American Horror Story “Point of View”

We decided to do our presentation of “American Horror Story: ‘Hotel’ , Season 5, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk.

The scene of the lobby  was actually modeled from a hotel called Cicada. Images were captured using a different angles and 3D images. The cameras used were  “25 mm Panavision and Arri cameras, assorted lenses (including Panavision and Angenieux), Kodak film.”  The details put together, along with decor to create a fantastic look on a black drop back to give different effects. This has an epitome of a Gothic yet modern decor to catch the audience.The scene where lady gaga is in the hallway, Goi took shot of the long hallway dark yet frightening and uncanny. we can compare such long hallways to the description of Bran Castle  mentioned “Dark passage…”(page 28,”Dracula.”)  Showing the Gothic effects of dark hallways with the guy on the ladder with make up. His style of dress and make seems dark. His appearance creepy and represent that of a vampire. 

The scene creates a dark imagery and the small wall lanterns at each door resembles candles being lit instead of actual light. The columns of each door way is that of the 1800 British style house with columns of different color. Also carpet was introduced in those times esp in castles as a sign of royalty, blood bath and representation of blood the vampires crave.

My personal role in the project was the point of view, of the scenes, camera settings, effects and decor. I focused on the reason scenes were modified to give different effects and the representation of how the show is related to the novel Count Dracula. The decor of the hotel in AHS is appealing to the guests with Gothic yet chic style.The slides for the headings and embedded the videos that were chosen for the areas, we focused on. I added finishing touches to make it more appealing and has  Gothic theme to grasp the viewers mind.

The most rewarding part of the presentation was the fact that I get to use my knowledge and talent to present what we learnt  to use the same knowledge and tools to create such an effect. 



Works cited:

Stoker, Bram. “Dracula”. 1897. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Kendricken Dave,”Cinematography of ‘American Horror Story: Asylum’ Uses Classic Tools to Terrify in 35mm” October 31,2012

Vineyard, Jennifer. “Inside the Creepiest Rooms at American Horror Story’s Hotel Cortez.” Vulture, 28 Oct. 2015,

 Blake Lindsay, “Scene It Before: Hotel Cortez from American Horror Story: Hotel”, October 29, 2015,


American Horror Story Observations(setting)

American Horror Story (Observation Settings)


When we had the option to choose a TV series or movies for our gothic space presentation, we chose “American Horror Story” by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. This series has many things in common with the book Dracula. 

As soon as you enter the hotel the first thing you face is the lobby which is dark and weird. Usually, when we go into lobbies of hotels it looks like it’s “happy” with so very bright colors and lighting but the lobby for the Cortez was the opposite. We learned that the gothic-themed setting is usually dark and looks “sad” just like how Jonathan described Dracula’s castle. ( Dracula Page 12 ) Not that but also we see that there is a high ceiling that makes us look like we are small. Also, the red color intended for the couch and the rugs were also like an indication of blood because as we know vampires drink blood to survive. It’s like a sublime we see it’s beautiful but also scary or threatening. We can also relate it to the uncanny where it’s a hotel and we know that and have been to other hotel but this just seems to be different and can’t really familiarize it. When we look at the hallway we see that it’s long and narrow with walls that are yellow and door frames that are red. Usually, the walls are white or decorated that also make the area place look bright or welcoming but instead we have walls that look old, decaying (yellow wall) with blood (red frames). The long hallways make you feel like you might be in maize with secrets in it, can also make you feel claustrophobic because of the small but long space. This can be related to Jonathan how he had so many available doors in Dracula’s castle to explore but he was not allowed to, he felt trapped like a prisoner. 

When I started to do more research on how the settings were made and what was the real purpose of this specific way of look it all came into place. The production designer Worthington really made it clear in an online article, “Inside the Creepiest Rooms at American Horror Story’s Hotel Cortez” he mentioned that the lobby was intended to be a place where the viewers would have a feeling of being “It’s a space out of time,” and the colors were intended to make it like the Depression-era. These were all custom-made for the purpose of this show. He also included that there was a painting of the Aztecs that were a brutal culture and they would do these sacrifices, Worthington said, “one of which involved plunging a knife into the victim’s chest, cutting out the heart, and holding it up while it was still beating.” One thing I did not notice but makes sense is that the columns in the lobby have a design where the capital of the column is a Venus flytrap, Worthington also mentioned in the article. Not only this but he also mentioned that the hallway was intended to look like it goes in circles and may make someone feel like it is a dead end. 


   Works Cited 


Stoker, Bram. Dracula. 1897. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Vineyard, Jennifer. “Inside the Creepiest Rooms at American Horror Story’s Hotel Cortez.” Vulture, 28 Oct. 2015,

Presentation: American Horror Story:The Hotel Cortez

My Original Observation Notes:

Going through scenes and characters from AHS Hotel Cortez and researching photos of similar scenes or in the case of Dracula parts because it is based off a connection to the novel. I was able to research to find photos of the 3 wives in coffins which was discussed in the novel. Vampires in coffins is not only their resting place but a way to protect and preserve themselves. I found this similarity in AHS The Hotel Cortez with The Countess’s (Lady Gaga) “Children”, I was able to find a YouTube video and snap a screen shot showing them in the coffins. While they are more modernized the elements of gothic are present in there design. These coffins like the ones in Dracula are used to protect and preserve the children in hopes of survival of their race. A race that they are trying to expand like Dracula is in the novel. Lady Gaga’s Character The Countess is similar to Dracula as the Children are similar to the three wives.

My Updated Thoughts of the Process:

The process of examining and really picking apart American Horror Story’s The Hotel Cortez was a very interesting one. Originally I was focusing on The Countess which was Lady Gaga’s character. Going through google I found she was based on Countess Elizabeth Bathory from Slovakia. She was known as “Blood Countess so I thought great I’ll really be able to give a bunch to our presentation. As went further into the research I found that the children were actually the best to focus on. It showed me that like with any project focus can shift. Also being that we are dealing with the genre of Gothic it really opens your eyes. When I was directed towards the children being the focus it gave me chills. As human beings we are taught to protect the children. In my research I found that the children where a source of food for The Countess. That in itself really made me think of the uncanny because you don’t know what’s going to happen next, Will the kids survive? Is The Countess going to snatch more kids off the street? Also it was quite easy to relate American Horror Story: The Hotel Cortez  to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. While the show didn’t come straight out and label them Vampires that is automatically where the mind goes.        I found that like in the show Dracula had children that were missing, the vampires were snatching them off the streets. This project really showed me the labyrinth that is Gothic Literature.