13TH FLOOR OF THE WESSEX HOTEL
The primary door seems to open, almost by itself. The retractable metal gate also appears to open by itself, and does so only a split second after the primary door begins sweeping open. Through the gate we can see Elaine, wide eyed as she stares out.
Elaine maintains this look as both doors sweep out of her way and we can get a better look at her face.
|"Ragtime Piano" is already playing in the background as Elaine arrives on the floor.|
We see a familar sight as the camera pans from right to left. There is the bust on the small table with Satyrs for legs, the antique peeling wallpaper, the two gaslight sconces, providing ample luminescense, the deep brown trim and the Oriental rug. The wallpaper peeling above the sconce on the right looks dangerously close to eventually starting a fire. Unless the globe can prevent the paper from reaching the flame.
Elaine steps out of the elevator. Yep. This is definitely what she remembers seeing earlier... what she was trying so hard to describe. This is the floor she has been trying to uncover and discover, for almost ¾ of the movie. She takes it all in, getting an up close, first hand look at the floor she wanted to find so badly.
Elaine turns to her right, facing center of the small corridor. She is intrigued as she takes everything in.
Elaine begins to descend the four small steps leading away from the elevator. She gingerly wavers her hand in front of a cobweb covered corner, obviously taking in the antiquity of the floor.
Her shoes make a definitive tap on the floor as she walks down the steps.
The area straight ahead is a dead end with a picture on the wall, but Elaine can see a slight bit of luminescence coming from the hallway to the right.
Elaine doesn't know what to expect, but she thinks she's lost the staff. She slowly starts to turn right.
|The music rises in, rather ominously, as Elaine turns the corner.|
The camera depicts the view from Elaine's perspective. We can hear Elaine's footsteps correlating to the camera view as Elaine steps center of the hallway.
|What in the world is this? An entire floor reminiscent of the ones Elaine had just run through. Well, after all it was a floor in the hotel. One, 100 years ago, Elaine could have been able to run through freely. If she were alive, that is. Elaine's interest is peaked as she feels like she has entered a time machine and traveled back to a floor untouched by time. There were a few more load bearing columns which make the area look slightly creepier. It goes to show that if other floors had just as many columns, and some were taken out during the great renovation, not all of them are thence columns that bear the load of the floors above. They were for decoration and uniformity only. The original columns protrude out from the wall farther as well, giving an even creepier feeling knowing that someone could be hiding behind one. The original gas light sconces flicker with a drab orange light that only half illuminates the antique wallpaper, dark brown paneling, and oil stained paster walls above the picture rail. The area is dark and ominous, and Elaine walks with caution. She is facinated by how much of the floor's original look has been retained, and imagines the entire hotel resembling this floor. Wouldn't seem like too welcome of a sight being treated to the drab ominousness that this floor presents, but it was probably, at the very least, a decent and charming place to stay. All Elaine knows is that ceiling lights, table lamps, and white paint were essential upgrades during the great renovation, that the hotel desperately required to survive.
|On Closer Inspection...:|
|There are a lot of structural aspects about the 13th Floor which intrigue Elaine, including the wallpaper at left. From a distance, the tessalating pattern appears to resemble faces, and it's certainly nothing like anything found elsewhere in the hotel. While the other floors more than likely did possess wallpaper (and especially if it were the same color as the swatch used on the 13th Floor), removing them and then just painting the walls was more than likely the hotel's easiest solution.|
Another structural oddity that Elaine is intrigued over, are the gaslit wall sconces, depicted in the drawing at right. Gas lights are extremely rare, and certainly aren't used anymore as a building or code set standard, but here are several, burning away. It is unknown whether the smell of gas eventually accumulates on this floor that was sealed off, but as most gas exhaust is cool enough to be vented through a wall, the lights more than likely possess an internal ventilation system. They still work great, so the original designers must have certainly known what they were doing.
This is the first time she is truly getting a chance to see the 13th Floor. She doesn't seem very scared, or worried. She seems more intrigued, and curious. She wants to explore. Let's try a door. She is standing in front of Room #7. She tries the handle. She doesn't get a chance to open the door, so apparantly it is locked. Either that, or the sound of a door opening down the hall startles her, and her attention is turned towards the occuring sound.
The door just to the right of this one, on the other side of one of the sets of load bearing columns, opens. Out steps Judith, who stops, looks at Elaine, and puts her hands in her pockets. Nowhere to hide. Immediately after Judith steps into the hallways she is joined by Letti, Creeson, Abraham, and Mr. Rogas. Porter doesn't stick around for the festivities, making Elaine the youngest person on the floor. The youngest may also be the first to die.
|Remember when we alluded to the possibility of an alternate way of reaching the 13th Floor, via, say, a set of service stairs? Well, there has to be one, because this room door opens, and all of the staff members immediately file suit. There has to be a secret set of stairs, that is locked away to everyone but hotel employees, that provides an alternate entrance and exit. One would be especially useful in the event of a power outage, although the hotel more than likely possesses a massive gas run backup generator.
Elaine is mortified! For almost the entire time she has been searching for a way on this floor. Now that she's finally gotten on the floor she wanted to do a little bit of exploring - maybe oogle the architecture. But no, she won't get the chance. The staff are on her tail again, stealing away every hint of exploration Elaine may have wanted to do.
Elaine knows she must run. ...Again.
|The music rises ominously as Elaine starts to run. The chase is on again. Note that with the soundtrack removed and then edited back in on the international versions, the music appears more clear and defined, as it isn't clashing or trying to override "Ragtime Piano". This makes it sound slightly more ominous.|
A shot of Judith and Letti show the pair smiling deviously. They know there's no other exit. They know Elaine is trapped. They know Elaine is right where they want her, and they also know that tonight is the night that the ritual gets completed.
