls of his victims.
  • The Quiet One: Rarely says anything unless prompted. In fact, the only point when he really comes alive is when his pre-arranged victim enters.
  • Serial Killer: One of the most infamous real-life serial killers ever.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Dahmer comes across as very shy and quiet with a gentle voice.
  • Yandere: Once March brings out his victim for the evening, Dahmer starts getting very insistent that the unfortunate man never leave him. In real life, Jeffrey Dahmer was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.
  • Villainous Crush: On John.
  • Voodoo Zombie: Attempts to turn a victim into one of these by drilling a hole in his skull and pouring acid onto his brain. He is unsuccessful, however, admitting that it “never frigging works, though. They always die, like, ten minutes later.” Note that Dahmer actually did this in real life too.

    Ramirez 

Richard Ramirez

Played By: Anthony Ruivivar

  • Affably Evil: He seems like a remarkably fun guy when he isn't horrifically killing of couples. He's also a nifty dancer.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Ramirez was a real-life serial killer dubbed "The Night Stalker".
  • Serial Killer: He primarily killed couples.

    Zodiac 

The Zodiac Killer

  • Historical-Domain Character: Like with the other serial killers featured, and also the most mysterious one of the five, as no one knew who this person was.
  • Karma Houdini: Was never caught, and in death get to party on Devil's Night.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Possibly. Cult says that the Zodiac Killer was actually Valerie Solanas and her SCUM members but because of the Unreliable Narrator nature of that story, it remains to be seen if the Zodiac Killer was in-fact them.
  • Serial Killer: Probably the most infamous American serial killer ever.
  • The Speechless: Never speaks a word in "Be Our Guest."

    Ten Commandments Killer 

The Ten Commandments Killer

Played By: Wes Bentley

    Addiction Demon 

The Addiction Demon

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ahs_hotel_addiction_demon_1.jpg
Played By: Alexander Ward

  • Advertised Extra: He was promoted pretty heavily before the season began and had a minor role in the premiere, but afterwards his total screentime amounts to less than a minute.
  • And I Must Scream: This is what you're in for if he gets you.
  • Curse: He is a direct manifestation of the evil that exists within the Hotel Cortez.
  • The Dragon: Initially he appears to work for, or be an extension of, Hypodermic Sally. It's later revealed that he is actually James March's Dragon, since he refers to it as "his" demon. Still, the episode also makes it clear that the demon is drawn to Sally in particular, perhaps sensing a kindred spirit.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Addiction is Hotel's prime theme. It is brought up in every episode, whether the Demon makes an actual appearance or not. So he's always there, even when you don't see him.
  • Horny Devils: The Addiction Demon is definitely on the darker end of this trope.
  • Our Demons Are Different: It's a frenzied humanoid with large taloned hands and a drill-bit dildo as a weapon. As can be seen in the image above, there are no human features in the grotesque fleshiness of his entire body. Not something you normally imagine.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: He delivers this 'punishment' upon his victims. With a drill-bit dildo.
  • Sadist: The Addiction Demon prefers his victims to scream.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: In "The Ten Commandments Killer", it is revealed that the Addiction Demon must be appeased by feeding upon the darkness of those who enter the hotel, drawing power from his victims. March later mentions that, if Sally can't keep the Demon under control, this will be her fate.

Los Angeles

1920s

    Valentino 

Rudolph Valentino

Played By: Finn Wittrock

Rudolph Valentino was a famous actor back in the 1920s who had a polyamorous affair with the Countess and his wife Natacha.


  • And I Must Scream: He's sealed off in an abandoned section of the hotel, unable to die or feed, for nearly ninety years.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: He's a carrier of the blood virus. He faked his death so that he could be together with Natacha, and was the person who sired the Countess. Additionally, he was turned by F. W. Murnau, the man behind Nosferatu.
  • Boom, Headshot!: On the receiving end, courtesy of Donovan.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Has difficulty adjusting to how much the world has changed in the time he's spent sealed away in the hotel.
  • Guns vs. Swords: Brandishes a sword against Donovan, who just laughs, pulls out a pistol, and kills him with a single shot to the head.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Rudolph Valentino was a real movie star back in the 20's.
  • Identical Stranger: Subverted. Although he is played by Finn Wittrock, who played Tristan Duffy in earlier episodes of the season, neither the Countess nor March mention or react to Tristan's uncanny resemblance to Valentino when they meet him. Though granted, the Countess does soon take a shine to Tristan and turn him into her latest lover, so she probably recognized the resemblance to Valentino.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: March tries to do this to him and Natacha by having them sealed in an abandoned wing of the hotel. They survive on account of being immortal, and spend almost ninety years sealed away. Years later, after he finally gets out, he gets this treatment again, this time from Donovan, who is successful in murdering him.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He fits this description. The fact that he was the Countess's first love is likely why she pursues men of this type. It's why Donovan takes special care to disfigure his face when he kills him.

