Elaine, knowing where she needs to go, presses the button labeled "16". There sure are a lot
of floors for her to uncover. This is good for quenching her curious nature and she is more than excited to
undergo the task ahead. And what could be better that getting to start by exploring the very top floor.
|On Closer Inspection...:|
|Each floor has a "descriptor label" which tells the focal point on the floor.
These are handtyped labels that appear to be fairly old. This is to make it easier for service workers to find
certain rooms. While some of the labels in the elevator are quite clear, others are quite the opposite.
Throughout the top two rows of buttons we can make out:|
The buttons appear to be very old (as do the entire elevator).
|As soon as Elaine presses the button for the 16th floor, the music turns
slightly ominous. The music portrays an eerie feeling throughout this scene, but maintains very soft, almost as
if trying to remain in the background. The eerie softness creates the perfect compliment to the what is going to
Elaine looks happily at the numbers above the door, watching the floors pass by as the elevator is rising.
|While the elevator is rising, we see a shot of the pulley that is pulling the
elevator upward. The two thick, heavy cables supporting the elevator wind and unwind around the pulley in a set
pattern. Ascending in the elevator causes the pulley to make a squeaking sound, that seems to come after
each full rotation of the pulley. It adds a sense of unstableness knowing this ancient, squeaking pulley is
pulling the elevator 18 floors upward and knowing that at any time the pulley or the cable could fail, causing the
elevator to plummet...|
|We see a shot of the elevator, rising through a scantly lit shaft. It creates
a feeling of loneliness and slight claustrophobia. The elevator continues grinding as it passes by the 5th and
|The metal grating resembling chain-link on the sides of the service elevator
are vents to allow circulation of air as food, trash and other odorferous items are carried through up and down
from the service floors. Unlike the passenger elevators, which do not necessarily need ventilation, the service
elevator's possession of ventilation is a must.|
The elevator seems very ominous and is definitely not as clean as the passenger elevators! Elaine looks around
to gain a better sense of her surroudings. She looks up first as she moves her gaze around the elevator.
|Psychology teaches us that almost everybody, upon entering a new space, will
always look up, first. This is a normal response towards human curiousity as most glance left to right and top to
bottom. We look up to gain a better perspective of the space we are in, as humans tend to love larger locations
with high ceilings while feeling a tinge of claustrophobia in areas with smaller ceiling heights. Ironically
enough, altocelarophobia is a condition in which people are afraid of rooms with high ceilings, while
claustrophobia also encompasses the fear of small rooms or rooms without windows, such as in a closet or
Elaine, luckily isn't afriad being in the elevator, although she seems just a tad bit unnerved. The lighting in
the elevator is fairly dim, the elevator is very old and slightly dingy, and it squeaks profusely...
Elaine pans her gaze around the room, until her eyes notice something in the back left corner of the
|On Closer Inspection...:|
There is a solitary boot in the elevator. It is a man's cowboy boot, somewhere in the range of a size 9-12.
It would fit the right foot and is black with a white western themed pattern running along the sides. The toes
and heel are adorned in a shiny silver plating. Why is there only one boot? Where is the other
Elaine shrugs it off and turns her attention back to the numbers in the elevator.
The 9 flashes off and,
as the elevator approaches the 10th floor, the number 10 illuminates with a yellowish backlight.
The metal grating used on the wall behind the numbers provide and old and ancient feel. Even the antique
numerals provide a feel that one might be trapped in a time loop. Used in combination with the newness felt
throughout the rest of the hotel, the elevator almost seems to be an anachronism. Also note that the door to
each floor contains a small window which helps to add light into the shaft. As the elevator ascends past each
door, the light will go away, causing the elevator to be overcast with shadows that alternate between light,
shadow, light, shadow, etc. The transition of light to dark causes an uneasy feeling, which also goes to
attribute to earlier established importances for the necessity of light and the concept that darkness and
loneliness go hand in hand.|
The camera switches back to a shot of the pulley, but this time we see a different pulley. A single pulley
that is adjacent to the pulley from the earlier shot. This pulley is responsible for guiding the double cable
that is unwinding off of the other pulley by keeping it in a straight line. This a another reminder of the
abundance of ancient machinery that is responsible for raising and lowering the elevator a total of almost 180
feet from Elaine's starting point.|
There is another shot of the elevator rising, this time shown from a side perspective. We can see through the
ventilation grating, and you can see a small flourescent light on the top of the elevator. While it's meant to
illuminate the interior of the elevator, it still appears to make the inside feel dull and dreary. The side
shot of the elevator also helps to further the idea of so much machinery being used to operate the elevator, and
establish a further concept of lonliness and isolation. Plus mixed with the thought ascending so far upward
inside of a lonely shaft, supported only by ancient machinery, further creates a feeling of unstability and
The elevator travels past the 12th floor, arriving at the 14th. Elaine anxiously stares at the numbers. She's
so close to arriving at the ballroom she has been patiently waiting to see. The thought is sure to have
crossed her mind about the absense of the 13th floor, however, being a world renowned travel writer, she has
more than likely been to several different hotels throughout her lifetime that do not contain a 13th floor.