Elaine runs down the hallway. She doesn't know where she is going, but she knows she must find a way to escape these sadistic staff members, before she becomes a sacrificial offering!
Elaine runs towards the end of the hallway, looking to go either right or left. The wallpaper is in a terrible shape. It is peeling from all over the place. While this could have been caused by victims flailing their arms, trying to cling onto anything they can (the wallpaper included) to prevent being dragged to their execution, it is more than likely a cause of simple degratation to the plaster behind the wallpaper. Perhaps the glue was mixed incorrectly or the wall suffers from ambient moisture concentration. Something, anyway, is causing the wallpaper to peel off in chunks.
Elaine instinctually runs to the left. The camera follows, showing another corridor, similar to the first. The door is open at the end. Elaine doesn't know that room is the hotel's Altar Room. She probably can tell, however, that that is where the music is coming from. All Elaine knows is that if she makes it to that room, she might be okay.
Elaine glances back, making sure she is ahead of the staff members, chasing her like mindless zombies.
Everything's clear. All of the staff members are behind her, still farther down the hallway. Maybe there isn't anybody in the room. Elaine gives it some serious thought.
The camera zooms in towards the opening, and the room beyond.
The look on her face says that she says "Hmmmm", pondering the possibility. Elaine makes the conscious decision that this is where she wants to go. She looks back down the other hallway, one more time, before running as fast as she can down the one now in front of her. Elaine wants out of this labyrinth and not knowing her bearings only create more of a conundrum. But she keeps running, all the way to the open door at the end of the hallway.
Without a second thought, Elaine reaches the door, runs inside, and then immediately goes to shut and lock the door.
The camera is now inside of the room facing Elaine's back as she finished locking the door. She starts to turn around.
|The score fades out as Elaine shuts the door, leaving the viewer, and Elaine, to examine the room with only the sound of the music blaring from the gramophone, sitting on the desk across from the door. It's a quaint compliment to the decorative decor. Note that the staff could hear the music playing just as easily as Elaine. It makes sense therefore, to assume that when Elaine shuts the door, the staff hears the music become quieter. It therefore makes sense to conclude that Elaine has not lost them, however, but more than likely alerted them to her presence through the use of auditory stimuli.|
|On Closer Inspection...:|
|We start with a shot of desk, where we can see the coffin shaped box on the table in the middle. We can see the skull with a chalice on top of the box. We can see the chair behind the desk is now turned back around, facing the back wall, implying somebody has moved it. As the camera pans right to follow Elaine's perspective, we see the taxidermied wolf, the crocodile, and even a taxidermied turtle. The turtle is perhaps symbolic as they have an excessively long life span. Straight from mythology, the story of Zeus and the turtle is one of Aesop's fables. Apparantely Zeus, father of the gods, held a party. Every animal arrives but the tortoise. The turtle wanted to stay at home, and was cursed by Zeus to not only carry its home (its shell) with it, wherever it went, but also that it was to do so for longer than any other creature on Earth. For this reason, tortoises lug their shells around for sometimes over 100 years. Evidence suggests that the oldest known turtle reached an almost unheard of life span of 250 years. So they definitely have the whole immortality thing down already. or at least they outlive humans by at least one, if not two, generations.|
The camera continues panning to the right. Elaine observes the fireplace. The fire is rather dull at the moment, but the candles above the mantle are burning, providing a creepy altar setting look and feel.
|While the music plays, Elaine looks around at all of the decorum packed into this one room. As this is the first time that Elaine has ever seen any of these items, we are treated to pictures of all of the symbolic imagery used throughout the film. The images flash by, perfectly in time with the music, at almost a rate of one per second.|
We see the devilish looking head, with sadistically content smile and long pointed ears, sitting on a small little wooden platform that acts as an alter, and is the focal point in between elaborate and ornate candelabras. Again, it is an image that tells that something bad is going to happen. It is vaguely reminiscent to the demonic imagery shown during the opening credits sequence on Page 2.
There is a picture of the taxidermied wolf, whose wide-open mouth reveal several sharp and menacing looking teeth. The look on his face say that he wants to bite, rip and shred. It's another symbolic reminder of danger used as a plot element and help contribute to the notion that something bad is about to happen.
There is another devilish looking head, hung to the left of the bookcase. This is the only image we haven't seen yet. His mouth appears that he is yelling and is opened wide enough to cause three sharp wrinkles to form, on either cheek. The full set of white teeth in his mouth, as well as his large white eyes with piercing pupils, contrast the redish hue of his skin. He has long pointed ears, a nose half the size of his mouth and horns that rise predominately from his forehead. It could be a ritualistic mask.
We then see a goldish budda-esque type statue, laying eyes open on a thick-rimmed, leaf-covered "coffin" type carving. His left hand lays upon his chest, almost as if reaching for his neck. There is a marking on his forehead that is symbolic of his religion.
There is a picture of the goateed dragon statue. It's mouth is open, and four sharp teeth, two on top, two on bottom, and each in a corner of the mouth show that he is ready to attack. He is shown in a growling state, with tongue pointing up due to extreme usage of the jaw muscles.
There is a picture of a skull, sitting on a little grey covered table. The skull is vaguely reminiscent of something found in Shakespeare's Hamlet, although it contains the bottom jaw. It appears to be smiling a wide-mouthed smile. Slightly out of view is the chalice that sits atop the skull.
The screen now cuts to a picture of the base of the gramophone. The music box, with a giant horn used to project the sound, produces sound by the use of a set of pins placed on a revolving cylinder so as to pluck the tuned teeth (or lamellae) of a steel comb.
As the music plays, Elaine looks around again, slowly and cautiously stepping farther into the room. She pans the left wall before looking straight towards the desk in front on the back wall.
