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Opening Credits Sequence:
The opening credits appear throughout this sequence. Pay attention to the imagery - they tell a harrowing tale of torture and power.

Tip: For a more complete experience, play the theme music
   in the background while you read through this page:

"Nightmare on the 13th Floor - Main Theme"
- Jay Gruska

We start with an image of a terrified victim, obviously being tortured, and being looked down upon by his torturers - demonic, monster like creatures, laughing ominously and smiling with excitement as they cause pain upon this man...

On Closer Inspection...:
The cast names are written in a red Caslon Antique font:



Michele Greene (from TVs "LA Law") stars as the lovely Elaine Kalisher, a writer who travels around the world writing articles on 5-star travel destinations. She is curious in nature and will stop at nothing until she has obtained the whole story. Elaine leaves her quaint suburban home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, headed for Los Angeles, California, to write a travel article on the acclaimed "Wessex Hotel", a Victorian-style hotel built in 1898. She ends up getting more than she bargains for and the scope of her article completely changes from croissants - to murder...

The scenes transition from one to another with ominous fade in and outs used to build a sense of dramatic flair - the darkness of the imagery and the use of blacks and greys add contrast and mood to the nightmarish carvings...

For more detailed information on any of the characters listed throughout, please refer to the Cast section of this guide.

The scene fades upon a similar incident - a mortified victim, with a look of terror in his eyes, screaming in agony as serpents and demonic figures prey upon his weaknesses and eventually, his soul.


John Karlen stars as Detective Sargeant Madden, the completely overworked, yet extremely effective at what he does, LAPD Sargeant, who is thrown into the middle of all of the madness at the Wessex Hotel when Elaine Kalisher insists she witnessed a murder, somewhere in the hotel. Although every floor was examined, and nothing found, Elaine refuses to quit searching for the truth. The Sargeant is thrown into a a world he never thought possible and, this time, it seems, it would have been better if he had never found "the truth"...

The camera slowly pans to the left, showing more of one of the balder demons - complete with pointed ears, and a wide, devilish smile...

The camera continues panning to the left, where we notice a familiar sight - one of the axes placed behind the first figure - the demonic-looking goateed figure - that we were introduced to when the movie title first appears. You can see part of the figures face to the left of the axe.


Hardworking and extremely proficient, Letti Gordon (played by the remarkable Louise Fletcher) keeps the entire bottom two service floors of the Wessex running smoothly and efficiently. She is in charge of accepting deliveries and packages, authorizing entry for the laundry service, flower deliverers and other workers, manning the kitchen and ice sculptors and planning activities for the day for areas of the Hotel such as prep for the Garden Cafe and the Ballroom. She seems to have ulterior motives, however...

There are more carvings of the arabesque. Pointy-eared demons with a look of evil... Slithery serpents...


Smiling yet stern, Alan Fudge plays the roll of Jacob Rogas, manager of the Wessex Hotel. Like the rest of the staff, he has a friendly and professional demeanor and, as manager, seems to solve problems around the hotel effectively. When faced with the possibility of jailtime and the closure of the hotel, however, the usually calm and confident Mr. Rogas turns into a nervous wreck. Because he would anything it takes to save both his reputation and his hotel, a little reassurance is all it requires to help to get him back on the right track.

The next image presents the same as the first: a terrified victim, obviously being tortured, and being looked down upon by his torturers - demonic, monster like creatures, laughing omniously and smiling with sure excitement as they cause pain upon this man...


Running a practice over on 32nd Street, Dr. Alan Lanier also runs a small office at the Wessex Hotel, becoming the regular doctor upon the prior hotel doctor's retiring. Seemingly happy, the doctor seems very proficient at his practice. He joins upon Elaine's quest to find "the truth", and although he helps provide her with answers to most of her questions, he tries hard to keep her from delving too deep, in an effort to keep her safe...

Also Starring

Terri Treas plays the roll of Judith Teller, an ex-flight attendent who spent many years in the air, and, after being put up at the hotel for a night, fell in love with the place and decided to put in an application. Now the conceierge of the hotel, Judith will do anything she can to make sure your stay is the best one yet. To make sure, however, all one must do is call with a request, and she will take care of it personally.


Polite and well-worded, Abraham is the operator of the Registration Desk of the Wessex Hotel. Played by Alan Haufrect, Abraham will help find you a room, find reservations, and arrange for your luggage to be taken to your room. Although he is extremely efficient at what he does, he is generally softspoken. Don't worry about any questions or concerns you may have, however, for he is happy to help accommodate you in any way he can.

There are more images of horned beasts, strangulation and other acts of terror.


Juliana (Juli) Donald plays the roll of Juli, the perky young hotel waitress. Charming in appeal, she will serve you coffee and croissants as you dine in the hotel's "Garden Cafe". She also brings you the telephone if you have a call. She is a good girl that seems to have a lot on her mind...


Working for the City Engineer's office, and possessing access to the floor plans of the Wessex Hotel, Kerry Noonan plays the roll of Gail Myers, a sweet young lady who helps Elaine on her quest to find out if there really is anything hidden within the hotel or not...


Strong and proud, Creeson is the doorman of the Wessex Hotel. Played by Steve Eastin, he is the first staff member you will meet upon arriving at the hotel and provides your initial welcome and goodbye. He will open taxi doors for visitors arriving and leaving, secure your luggage, and make sure it is given to the hotel's porter. He prevents derelicts from hanging out around the hotel, and although he is sometimes ignored, he maintains a sense of diligence.


Norma MacMillan plays the roll of Mrs. Beecher, a kind old lady who spent 30 years of her life with her husband down on a little farm they own in Silo, Minnesota. After her husband passed away two years ago, she became "free-as-a-bird" and decided to do a little sight-seeing as a present to herself. She is now staying at the Wessex Hotel while she is in town to attend a convention on crystals, "three blocks down and one block over" from the hotel. She must have forgotten about breakfast with Elaine... or did she?