It's a superstition we will learn more about later. Elaine more than likely thinks nothing of its absense.
The numbers change from 14 to 15. Elaine has only one floor to go! The excitement has been building ever since
she left, even with the thought of plummeting to her death alone in a dingy elevator.
So far it has been a fairly calm and decent Monday morning. Sure, Elaine had to rush getting ready because of
Wendy breaking the porcelin rabbit kettle, and Letti might have been a little onerey, but all is okay.
Everything seems to be going just fine. Everyone seems to be treating her very well. The excitement of
finally reaching the floor is overwhelming.|
Elaine flying out on a Monday was a cost-efficient decision. The earlier in the week a flight is the cheaper
you can get it. This of course, versus flying closer to the weekend, when most people are wanting to travel for
pleasure. The cheapness of an earlier flight is generally the most popular choice for business travelers such
as Elaine. And arriving on a Monday gives her an entire week to explore.|
Today being a Monday is an educated guess that can be made through evidence found later within the
All of a sudden there is an ominous whistle and a click. With sparks and smoke coming from the mechanism at the
top, the elevator comes to a stop.
The pulley comes to a stop. We see that it is supported only by an axle approximate a 1½ in diameter.
It is probably made of iron or tempered steel, as it is what helps hold the elevator from crashing.
Poor Elaine. The journey started with such gusto and excitement. Now it's seeming to end up being an ominous
prelude to the journey ahead.
We see a shot of the other pulley, once more. The open gap between cables appeared on the left when we
started, implying the the bottom floors from from the left of the pulley. The gap now appears on the right side
of the pulley, with the cable stopped approximately two rotations from completing it's journey to the top.
There is another shot of the elevator from up above, but the elevator is stopped, looming in the isolated and
desolate shaft. Light from windows at the very top provide the only lighting within the shaft. The scantness
of luminescence and the view of looking vertically down the empty shaft until we see the elevator a couple of
floors below definitely a sense of lonliness and an overall creepy feeling.
Staring down the empty elevator shaft induces many feelings, such as striking a chord in the hearts of those
with a fear of falling down an elevator shaft, for instance. Phobias associated with the feeling include:|
"Acrophobia" - an extreme or irrational fear of heights, also
known as "altophobia",
"batophobia" or "hypsiphobia";
"Barophobia" - an intense and
persistent fear of gravity (and,
for example, the fear of falling down an elevator shaft
to gravity); and
"Bathmophobia" also known as
"climacophobia" - an
abnormal and irrational fear of stairs, steeps slopes or
Elaine tries pressing the button for the 15th floor. The elevator does nothing.
She tries pressing 14. Nothing.
Elaine tries pressing the button for the 8th floor. Still... nothing happens.
Elaine seems to be getting a little worried.
Elaine: Oh, great, what am I supposed to do now?
Elaine presses 11 before finally giving up.
We see the mechanism at the top once more, still shooting out sparks. There is a pop and a screech. Obviously
the mechanism is shorting out, and unfortunately, it just so happened to wait until Elaine was in it, to do
Elaine's worst fear has come true! The elevator starts dropping. Elaine grabs the elevator's panel box, trying
to hang on.
An ominous red light flashes behind her. Elaine looks around, fearful of what is happening. Her heart is
Poor Elaine! The last thing she probably wants is to die in some dingy hotel service elevator. What makes it
worse is that the only mourners at her funeral would more than likely be Wendy, Wendy's mom and Elaine's cat
Stanley. Elaine has no choice but to make it out alive so that she can date and start gaining friends through a
newly acquired social life. Maybe her life of being alone will turn out to be a bad thing.
We see a side shot of the elevator. It is continually dropping and appears to be gaining momentum as the weight
of the elevator and gravity work hand in hand. It drops one floor.
The elevator makes a horrible, nerve-racking squeal as it falls.
|Foreshadowing the Future:|
|Elaine looks around, obviously still in shock. This is more than
likely the first time anything like this has happened while exploring a travel destination. Everything
seemed to be quintessentially perfect when she started the trip. And now, she might be plummeting to her
We see another side shot of the elevator, still dropping... It drops one more floor. And still, it squeals
horribly, akin to metal on metal screeching.