We see the desk. It is an antique desk with vials, an oil lamp, an open spell book, scrolls, the gramaphone and a few small urns.
Elaine walks closer to the desk. She pans the right wall before looking back towards the desk. She notices the desk chair is facing backwards, and she wonders if the killer could be sitting in it.
A familiar right hand reaches out from behind the chair. Elaine's heart is racing! As the chair is turned backwards, it makes the aura of mystery even stronger.
|The camera zooms in towards the hand, as it reaches for the gramophone. Right as the song comes to the end of a "verse", the hand flips a switch and the music turns off. As the song was right about to go back into it's "chorus", the music stopping on a natural staccato sounds musically correct.|
The camera follows the hand, stopping at the edge of the chair as the hand retracts itself out of view.
The chair slowly starts to turn. We start to see a gentleman with slicked back white hair, a white frilled executioner's shirt and black robe.
A shot of Elaine shows her eyes growing wider as she realizes she knows the killer. She is filled with shock and awe.
The chair turns fully frontward, and we can see that the man in black in white is none other that the hotel doctor, Alan Lanier!
Elaine is saddened by the recent discovery.
Alan: I knew you'd be here.
The camera pans to Dr. Lanier. Sitting in front of the chair's split crown pediment, the doctor almost appears to be wearing a crown, and looks to possess giant horns that protrude from either side of his head.
Alan: Your ambition brought you.
Elaine looks shocked, followed by disgusted. She feels she has come a long way with the doctor and can talk to him freely. She's mortified as she had been developing feelings for the kind doctor. She's even more disgusted as she was led to believe the feelings were mutual.
Elaine: Why... why you?
The following is the doctor's longest and most heartfelt monologue. It helps to provide background information that he is hoping helps provide justification to what he has been doing:
Alan: I've watched too many people die over the years in my
career. It made me realize what little power we have over
our existance and I couldn't get that thought out of my
head. And when I came to the hotel, I heard about Avery
Block, I did the same reasearch you did... But I found that
he was looking for the same thing I was. Avery Block found
immortality, and so will I.
The doctor seems sincere. Elaine is horrified. All this time she has been discussing her concerns to the doctor, and he has seemed concerned and naive. And come to find out he's known the truth all along. All of Elaine's research, all the time she spent trying to discover "the truth", and the doctor has been in essence lying to her the entire time. Keeping this from her. She feels very betrayed. The doctor wants to justify his actions, but there is no justification for his morally unethical behavior. The doctor - the person who is there to help save lives, is really the killer. Elaine thinks his approach is completely wrong.
Elaine: By slaughtering people?
The doctor acts as if the comment is rhetoric. Of course he has to slaughter people...
Alan: There's no other way.
Elaine: This is insane.
Elaine looks rather disgusted. The doctor, on the other hand, looks a little disappointed that Elaine doesn't want to just go and give up her life.
What do you mean you don't want to die so I can live forever? He tilts his head slightly to the left. The look on his face says, "Ahhhh... come on", like Elaine is being petty for not wanting to die...
The young writer can't believe the doctor she was starting to fall in love with. This man's a psycho! All she wants to do now is get away from this horrible place.
Elaine: This is insane!
Elaine runs for the door. It is unknown whether or not she had given any thought to the fact that the staff members could have been waiting outside the door. It is likely that she thought that she was so slick she had eluded them. Not so slick. The hotel knows more about the floor than she does, and they knew right where she went. Any they're waiting outside. All of them.
|The music rises in like the wind, and will grow darker as the scene progresses.|
|The door styling on this floor is symbolic. Not because it is anachronistic in styling, because it is. Most doors use a standard 6-panel layout, while the doors on this floor use a simple 4-panel layout. The layout, however, is symbolic. Two larger panels reside atop two smaller panels. While this doesn't seem like much at first, it is important because the pattern formed by the perpendicular lines of the center gridwork create an upside down cross. Used in folklore, an upside down cross, known in reference to Saint Peter, who was crucified on an inverted cross because he felt he wasn't worthy enough to be crucified on a standard cross as Christ was, was originally a benign symbol. Over time, however, it became associated with an "Anti-Christian" lifestyle, thusly becoming representative of a symbol of Satan, and thus its inclusion in the doors on this floor is strictly symbolic and representative of the ritualistic actions committed on this floor.|
As soon as Elaine opens the door Creeson steps forth and grabs her.
Elaine: No! No, no! No, no!
Taking hold of both arms the once kindhearted doorman spins her around, to where she is facing back towards the desk. With this he forcefully pushes her further into the room. They are followed by the rest of the staff members.
Order that the staff enter the room:
Elaine desperately pleads with the "killer", hoping that their earlier heartfelt exchanges were enough to induce some modicum of empathy for the young writer.
Elaine: Alan please. Please! Please. Alan.
While Elaine is pleading, the rest of the staff their their "places". Mr. Rogas stands off to the right, Judith walks over to the fireplace mantle and takes ahold of the candle on the right, under the right hand candleabra. Letti walks to Judith's left and picks up the candle on the left, under the left hand candleabra. The desk clerk takes the second candle from the far right. Judith lights her candle off of the one in the center.
Elaine looks very scared as she is not only getting manhandled, but thoughts of betrayal, deception, and perhaps of death, are all running through her head.
Elaine: Alan, please. Alan please Alan.
The doctor slightly shrugs. The look on his face says that there is nothing he can do. Their earlier exchanges didn't mean a thing. She is obviously nothing to him. He really, honestly and truthfully, doesn't care if she lives or dies. Poor Elaine is mortified.