    Natacha 

Natacha Rambova

Natacha Rambova was a film costumer and set designer back in the 1920s, who married Rudolph Valentino. They divorced to appease film studios, but Natacha was still involved with Valentino who then brought the Countess into their relationship.


  • And I Must Scream: She's sealed off in an abandoned section of the hotel, unable to die or feed, for nearly ninety years.
  • Bi the Way: Along with Valentino, she seduces a young Elizabeth.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Another carrier of the blood virus, sired by Valentino.
  • Boom, Headshot!: On the receiving end, courtesy of the Countess.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Like her husband, was a real film costumer and set designer back in the 1920s. And unlike the fictional version, her divorce from Valentino was genuine. Needless to say, her turning into a vampire isn't.
  • Like a Duck Takes to Water: Adapts to the changed society far better than Valentino.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: The Countess kills her so she can have Valentino all to herself. Only to find out later that while she was murdering Natacha, Donovan was murdering Valentino for the same reason.

Present day

    Ramona Royale 

Ramona Royale

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/royale_ramona7.jpg
Played By: Angela Bassett

  • Action Girl: A blaxploitation film star. She's one both on and off the set.
  • Anti-Hero: As anti as it gets, considering she takes pleasure in hunting people just as much as any other vampire. However, the fact that she opposes The Countess makes her qualify.
  • Blaxploitation: Was an actress in such films.
  • Bi the Way: Identified herself as heterosexual before meeting the Countess, which made her more fluid.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The Countess and Donovan lock her up and seal her inside of the abandoned wing of the hotel.
  • Karma Houdini: After Liz and Iris freed her from the sealed wing, she get away with all her crimes. Her last appearance is threatening Billie Dean Howard.
  • The Lost Lenore: Not The Countess, but the man she was prepared to leave The Countess for.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: She's based on Pam Grier.
  • Pretty in Mink: Wears a multicolored fur coat.
  • Off Hand Backhand: In her introductory episode, she tases Donovan in the throat when he tries to shank her from behind.
  • Revenge: She kidnaps and tries to ally with Donovan to get vengeance on the Countess, her ex-lover, for killing the love of Ramona's life. She promptly dumps him though when he tells her Elizabeth ended their relationship. Her long term plan is to destroy Elizabeth's little vampire children.
  • Shock and Awe: Wields a taser.
  • The '70s: The era she lived in. She was even an actress starring in Blaxploitation films.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: What's the first thing she does when Will Drake releases her from her neon cage? Slash his throat and drink his blood, of course.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • She plans to kill Elizabeth's abducted children.
    • Her reaction to a bunch of kids getting thrown into her tomb of an abandoned hallway?
    Ramona: Mama smells appetizers!
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Pretends to have car trouble in a shady neighborhood in order to lure and kidnap Donovan.
    • She does it again to Will Drake, pretending to be a helpless victim in need only to turn on him as soon as he drops his guard on her. To be fair, she was weak and in need (of blood).
  • Your Cheating Heart: Falls for a man as she and the Countess began to drift apart. However, in her words, "[The Countess] couldn't stand one of her creations creating something else," and so she murdered Ramona's lover and his production crew.

    Alex 

Alex Lowe

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lowe_alex.jpg
Played By: Chloë Sevigny

