Since I dressed up (twice) last Thursday for the Girl Scouts Trunk or Treat Fest and last Saturday for the Thrill the World Zombie Dance, I decided that I needed to chill on the ACTUAL Halloween holiday. I binge watched Season 5 of American Horror Story “Hotel” on Netflix today and I LOVE IT!!! Two words: Lady Gaga. She is spectacular as a blood-sucking vampiress with the absolute best taste in clothes since Elsa Mars (American Horror Story, Season 4 “Freak Show”). The writers have taken cringe-worthy, blood-curdling, horror to a previously unexplored level this season.
The Cecil Hotel opened in downtown Los Angeles in 1924 and was the inspiration for this season of AHS. The Cecil Hotel (in real life) became the backdrop for many gruesome murders, suicides, drug overdoses and just plain weird creepiness like ghosts and maniacs. To name just a few: The Night Stalker (AKA Richard Ramirez), a serial killer who terrorized residents of LA and San Francisco once lived at the Cecil and used it as his homebase when going on killing sprees. In homage to the Night Stalker, a copycat serial killer from Austria (Johann Unterweger) used the Cecil as his homebase when he began his killing spree of Los Angeles area prostitutes. He posed as a true-crime journalist researching the killing of prostitutes for his book. Twisted. The Black Dahlia (AKA Elizabeth Short) is believed to have been leaving the Cecil the night she was murdered. A former mental patient from Oakland purchased a gun and perched himself atop the Cecil and shot off 15 rounds just to prove how easy it was for a former mental patient to purchase a gun and become a sniper. Whoa, dude.
My most memorable tale of the Cecil Hotel was told to me by my DJ friend in LA on one of my many visits to see him. We were leaving Salvage, a nightclub, and we stopped at the LA Café to get a grilled cheese and lobster sandwich during the wee hours of the morning. As we sat and munched, he pointed out the Cecil Hotel and told me it’s latest gruesome story. This was circa 2013. It seems a young woman went missing at the hotel and was found weeks later in the water tank after hotel guests complained about the taste, smell and color of the hotel’s water. Creepy. And sad. But very inspirational if you are a horror writer. Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? Things that make you go hmmm….. and BUMP in the night.