As the two ladies begin to turn (each facing eachother), Judith lights Letti's candle off of the one she is holding. She then turns to see if Abraham's candle needs to be lit, but he has lit it off of one of the lower candles. Being concierge, she is, per se, their boss (under Mr. Rogas, of course) so it's only fitting that she seems to be taking charge. The devilish figure in the center looms over the room. As the camera pans back, Judith has turned to her right and Abraham is taking his candle and walking to his left.
Creeson forcefully thrusts Elaine onto her knees.
The young writer looks as if she is in agony, being forcefully manhandled by a giant that could make almost three of her. The staff doesn't care. Her life is going to come to an end soon enough.
Head facing the the floor, Elaine eagerly scans the room for anything she can use as a weapon against these sadistic freaks.
What's this? She sees a gun. This is the Sargeant's gun. He had dropped it earlier, and during the killer's haste, he turned the overturned footstool over on top of the gun. Nobody has noticed it by now.
Elaine, not wanting to be submissive, knows what she is going to have to do. And she knows how she is going to do it. She just needs a way to pick up the gun without being noticed.
Creeson jerks Elaine's head back up so that she can face the killer. So hard, in fact, that it almost sounds as if something snaps. Luckily it isn't Elaine.
|Alan, sitting with perfect posture in the chair, looks as we described him earlier. There appears to be a small crown above his head, and he appears to have giant ridged horns, portraying a devilish image.|
Alan rises out of the chair. It is dark behind him, and he stands illuminated by the fireplace and burning candles. An imposing and somewhat intimidating image is produced.
The doctor then produces the axe. With his right hand on the base he swings the top end up revealing his left hand about an inch from the axe head. He turns it so that the blade is facing towards him, casting a reflection off of the metallic surface. The pickaxe on the opposite end of the blade produces an uneasy feeling of impending doom. The blood is meticulously cleaned off of the axe each time it is used, but we can still see fingerprints, as if the doctor has been touching it, perhaps getting some kind of sadistic thrill knowing he will be completing the ritual.
After the axe is produced, Letti and Judith stare with a straight-faced smile, thinking this is really it.
We then see the desk clerk. He smiles deviously, almost as if he is getting perverbial pleasure from thinking that he is about to watch this young girl being hacked to pieces, right before his eyes. It's a sick and greusome thought.
The manager, who has taken a place to the right of the doorway, looks sadistically content with the situation. A small smirk escapes his lips as he tries to retain a dignified and professional attitude. We can see two more wall sconces and another door, on the wall behind Mr. Rogas.
Elaine looks up at the doctor, and is probably having all sorts of violent and obscene thoughts about him. One thing is for sure, her mind is definitely on the pistol she noticed under the footstool. As soon as she gets a chance, she's going to grab it.
A shot of the room includes everybody except for Mr. Rogas. He's off screen, to the right. Letti and Judith and still standing in front of the fireplace, Abraham has moved behind Creeson and Elaine, in front of a suit of armor and the golden budda-esque statue. Creeson is kneeled over, keeping a forceful hand on Elaine, keeping her on her knees.
Alan begins to walk around his desk, heading in the direction of the fireplace.
|The music grows more ominous as the doctor approaches Elaine.|
All eyes are on Alan as he steps closer and closer. When he gets with two feet of Elaine, Creeson reaches for Elaine's arms, grabs ahold of them, and with one fluent motion he forcefully flips her over.
Grabbing the back of her head with his right hand, and keeping his left hand pressed against her chest, Creeson forces Elaine onto her back. She is now sitting on the floor with her head leaned over the footstool she is proped up against.
The audience is thinking all sorts of thoughts: C'mon, Elaine!; Don't hurt her!; and Please help her get out alive are three of the common thoughts. We see a hand reach down and begin to wrap itself around the pistol, a defined black against a red-themed Oriental rug. Alright! It's Elaine. Maybe she might make it out alive after all! We sure hope so.
|On Closer Inspection...:|
|As Elaine wraps her left hand around the Sargeant's handgun, notice that Elaine's fingernails are approximately ¼" long.|
Elaine makes sure that the pistol is fully positioned in her hand. Luckily all of the staff members have their attention focused on the doctor, who is about to finish the ritual by ending Elaine's life. Because of this, none of them notice that Elaine has acquired a sidearm.
Elaine, not giving any of the staff members a chance to think, immediately brings the pistol up and points it solidly at Creeson. She doesn't look as if she is going to regret killing the doorman. After all, when the entire staff is trying to kill you, moral ramifications do not apply. She doesn't want to have to, but she has no choice. It's kill or be killed, and Elaine has a lot more living she still wants to do. She only stares at Creeson for a second - after all, she doesn't want him to have time to react - before squeezing the trigger, planting a bullet perfectly center of Creeson's forehead.
Creeson takes one final look at Elaine, as he begins to topple over, succumbing to death.
The shot startles everyone, and the room begins to turn to anarchy. Judith drops her candle, and immediately bends down to pick it up, before it has a chance to start a fire. The doctor steps back to avoid Creeson, who falls over onto his back with a thud. Abraham stands entranced, not knowing which way to turn.
|As soon as the shot is fired, the music changes to a faster, more upbeat version of the main theme. It makes the perfect heartracing getaway theme, as anarchy ensues, and Elaine looks for a way out.|
|Many fans agree that the anarchy that ensues begins the ruination of the movie. The film could have played out Elaine's encounter on the 13th Floor a little better, but with less than five minutes remaining until the film was required to come to an end, a swift ending was a must.|
Elaine, still on her knees, spins around, gun in hand. She's in control now, and she's going to do whatever it takes to ensure that she makes it out alive. Even if it means shooting everybody that stands in her way. Letti, still to the left of the fireplace, is the next victim. BOOM! Elaine makes another perfect shot, center of Letti's forehead.
Letti's left hand grabs ahold of the fireplace, while her right hand grabs ahold of her heart. She feels she is dying, and sinks to the floor.