We see another shot of the pulley, unwinding cable, and dropping rapidly and steadily.
There is a shot of the mechanism up top, still broken, and obviously badly damaged.
About this time, the emergency brakes kick in. A buzzer goes off, perfectly in time with the music. The
elevator illuminates in red, and the sudden force from stopping in midfall throws Elaine back onto ground.
The forceful impact from the stop caused Elaine to be thrown back with enough force to cause her to lose
|Elaine would not have hit her head had it not have been for the fact that
there is a 3½ by 1½ board running along the back wall of the elevator, approximately 6 inches
off of the floor. It's purpose is simple and practical. It is used in the same fashion that chair rail is used
to keep chairs from scraping a wall. The board in the elevator is used to prevent service carts from banging
against the wall of the elevator. It is high enough to stay above the top of the wheels (as they protude slightly
farther out than the frame of the cart) and to be avoided being used as a kickplate, but low enough to not cause
an interference. Unfortunately, it just so happened to be in the exact location in which Elaine's head will come
down and hit, thereby forcing her to lose consciousness.|
|The elevator is shown again, looking at it from up above, lonely as it sits
a few floors below the camera filming it. The emptiness and lonliness felt are plot elements employed to make us
feel those very emotions. We see the elevator in the shaft. We see the shaft is empty and that the elevator is
just dangling there... We feel empathy for Elaine as there is no one around to help her in her time of need. She
is alone. And we feel scared for her.|
The top mechanism makes a loud hum, which lasts for about 2 seconds. It is still smoking from having almost
caught on fire when the piece started sparking earlier. The shortage means the elevator will have to be fixed,
but nobody will know until the service staff go to use it (when they begin transporting the flower arrangements,
ice scupltings, and edible goodies to the ballroom for tonight's reception), or unless someone remembers Elaine
going up and not returning.
|It was approximately 3 pm when Elaine took this trip. It is unknown for how
long she has laid in the elevator unconscious, but it has more than likely been about 30 minutes to an hour. By
now, it is probably about 3:30-4 in the afternoon. Elaine slowly begins to wake up as she is regaining
|The elevator is still bathed with the glow from the red warning light. It
gives the scene a sense of suspense and danger.|
|The use of red as a plot element (and there is plenty of it - i.e, the
carpeting throughout the Wessex) is very important as, used as a dark element, it envokes feelings of blood and
other feelings of demonic and satanic imagery...|
Elaine grabs back of head to rub away headache given by smashing it earlier.
Elaine slowly begins to pick herself up off of the floor. She struggles as the fall has left her weak and
After picking herself up, she uses her right hand to reach for her neck, to rub a little soreness away and to
check and see that she's still alive.
|This is a psychological reflex. The body tends to reach and feel its head
after an accident in an effort to assure itself that it is okay. Trauma to the head is common upon falls such as
Elaine and if Elaine didn't receive a concussion or any kind of trauma, it's more than likely she just has a
Elaine brings her hand down and glances up towards the numbers up top. Elaine's startled gaze implies that
nothing is lit up, as she has landed between floors.
|We feel major empathy for Elaine, knowing her prediciment. She is alone,
scared, and stuck in an abandoned elevator shaft in an elevator dangling over a hundred feet from the ground. The
omnipressant red backdrop and shadows illuminating as Elaine walk, mixed with the dark and haunting score, really
help the viewer to understand the horror that Elaine is experiencing.|
Elaine looks around and then at the panel. She tries pressing the button for the 11th floor... nothing.
She presses 4... nothing...
Elaine looks upward as she yells:
Elaine: Help! Someone help me please!
|We see another picture of the elevator as it is being looked down upon from
a higher perspective within the shaft. We hear Elaine's cries for help as they echo throughout the dark, empty,
and ominous shaft. This definitely helps to envoke a feeling of loneliness as Elaine is placed in a situation to
which she is utterly powerless. Usually in control of all things within her life, she is now helpless, scared and
alone. Her screams fade away but no one seems to be close enough to the shaft to hear them.|
Elaine hopes that she might be able to free herself if she can get the door open.
