In celebration of its theatrical release, THE GRUDGE sponsored a tour of some of Downtown Los Angeles’ most haunted and notorious spots. The tour was given by Derek of Downtown LA Walking Tours, who shared all sorts of incredible facts about the downtown area. Here are just a few of the spooky pitstops we visited.
The Barclay Hotel, initially called The Van Nuys Hotel, first opened its doors in 1897. At the time, it was at the height of luxury. It was the first hotel to provide telephone and electric service to every room. But just two months after its initial opening, the hotel experienced the first of many horrific deaths to follow. Charles Gamble was a waiter at the hotel. During a freak elevator accident, he was caught in the elevator, mangled, and dropped three stories. Besides the many suicides that occurred over the years, two known serial killers chose the Barclay as host for murder. Otto Wilson murdered his first victim, Virginia Lee Griffin, in 1944 at the Barclay. He killed his second victim, Lillian Johnson, later that day just a few blocks away. Vaughn Orrin Greenwood, better known as “The Skidrow Slasher,” took the life of his 7th victim, Samuel Suarez, at the Barclay. The Barclay is currently operated as a low-income residential hotel.
With its violent and gruesome past, it’s no wonder the Cecil Hotel was the inspiration for Season Five of AMERICAN HORROR STORY. The Cecil Hotel is often called Los Angeles’s most haunted hotel. The hotel originally opened in 1925. Richard Ramirez, aka “The Night Stalker,” resided at the hotel in the 80s during his killing spree. In the 90s Austrian journalist, Jack Unterweger, brutally beat and murdered several prostitutes while staying at the Cecil. The strangest and most notorious deaths that occurred at the hotel was that of Elisa Lam. The body of Elisa Lam was found in the rooftop water tank of the hotel on Feb. 19, 2013. Lam had been staying at the hotel and had been missing for weeks. Her body was discovered after guests complained of a strange taste to the water. The hotel is currently named Stay on Main.
THE MILLENNIUM BILTMORE HOTEL
The Millennium Biltmore Hotel first opened in 1923, aimed at the upper class. From 1935 to 1939, the Biltmore hosted the Academy Awards. The hotel has served as the backdrop to films like CHINATOWN and GHOSTBUSTERS. The Biltmore also can boast about its many famous guests including, John F. Kennedy, The Beatles, Al Capone, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. The Biltmore is also known for its hauntings. Many guests and workers of the hotel have reported seeing ghosts of children. But the most famous ghost to haunt the hallways has to be of Elizabeth Short, better known as “the Black Dahlia.” The hotel was the last place Short was seen alive before she was brutally murdered.
To take part in an upcoming haunted tour make sure to check out Downtown LA Walking Tours at https://www.dtlawalkingtours.com/ Downtown LA Walking Tours offers both public and private tours.
THE GRUDGE is currently playing in theaters nationwide. You can purchase tickets at https://www.atomtickets.com/movies/the-grudge/270093
About The Grudge:
Producer Sam Raimi brings us a twisted new take of the horror classic. Directed by Nicolas Pesce, THE GRUDGE stars Andrea Riseborough, Demián Bichir, John Cho, Betty Gilpin with Lin Shaye and Jacki Weaver. With a screenplay by Nicolas Pesce and a story by Nicolas Pesce and Jeff Buhler, THE GRUDGE is based on the film “Ju-On: The Grudge” written and directed by Takashi Shimizu. THE GRUDGE is produced by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Taka Ichise and is executive produced by Nathan Kahane, Erin Westerman, Brady Fujikawa, Andrew Pfeffer, Roy Lee, Doug Davison, John Powers Middleton and Schuyler Weiss.