Abraham, our shy and oratative desk clerk, is dumbfounded as he watches helplessly as his fellow staff members are murdered.
|On Closer Inspection...:|
|Pay close attention as Letti falls to the floor. We can see that Judith also drops to the floor. With Elaine's attention diverted, Judith tosses her candle into the fireplace, and then scurries across the floor, behind Elaine. She is definitely fast, for all we can see is the blue of her dress as she crawls behind the small table with the skull on top. She makes it from the fireplace to the door, in two seconds flat. We have no way of knowing where Mr. Rogas is, but he more than likely follows Judith, making a break for the door.|
Elaine takes another shot. BOOM! She is more than likely firing at Doctor Lanier, the man she was developing a romantic interest for, only to learn that he was, in fact, the killer all along. The shot instead, accidentally hits the wall sconce that was to the left of the fireplace. The glass on the gaslight's globe explodes upon impact of the bullet, sending shattered shards all around the area. The flame is put out, as the globe helped provide a concentration of gas that was used to keep the light burning.
|On Closer Inspection...:|
|We can hear the hiss of a steady stream of gas, coming from the sconce. It is the same amount of gas that normally runs through the pipe, but without a flame to keep burning, the gas is now rushing into the room, not being able to be regulated.|
The doctor falls to the floor to the right of the desk, wanting to stay out of Elaine's line of fire. As he drops down he specifically makes sure to keep the head of the axe facing away from him, as to not fall on it. Just before hitting the floor, he appears to temporarily release the axe, allowing it to gently hit the ground to his left. He lands beside it, immediately grabbing back ahold of it, ready to try and take charge back of the situation.
Elaine spins to her right and she rises to her feet.
As she rushes to the door, Abraham is worried about being shot, and virtually throws himself into the suit of armor to his right. He's going to do whatever it takes to keep out of Elaine's path, even if it means masochistically causing himself pain by thrusting himself into a suit of armor. Abraham and the suit of armor both topple to the floor as Elaine rushes past.
|We can still hear the hiss of gas flowing, as Elaine reaches the door.|
Elaine makes a mad dash down the hallway, eager to get back to the service elevator, and away from this nightmare. She is halfway down the hallway when the camera cuts back to the doctor.
|On Closer Inspection:|
|Does Jacob Rogas get away? It appears that way. When Elaine runs out of the door and cuts into the hallway, for two frames we specifically see the backside of a man appearing to be Mr. Rogas running down the hallway, just seconds ahead of Elaine. We can see his head and backside clearly, as well as his arms flailing, before the camera's zoom on Elaine forces the viewer to lose sight of this man. He isn't seen as Elaine turns down the hall, leading the viewer to believe that he either ducked down a hallway or into an empty room until Elaine passes, or that he beat Elaine back to the secret set of service stairs the staff used to access the floor when Elaine first arrived. Either way, someone was running in front of Elaine. We don't hear any gunfire as she is running, so she doesn't end up shooting anyone on her way out. She's probably so worried about saving herself she doesn't mind Mr. Rogas trying to save himself, as well.|
Doctor Lanier picks himself back up, making sure that he has control of the axe. Notice the gramophone on the desk to the left. Perhaps Elaine's slaughter didn't go as planned because "Ragtime Piano", the Wessex Hotel's signature death theme, wasn't playing, as it has been during every one of the hotel's earlier slaughters.
Also notice that the camera doesn't rise to show the doctor's face, but rather concentrates itself upon the axe. In fact, as the doctor begins to take a step, he tilts the axe, giving us a straight shot of the menacing looking axe head, that has taken so many lives. In fact, there's still a chance that it will claim Elaine's life before the evening is up.
The camera shows the broken sconce, and we still hear the gas rushing into the room.
The camera now shows a shot of the fire that is raging in the fireplace. The juxtaposition of the roaring fire next to the gas rushing into the room is a reminder of the hazards of fire used around combustible materials. Natural gas and fire could potentially form an explosion. There just has to be enough gas in the room to mix with the fire, and it's been running all this time.
The camera is now back on Elaine. Still running as fast as she can, she reaches the end of the hallway, and makes a right, onto the secondary hallway.
Elaine is now on the first hallway, the one that contains Room numbers 7 and 9. She is no longer curious about wanting to explore the hotel's secret 13th Floor. Now all she cares about is getting away as fast as possible. She frantically runs down the corridor as fast as she can. Her heels beat a tatu onto the floor as she runs down the hallway.
We now see Doctor Lanier, coming for Elaine. He has exited the Altar Room and is on the hallway in front of it. Nine large steps is all it takes for him to reach the opposite end, and the doctor's footsteps announce his arrival.
He carries a determined look on his face as he anxiously chases Elaine down. This is it. She's number 16, and with her death, the doctor will achieve immortality. He is excited as he rushes after Elaine. He holds the axe with his right hand an inch from its head and his left hand an inch from its base. The head gleams against the orange hue of the gaslight.
Alan - Irish diminutive for word meaning "rock". Also means "fair, handsome" in English. While the doctor may be tough as a rock, the fair and handsome part definitely seem to fit, as the doctor is meant to look appealing with his slicked back hair. His appeal is personified through his seemingly good looks and professional demeanor.
Lanier - French derivitive for "Falcon" or occupational in Latin for someone involved in the wool trade. Falcons are amazing predators and well known for their speed and hunting abilities... While "Judith Teller" had a name relating to linen weaving, the doctor has one relating to wool. The latter etymology seems to be more reminiscent of the doctor's demeanor, as he has been "hunting" his "prey" (the unfortunately victims trying to find an escape from their nightmare on the 13th Floor.) and is currently "hunting" Elaine.
|On Closer Inspection...:|
|Again, we must thank the movie's set construction crew. As Alan rounds the corner we can see evidence of a lot of time and work that went in to making this floor original. Between the floor's finished ceilings, decorative mouldings, wallpaper peeling in strategically random spots and a plethora of cobwebs, a lot of effort was put into creating the floor.|
The camera is now back on Elaine. She is at the end of the hallway and makes a quick left, onto the small service hallway.