Jeff Marcus plays the hotel porter. He is in charge of carrying a hotel patron's luggage to his room, opening and closing both ventilation and windows, and help provides a valuable service to the hotel by running errards or delivering food, drink or newspapers to the patron's room.


Harvey Vernon plays the roll of Father Thomas G. Bergin, a priest whose faith relies solely in God, and although he knows that Satan is real, he doesn't necessarily believe that contact with Satan may be made by the taking of human life. His father, however, believed strongly that it could, and spent the rest of his life looking for answers...


Molly Morgan plays as Wendy, Elaine's sweet and caring, but a little clumsy, housesitter who watches over her place while she is away writing articles. She checks the mail, waters the plants, and takes care of Elaine's best friend - her cat Stanley.

Music by

Film Editor

The camera focuses on the face of the tortured victim seen at the beginning of the sequence. The fixation of the camera is on the look of sheer terror in his eyes. The concrete carvings are extremely elaborate: eye balls, nostrils, lips, teeth, even eyelashes are present. Someone obviously put a lot of time and attention in to the creation of these images.

The sun plays a vital roll here. While the fixation is on the look of terror in the man's eyes, the sun begins moving around the image, creating a shadow. The shadow slowly begins covering the man's face, engulfing it in darkness. This is an important plot element as it suggests the man's fate is sealed... Many people are afraid of the dark, and the darkness appearing over his eyes induces a certain fear: not only is the man being tortured, but by losing the ability to see what is happening, all he can do is feel the pain of wreeting agony being created by his torturers. The encroaching darkness adds credence to the idea of not wanting to be alone, as it appears the man is being dragged to hell, tortured the whole time, with no one to help or hear him scream.

Production Designer

Musical Note:
The music lightens up and things begin to become cheerier. The mood now seems lighter and it begins to feel like maybe things might be okay, after all.

It is slowly being revealed that the demonic imagery are part of an elaborate concrete mural.

The mural is revealed to be part of an elaborate frieze, wrapped around a building.

The use of demonic imagery around the frieze of a building is stereotypical in the design of buildings today. The artwork is generally regarded historically as a way of keeping evil spirits from entering the building. This is reminiscent of a homeowner who places mirrors in his windows or a layer of salt in front of all of his openings. The concept is based upon the fact that demons do not know that they look like demons, nor do they accept the fact that they look so morbid in nature, and so to see themselves (or a mural of other demons) would be enough to scare them away. Fear in a demon, however, seems to be a contradiction, and whether or not the frieze is successful in its plight to keep evil out of the building, is unknown...

Because the purpose of the design of the frieze was originally a good one, nobody suspects anything with the hotel being wrapped with demonic imagery. Having it is a good thing, because it is meant to ward off evil. And because everybody knows this, there is never any thought put in to the notion that the imagery depicts horrific events that may have transpired within the hotel... Right?

Director of Photography

The frieze is part of an elaborate entabulature, with decorative cornicepieces above and below. The cornice on top of the frieze is directly below a row of windows, set amidst a beige/antique white colored wall.

There are 3 foot, double-hung, 16-panel gridwork windows throughout the wall, directly above the frieze.

Supervising Producer

Written by

On Closer Inspection...:
The 14th floor contains exactly 10 feet highs worth of brick above the cornice of the frieze to the bottom of the architrave.

Errors in Continuity:
The movie later reveals that the frieze is concealing the hotel's 13th floor. The entabulature runs from the very top of the 12th floor windows to the very bottom of the 14th floor windows. The hotel has 16 floors (main floors, that is; we eventually learn there are 19 floors, total) and that there are three sets of windows above the top cornice of the frieze - the 14th, 15th and 16th floors, respectively. The 14th floor is the beige/antique white colored floor, while the top two floors are the natural color of the brick, same as the 4th through 12th floors. This is proven later on as the rendering of the hotel provided in the blueprints at the City Engineer's office depict three sets of windows above the frieze. As the camera pans towards the top of the building, however, there are only two sets of windows. Where is the 16th floor?

Directed by

The camera stops its focus on the sign on top of the building. It's a gigantic sign, 16 feet in width and 8 feet in height. It's lettering, a prominent white serifed font, reads "Wessex Hotel", and resides upon the gigantic black metal gridwork used to support them. When the building was first built, and there weren't any tall buildings blocking the view, it is likely that the sign added a prominance to the building that allowed it to be seen from several miles away. This probably made the hotel a busy hub for business travelers.

On Closer Inspection...:
The cream colored architrave above the final floor is separated from the same colored crown moulding on the top by exactly 2 feet of brick. This buildup allows for the hiding of the rubberized roof used to cricket the water into hidden gutters built into the building, which help to carry the water to the garden in back of the hotel.

The Victorian-style architecture helps provide a characteristic charm to the hotel.

As the West began to become more populated, building materials started to become more readily available, and craftsmen skilled in the usage of these materials began moving into the region in clusters. Because of this, architectural styles began to change. Loneliness became a thing of the past as comforts of home began being added into their daily living. To remind them of home (in this case, the East), they began incorporating the Victorian-style architecture the Easterners brought over from England when the county was first founded. What would wind up occuring would be a charming array of elegantly built structures that would definitely achieve their purpose: the loneliness of the range would be replaced by a sense of stately and homely eloquence. Before too long, Western towns such as Los Angeles would become the busiest communication hubs in the nation.

This is one reason why hotels like the Wessex are so large and grandeurious.

And with this the opening credits sequence comes to an end. Elaine's flight arrives at the airport in Los Angeles and she is able to catch a cab. The Wessex seems like a perfect place for Elaine to relax for a few days.