  • Adult Fear: When her daughter seemingly goes missing, believing it a repeat of when her son went missing.
  • The Atoner: Possibly. After finding out that she's responsible for the drove of vampire children running rampant in L.A., Alex starts tracking them down in the hopes of containing the situation before they get caught or hurt anyone else.
  • Berserk Button: Parents who don't vaccinate their children. More specifically, parents who don't properly care for or somehow neglect their children.
  • Deal with the Devil: In order to spend eternity with Holden, Alex agrees to let the Countess change her into a vampire.
  • Driven to Suicide: After a year of mourning Holden's disappearance (and presumed death), a depressed Alex tries to kill herself rather than face more pain. Thankfully, John manages to save her.
  • Dr. Jerk: She's cold, distant, and a workaholic. However, she does shows care in her work (she is after all a mother). She doesn't care for neglectful parents.
  • Easily Forgiven: To a ridiculous degree, despite being distant towards her husband and daughter, even gaslighting John just to stay with Holden forever and keeping him to herself while abandoning Scarlett in the process, John STILL takes her back and Scarlet holds no resentment towards her.
  • Foot-Dragging Divorcee: She wants to divorce because she feels that her and John can't overcome the loss of Holden together, and that now their issues are beginning too hurt their daughter Scarlett as well.
  • Gaslighting: She insists to John that he's starting to hallucinate and that he's having a breakdown despite the fact that he did indeed see her and Holden sleeping a glass coffin. It's made worse by the fact that she's decided to actually push John over the edge and cause a breakdown.
  • Heel Realization: When she finally confesses to John everything that happens the two of them have a moment in which they agree that they are the "worst parents ever". However Alex does seem to be aware of her favoritism towards Holden even before that.
  • Hypocrite: She hates neglectful parents and has a habit of scolding them, and has the gal to accuse her busy husband John of neglecting their daughter, despite being far worse in that category given her favoritism of her son and the fact that she outright abandons Scarlett in favor of being with Holden.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Zig-zagged, Alex is a cold, distant, incredibly-blunt workaholic, and she won't hesitate to chew out a parent that she feels is improperly caring for their kid. But at the end of the day, she really does love her husband and daughter, and she does have the best intentions at heart when she treats kids and lectures their parents. However, she has a fairly selfish mindset, as she has no qualms with pushing her husband and daughter away just so she could stay with her vampiric son Holden.
  • Karma Houdini: She faces no punishment whatsoever even after gaslighting her husband, feeding a bunch of vampiric kids to another hungry and stronger vampire and abandoning her daughter, and in fact gets her own happy ending by staying with her dead husband and vampire son.
  • Mama Bear: Mainly towards Holden. She's rather neglectful to Scarlett.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Using the blood virus to save a child dying of measles leads to that child becoming a highly-contagious vampire who infects a bunch of other children, leading them on a killing spree of parents and other adults.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Uses the blood virus to save Mrs. Ellison's dying son, causing the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Ellison, a school massacre, and the creation of a whole host of vampire children.
  • Parental Abandonment: She abandons Scarlett to reunite with Holden in the hotel.
  • Parental Favoritism: She admits loving her son more than her daughter and her husband. She does not seem to be proud of it, however.
  • Parental Neglect:
    • Believes this of people who don't vaccinate their children.
    • It's been subtly implied that Alex herself unknowingly did this to Scarlett due to her favoritism towards Holden. The Countess directly calls her out on it. Though it's debatable whether or not this is actually considering the Countess is not the most well intentioned.
    • It's not even subtle at this point. By the end of 5x04 (and throughout 5x05 and 5x06), Alex has completely abandoned her daughter to spend more time with Holden; with little to no guilt.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Is a workaholic doctor who means well, but doesn't manage to make time for her daughter like her husband does.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Well, vampire children. She works with John to lure Max and the other infected children into the sealed off hotel wing with a starving Ramona Royale. Though, she is technically responsible for their pain and all of the pain that they cause in turn.
  • You Are What You Hate: At the beginning of the season, she is vocal about her passionate hatred for those responsible for taking her son. This gets turned on its head when she finds Holden with The Countess, and quickly becomes her willing servant just to be with him again. Meaning, Alex is actively helping the person who took her son.
    • She also states that she thinks people not vaccinating their children is neglectful and wrong. However once she is given the offer to be with Holden again she immediately abandons Scarlett without any regret.

    Scarlett 

Scarlett Lowe

Played By: Shree Crooks

The young daughter of John and Alex Lowe, and sister of Holden.


  • Break the Cutie: Oh dear god. At the start of the show, she's a nice and quirky little girl, but as the show progressed, you can tell everything about her began to fade away when her own mother flat out abandons her for her now vampire son and of course, witnessing John's mental breakdown.
  • Only Sane Man: In "Battle Royale" when it appears that her family is finally back together, she is naturally skeptical and considers all the flaws in her parents' plan to conceal her vampiric older brother (who now looks younger than she is), continue to feed his and their blood-sucking mother's addiction, and completely ignore the fact that their father has been acting crazy.
  • Outof Focus: Scarlett doesn't appear for quite a few episodes towards the middle of the season.
  • The Pollyanna: She manages to stay remarkably upbeat despite all the shit she has to put up with.
  • The Un-Favourite: She's this to her mother, Alex, even more so when her brother goes missing. Also occurs when Alex becomes a vampire to be with Holden and John continues his work as the TCK, completely neglecting Scarlett in the process.

    Hahn 

Detective Andy Hahn

Played By: Richard T. Jones

    Max 

Max Ellison

Played By: Anton Starkman

  • Curse That Cures: Alex turns him into a vampire to cure his measles-related syndrome, thus setting off a mini-epidemic.
  • Kidanova: Already has a girlfriend in middle school. She's the first vampire he creates.
  • Self-Made Orphan: His parents are his first victims when he gets out of the hospital. Arguably Karmic Death in the case of his mother at least.

    Marcy 

    Billie Dean Howard 

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