Elaine rushes up the small set of steps and runs over to the elevator on the left side of the platform. Elaine quickly presses the elevator's "DOWN" button four times using her left hand, before slapping the elevator door three times with her right.
BANG BANG BANG
Elaine hits the button seven more times.
Elaine is devastated. The elevator is taking forever. What did it do, travel all the way back down to the 1st Floor, and is now having to travel all the way back up? Elaine doesn't even know if the elevator is going to work. All she knows for sure is that Alan is coming for her. She turns to her left, facing down the service hallway, towards the opening to the main hallway. He could appear at any time and Elaine's heart is racing!
Elaine hears four footsteps approaching.
With the Sargeant's pistol still in her right hand she points it towards the opening.
The camera is now facing the opening as we hear more approaching footsteps.
Elaine is mortified and we can hear the shakiness in her voice. She is devistated knowing the man she was slowly falling in love with, is seconds away from trying to end her life. More footsteps indicate he is closer, and Elaine knows he can hear her. She tries to reason with him.
Elaine: Alan please let me go.
From around the corner, Alan pops into view. With his executioner's robe and slicked back hair he makes a prominent picture.
Alan: I can't.
He talks with excitement and smiles widely, as the thought of ending Elaine's life to achieve immortality gives him a sadistic thrill. His excitement is building and can be heard in his voice. In fact, he sounds as if he is one step below salivating.
Alan: I can't. You're number 16. The last one. I need your
Elaine doesn't want any part of it. Forget this, she thinks, and takes two quick shots at the doctor.
It is unknown whether the second shot hits Alan Lanier, but he is thrust back into the corner of the opening he had just come through. He stoops forward.
Elaine is devastated. Did she hit him? If she did she kind of feels bad for having to do it.
Luckily Elaine isn't given any time to think about what she may have just down. The sound of the elevator's primary metal door sweeping open is enough to draw Elaine's attention back towards the elevator. This puts her mindset back on its primary objective: survival.
Elaine seems to help push the door open, wanting it to hurry.
After the door is opened, notice that Elaine only opens the retractable metal gate a tiny little bit. It's only far enough for her to be able to squeeze through. She doesn't open the gate any farther than she has to, as the quicker that the gate is shut, the quicker the primary door will close.
Just before the primary door closes, we see through the gate that Elaine immediately rushes over to the elevator's control panel.
Doctor Lanier, having gotten over the shock of Elaine shooting at him, rushes over to the elevator, arriving just as the door finishes closing. The doctor doesn't even try to press the button, so he must know that the button doesn't work to re-open the door, once the door is closed after having allowed a patron onboard. The elevator more than likely has a sensor that determines how long it has been since the button was pressed the first time, and can tell whether or not a button inside has been pressed. If no button on the inside is pressed after a length of time, the elevator makes the assumption that nobody is onboard, which would happen in the case of someone wanting to use the elevator, pressing the button, waiting for the door to open, deciding they don't need to use it after all, and the door shutting. After the elevator determines there is nobody onboard due to the lack of key presses, the panel resets itself and the button may be used to summon the elevator once again. There is a possibility that there is a weight sensor in the elevator, as well, and that it can register Elaine's entrance into the elevator, thus keeping the door shut until she makes a move. Either way, the doctor stands, calling into the elevator from outside its door:
Alan: Elaine!? Elaine!
The camera is now inside of the elevator with Elaine and we see her frantically press the button for the hotel's Mezzanine Level, until the button illuminates, indicating that the press has been properly registered.
Elaine begins to sink again the wall adjacent to the control panel, listening to the doctor as she shouts from beyond the elevator shaft:
Alan: You can't do this to me.
The doctor is upset and raises his axe so that it appears he is about to try and hack through the elevator's metal door in order to get to Elaine:
Alan: Elaine, you hear me? You're part of this.
Indeed, the doctor swings the axe, striking the door.
Elaine doesn't care. She doesn't want to be a part. She just wants out of this nightmare, and the quicker the better. Elaine, who knows she is descending, looks up in the direction of the "killer", listening to his horrible pleas to take her life, and to the loud booms being made as the doctor hacks away at the elevator door above.
|From the Cinema:|
|Throughout the movie, shadowy silhouettes, the use of a fire axe as a muder weapon, Doctor Lanier "hunting" his "prey" and now striking the elevator door with the axe, the hotel's use of mirrors as a plot metaphor, and perhaps even the heart racing chase sequence itself, are all direct references to "The Shining", a 1980 cult thriller directed by the amazing Stanley Kubrick, and "based" on the classic Stephen King novel of the same name. "The Shining", another hotel based suspense/thriller/horror flick, has been rated by some as one of the best films of all time, despite Steven King's inital hatred due to Kubrick's changing and adding of plot elements and overall thematics. While NOTTF may never receive the glory and recognition of "The Shining", the pair are still listed together in the list of Top 10 Hotel Horror Movies. |
Alan: Elaine! I need you.
Elaine puts her head down, giving a solemn moment of thanks for her escape. She hasn't made it out alive, yet, but the killer is still upstairs, and as far as she is concerned, the staff has been taken care of, so she's free to make a break for it. She rests up against the dank, neglected walls of the elevator.
Doctor Lanier obviously didn't think of running back and throwing the circuit break style switch that he has used twice before. Instead he just stands there, hacking at the elevator door, almost as if he thinks with enough luck and the right begging, that Elaine will come back and voluntarily let him kill her.
