Horror movies are often “based on” real-world experiences, but there are few sources of inspiration that are more unnerving than the chilling viral video that birthed this season of “American Horror story.”
“American Horror Story: Hotel” creator Ryan Murphy was on hand at today”s TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour to talk about the upcoming season, which he assured will “return to the Season 1 roots” and “tap into true primal fears.”
He”s off to a good start in terms of inspiring a visceral sense of terror if the origin of this season”s story is anything to judge by. The idea for “Hotel” – which takes place in a downtown Los Angeles hotel and taps into “real American horrors” – came to Murphy after watching a viral video of Elisa Lam in what appear to be her final moments on Earth.
Lam was a Canadian student whose body was discovered in water tank on the roof of the Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles on February 19, 2013. At the time, the LAPD released an eerie video that shows security footage of Lam in an elevator of the hotel. She is seen talking to someone (unseen) possibly outside of the elevator, entering, and then exiting again mysteriously. She appears to be arguing with the other person and then finally relenting. This was the last time she was seen before she died.
The video went viral and inspired a wide range of theories about her death – from mental illness to paranormal causes. The Cecil”s connection to previous notable deaths added fuel to the fire, particularly in regards to the supernatural speculation.
Here are just a few examples: 1) Elizabeth Short, who is the woman who was killed in what became known as the Black Dahlia murder was reportedly at the Cecil before she died. 2) Another crime that was never solved was the rape and murder of Goldie Osgood, the “Pigeon Lady of Pershing Square”, in her room in the Cecil. 3). Serial killers Jack Unterweger and “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez both resided at the Cecil while they were on their sprees.
However this season unfolds, the inspiration is truly unnerving. You can take a look at the video of Lam below…but I wouldn”t advise if you want to rest soundly tonight.