She reaches for the retractable metal gate. She pulls it back, by sliding it to the left. She makes sure it is
open fully before reaching for the main door.
|We see that there is indeed a second door that closes behind the retractable
gate. As with newer elevators, this is a safety feature. There is an external door on each floor with a
kickblock behind it to keep the doors from being opened without the elevator stationed behind it. (So you don't
open the door and fall down an empty shaft...) In the elevator itself there is the retractable gate as well as
secondary sliding door, this one to keep you safe in case the metal gate is opened while ascending or
Elaine pulls back the safety door, which in turn grabs ahold of the door to the floor above it, pulling it open
as well. The camera perspective is now on the floor, facing Elaine as she opens the door. Her head is the only
thing visible from over the floor that she is on.
|As soon as the elevator door is opened, we can hear the same, older,
turn-of-the-century, ragtime piano theme that caught Elaine's attention upon first arriving in her room. It is
likely that she remembers the tune from earlier.|
|On Closer Inspection...:|
|There is a bust on a little table across from the elevator. The table is a
half-round wooden table, with three, half naked Satyrs used for legs to help it stand. A Satyr comes from Greek
mythology, and is half goat, half man. They can carry a very negative connotation and are sometimes attributed
to being evil. The bust appears to be a head of Apollo, the Greek god of war. This would play fittingly in
the 13th floor's predominanent use of satanic imagery. The bottom three feet of the wall utilize a rich brown
wainscotting that look very similar to the rich brown wainscotting used within the Mezzanine level. It is very
likely that all of the floors carried a similar look, and in an effort to update itself, painted the brown to
more cheery, lighter colors. The next five feet of wall is adorned with an ornate red and yellow
wallpaper. The wallpaper stops at a layer or trim, known as picture rail, eight feet off of the
ground and the remaining two feet of wall is bare plaster with a piece of crown moulding at the very top. There
are two wall sconces across from the elevator that appear to be gaslit, as well as an ornate, tessilating,
ornamental rug on the floor in front of the elevator.|
|The hotel loves its half-round tables. In fact, they are everywhere. This is the first, and I'll point out the rest as we come across them.|
From the light cast upon the wall by the open door of the elevator, we can see a shadowed silhouette of a man
falling forward, facedown, after being struck in the back by something we cannot identify, by someone we cannot
see. It is a troublesome sight.
The man falls onto the carpet, where he happens to make contact with Elaine. Blood is drizzling from his mouth
and appears to be in a lot of pain.
Man 1: Uuuh... Help me...
Elaine is mortified as she watches, unable to help.
|The reason for the length of the scene is important for psychological reasons.
Elaine doesn't just have one quick look at the man and that is it. She witnesses his pain and is unable to help
him escape his agony for a full 16 seconds. It is likely that it can't be a dream, for Elaine received some
serious interaction time. If it were a dream, it probably wouldn't have lasted but for more than a second or two.
But Elaine had more than enough time to truly soak in what was happening around her.|
The trail of blood coming from the man's mouth is getting larger.
Man 1: For God's sake, please... help me...
Elaine is powerless to help, and watches as the man disappears, obviously being dragged away from by the
elevator by the very man who took his life.
|This marks the second death (Death #2) at the
hotel since Elaine has arrived, and marks (Death #10) on the hotel's current count...|
|As all victims are placed in the elevator to be shipped up to await execution,
it is likely that the man was already on the floor, before Elaine ventured up. The elevator couldn't have been
used to bring the man up as it was tied up with Elaine, and the staff doesn't seem to use the service stairs but
for special occasions, so it is likely that the man was drugged the night before and smuggled into a room on the
floor. He is just now waking up, and didn't even have a chance to make it to the elevator door, before he was
taken down... Either that or it's just a really, really bad nightmare. But for as long as Elaine was able to
witness the man in his current state, it makes it seem more like reality than a dream induced from hitting your
head. Only a doctor will know for sure.|
|It is questionable as to whether or not Elaine's screams were heard, as we
will learn later it is possible to hear a person yelling from outside the shaft. She might have been drowned out
by the piano theme playing in the background. It also makes you wonder, seeing Elaine could hear the song
earlier, coming from the vent in her room, if she could also be able to hear screams, assuming they were coming
from near where the music is coming from...|
|It is likely that the silver-toed boot on the elevator belongs to the patron
that just got murdered.|
Elaine watches in terror as the man is dragged away, and begins to sink backwards, obviously relosing
consciousness after such a mind boggling event. The camera fades to black, obviously mimicking the delirium
Elaine is currently experiencing.
||While they are perhaps more Cultural Differences than Alternate Scenes, the pictures at left come in the form of back cover boxart. The first is used on the film's Spanish release, while the second is used on the film's Sweedish and French releases. These both show Elaine from a different angle, and with a different facial expression than that used within the film itself.|
CONTINUE TO PAGE #7