A flash of light coming in through the mesh grating on the elevator's sides illuminate Elaine's face, and provide a reminder that she is descending away from this lunatic.
Alan: We need you!
Elaine listens to the raving madman with a hint of discern. But she truly begins to relax a bit more, as the farther she gets away from the 13th Floor, the fainter the doctor's pleas become. This is a true sign that she is escaping. Mix this with the imagery of the light passing through the shaft at regular intervals, and our hearts can begin to stop racing so badly, thinking she might escape alive. ...As long as she doesn't get stopped by Judith or the porter on arrival of the first floor.
The camera cuts back to the doctor, where we again hear him yelling full strength. He looks furious and releases his fury by striking the axe against the elevator door.
Alan: You're ruining everything.
|The imagery used through the rest of scene help to add suspense and tell a story.|
We see an overhead view of the Altar Room in all its glory, a reminder of what is being left behind. A room that has seen so much horrificness, and housed many a Satanic ritual, murderer or sacrifice. All the time, energy and money put into decorum acquiescence and placement will all soon be for naught.
The doctor again sounds faint, screaming in the background. This allows the viewer to concentrate on the imagery.
We see a picture of the shattered gaslight that has been leaking flammable natural gas into the room for the last several minutes.
We next see a picture of the fire roaring in the fireplace, flanked by two gargoyle statues. The fire will create a deadly explosion if the leaking natural gas fills the room enough to backfill into the fireplace.
We see a shot of the elevator descending, taken from above. Its mechanical components grind away, helping the elevator to escape from its pursuer. The German tilt of the camera helps provide a sense of ominousness when used in juxtaposition with the fire and leaky gas light. It is a sign that Elaine's escape is going well so far.
We then see pictures of the frieze, seen on Page 2 of this guide. The first is the very first image we saw after the title card, and possesses 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... The frightened look on the tortured man's face is of shear pain, and he has been stuck in this state for 90 years. Hopefully he will be freed from the pain and suffering received from 90 years of being tortured.
There is another shot of the leaking gaslight as the doctor continues striking the door.
There is a tilted shot of the 13th Floor's central hallway. This is an ominous way of saying goodbye to an anachronistically untouched floor that has carried with it 90 years of agony and terror.
Alan: You make it all possible.
We see a picture of the figure used on the film's title card: a demonic concrete carving depicting a somewhat evilish-looking, goateed figure, with hair parted in the middle giving a sense of prominence to his piercing stare. His head appears in front of two axes, one of both side of him, facing in opposite directions, but both pointing away from him. It is the anthrotomorphism of the hotel's original axe murderer - the one who started everything in the first place - and the reason it appears first in the credits sequence.
Alan: You're the final one.
There is another shot of the fire, which is blazing as strong as ever.
|Foreshadowing the Future:|
|The speed in which the images appear increases to build dramatic effect. Their speediness also help to foreshadow the fact that time is running out as each and every image is relevent to the symbolism used within the sequence. Horrific images flash by allowing the viewer only seconds to mentally process the madness possessed, and helps to create a buildup that will make what happens next even more horrific. |
There is another shot of the shattered gaslight, still leaking fatal, non-odorous gas into the room. There is a possibility the doctor knows what is going to happen, but he makes no effort to escape his fate - a fate that goes totally against everything the man has been trying to achieve.
There is another shot of the leaking gaslight.
There is a second picture of the central hallway, again shot on a German tilt, but this time the hallway is tilted the opposite way. This is to help build a sense of disorientation as well as to induce a confusing conundrum as the audience fears for what is coming.
There is another picture of the tortured victim whose face is perpetually covered by shadows created by the mid-day sun. The sun has been engulfing the man's face in darkness and has induced a certain fear in him: 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 man, who appears to be being dragged to hell, while being tortured the whole time, with no one to help or hear him scream, has undergone this cruel and inhumane punishment for a solid 90 years. Maybe he also can be freed from his life of agonizing perpetual torture.
The images change from the leaking gaslit sconce, to the fireplace, and then back to the sconce...
The juxtaposing images are to invoke the idea that the sconce, which has been steadily leaking, and the fire in the fireplace, are going to mix and create one incredibly devastating explosion...
Alan: Your life makes me immortal!
We see another image from the demonic frieze that surrounds the hotel's 13th Floor. It is of the two balder demons - complete with pointed ears, and wide, devilish smiles - that are responsible for torturing the man whose eyes get perpetually covered in the mid-day sun. It's symbolic, for tonight might be the night they get their just desserts, ending the cycle of suffering and agony they have forced upon their terrified victim. This also represents the hotel staff.
Doctor Lanier strikes the axe against the elevator door one final time: BOOM!
Pictures of the roaring fireplace and the leaking gas light flash by at almost one frame per second. The fast repetition of the juxtaposing imagery tell the viewer that the end is near. The gas from the gas light should never have mixed with the fire in the fireplace.
Alan: Please! I'll live forever.
|Foreshadowing the Future:|
|There is a shot of the skull. This is prominent imagery in displaying that death is near. It's a way of showing what happens when gas from the leaking gas light mixes with fire from a roaring fireplace. It's presence is as symbolic as a picture of a skull on a bottle of poison.|
The camera flashes to a picture of one of the horned beasts, which adorn the 13th Floor windows. A true personification of the evilness of Satan himself, the beast stares at the viewer, with a sharp, piercing stare that seems to penetrate through the skins and shells of even the thickest watchers. It's almost as if he knows his end is near, and it's made him really, really, mad.
Doctor Lanier makes one final attempt to call for Elaine. The one individual for whom the audience thought was the doctor's destined soulmate, and the one individual the audience wants to survive the most. It isn't known whether or not the doctor heard the rushing of the gas from the leaking sconce, and looked to the roaring fire, and put two and two together, but he was a world-renouned doctor, who definitely seemed to know what it took to live ...or die, and did put the gas from the sconce and the fire from the fireplace together, and knew he was going to die - and that's one reason he was so mad at Elaine. His chance will soon be over. He could have made a break for the service stairs - the ones that the staff arrived on when Elaine first made it onto the floor - but instead he chooses to face a destiny greater than that of himself - he chooses to die hoping Elaine will return.
We see another shot of the frieze's central image - the goatee figure seen earlier - but this time we see the axes that reside adjacent to either side of his head, better than we did earlier, and more reminiscent of the shot displayed on the film's title card. It is a symbolic reminder of the original axe murderer that caused all of the original hustle and bustle. And it's slight foreshadowing that will show that all of all of the pain, suffering, torturing and agony, of all of the victims that suffered horrible fates within the walls of the Wessex Hotel, will soon be released. No more pain, no more suffering. Ninety years of bad memories and horrific murders that took place, are soon to be absolved. It's almost as if the hotel will renew itself...
Elaine's unexepected escape has not only foiled all of the hotel staff's plans, but it has set in motion a series of events that have been leading up to what happens next:
With a tremendous kaboom, the insides of the concrete carving seem to implode as the explosion that takes place within the walls of the 13th Floor blows out all of the windows that are a part of the floor.
The flames of the fire, now introduced to the oxygen in the outside air, forms a giant mushroom cloud of fire that creates four sequential explosions, one on each side of the building, as the fire spreads through the gas line system run throughout the entire 13th floor.
The explosions, which fire sequentially and never stop, sound for an entire nine seconds.
The head of the goateed figure shatters into thousands of tiny shards. Ninety years of being an anthrotomorphism of an axe murderer whose horrific energy has been trapped within the concrete carving erected to conceal the floor, its energy is now released, into the heavens where it will hopefully find reconcilliation for its actions.
The flames expand, sending gigantic shards of concrete, brick, wood, mortar and plaster, flying in every direction.
|Errors in Continuity:|
|Even here, there is no 16th Floor. Throughout the movie, it's addition has never seemed to have been realized, but the cream colored floor above the one that just explodes would be number 14 while the bricked colored floor above this would be number 15, followed by the cream colored architrave, remaining rows of brick and cream colored crown moulding, leaving no room for the hotel's 16th Floor. Of course, all of this was already discussed, starting on Page 2.|
|On Closer Inspection...:|
|While no one seemed to respond when Elaine was running up and down the corridors looking for help, there sure are a lot of lights on in the hotel. The other patrons may not have heard Elaine, but they were bound to have heard the explosion. The light in the room to the left of the center window on the 15th Floor is on, and lights coming from two windows to the left of the center window on the 12th Floor are on, as are the first two lights in the windows to the right of the center window. Two windows down come light coming through two more windows. The window to the left of center on the 11th Floor is illuminated, as are the first four windows to the right of center. The 10th Floor has a light coming through the first two windows to the left of its center window and a light coming through the second window to the right of the center window. |
The building is illuminated in a brightened glow the flames surround the building, burning off residual gas that had filled the hallways.
There is a shot of the building from up close. Looking up its side, the camera focuses on the top five floors. The center floor, number 13, is sill exploding. From this angle, however, we can see gigantic shards of concrete that are being thrust and propelled into the surrounding areas. A cloud of fire begins to rescind as another explosion farther down sequentially keeps the explosion going.
|Location, Location, Location:|
|If the Sheraton Town House, used for the exterior shots of the Wessex really was the Wessex, there would be quite a bit of explaining to do to surrounding areas. The area directly across from the hotel is a park, and therefore unused. Concrete shards projected into this area, this late at night, aren't likely going to hit anybody. Areas on the hotel's remaining sides would have projected dangerous shrapnel into all sorts of commercial type buildings, potentially harming or maiming many innocent bystanders. |
|If the above scenario was indeed the case, it would have likely have been caused from beyond, by Avery Block or the spirits of those victims that had been trapped inside of the floor. It could have even have been the doctor. This would have been seemingly fitting. The doctor never got a chance to take 16 lives, but if exploding shrapnel used as shurikens could maim and torture at least 16, maybe he would feel a little better about his premature ending.|
The camera now shows a picture from the northeast corner of the hotel. Looking at the corner as it does shows the hotel's exterior walls travelling in both directions away from the corner. Another explosion occurs, and we see from this shot of the corner that the fires penetrate through the frieze everywhere and anywhere. The fire doesn't discriminate and makes sure that no part of the frieze is left in place.
|On Closer Inspection...:|
|The window on the top floor, to the right of the corner is illuminated. The first and second windows to the left of the corner on the hotel's 12th Floor both have a light coming on out of them, as do the first and third windows to the right of the corner. The window to the right of the corner on the 11th Floor is luminesced and the window to the left of the corner on the 10th Floor is illuminated and the second and third windows to the right of the corner on the 10th Floor are also lit up. |
|The music has been building up to a grand climax. It slowly comes to an end. It's final solitary chord blends into the sound of the explosion, taking it out of earshot and introducing back the hustle and bustle of a busy street.|
As the scene transitions to the next, we see the hotel in the background and two items that seem oxymoronic, but only when speaking of the horrors at the hotel, being overlayed upon the image of the hotel's burning floor. We see the word "AMBULANCE" above the word "PARAMEDICS", which are both signs of impending safety. The words are on the side of an ambulance, but in front of them rest a fireaxe which has an axehead that is painted bright red. It looks identical to the chrome one the doctor was using, but this one is red.
CONTINUE TO PAGE #33