A taxi pulls up in front of the Hotel Cortez in Los Angeles. Two young Swede tourists, Agnetha and Vendela, get out after making sure the Internet shows that the hotel is near all the major attractions. They enter the opulent lobby and find it empty. The two women go to the front desk and ring for service, and no one comes. They ring the bell and wait, and Iris finally emerges from the back. She asks for their reservations, and they decide that the hotel isn't right for them. Iris refuses to give refunds, and the women have no choice but to stay.
Iris takes Agnetha and Vendela up to their room, and on the way they hear moaning from behind one of the doors. Iris ignores it and tells them that they don't have Wifi. She says that the area is a dead zone for cell service and each room has a telephone. As Vendela goes to get ice, she finds the maid Mmm cleaning a bloody sheet. She says that there was a terrible accident and continues with her work. Meanwhile, Vendela finds a young boy standing down the hallway. She turns and sees his twin behind her, but when she goes back, the boy is gone. The other one disappears as well, and Vendela gets some ice. A gloved hand reaches for Vendela from behind... but when she turns, there's no one there.
When Vendela returns to their room, she finds Agnetha lighting candles to cover the bad smell. Like a dead animal. Vendela calls the front desk to complain about the smell, and Iris tells her that they're sold out. Agnetha looks at the mattress and realizes that the smell is coming from it. They pull off the sheets and see the dirty mattress beneath, with the center cut and stitched back together. Vendela cuts apart the stitching and a bald rotting figure crawls out of the mattress, screaming.
The women find Iris and complain, and she assures them that she has no idea who was in the mattress. She tells them that they won't be charged for the room and says that the police will be there soon and they can give a statement. Iris leads them to Room 64 and explains that they never rent that room out.
One Hour Later
Agnetha tries to call out but gets no signal. The telephone is dead, and the two women try to get some sleep. The radio alarm comes on, waking up Vendela, and there's no sign of Agnetha. Vendela looks in the bathroom and finds the two children she saw earlier kneeling over a dead Agnetha, their mouths covered in blood.
Detectives John Lowe and his partner Hahn arrive at a hotel to investigate the murder of two guests. Both victims were apparently chloroformed when they came through the door. On the bed, the man is nailed to the headboard by a spike through the woman who was making love to him. More spikes were driven through her hands, pinning them to the headboard and holding her in position. The killer removed the man's eyeballs and tongue and left them in a nearby ashtray, There are photographs of the two victims with their spouses, and John figures that they were cheating on each other. Hahn assures the man that they'll get him out, while John finds a bottle of superglue beneath the bed. He figures that the man was given male potency drugs, and he's pinned inside of the dead woman.
Back at the station, John asks for information on the Gamboa case from a month ago. He goes to his desk and reviews the file on Martin Gamboa, an Oscar blogger. He died of blunt trauma to the head but there were defensive wounds on his arms and legs. The coroner figures that the killer wanted Gamboa to suffer first. There are traces of gold chips in the rectal cavity and the victim's skull. John's daughter Scarlett calls to tell her father about the day, and her mother Alex says that she doesn't want to talk to him. As John prepares to read to his daughter, an officer comes in and says that he has a call. Scarlett says that he goes, but John insists on reading to her at bedtime.
Later, John has the officer cross-reference the Gamboa forensics to the hotel case, and then heads out. His phone rings and a man addresses him by name and complains that John didn't take his call. The caller says that he nailed the couple to the headboard and he's going to do it again, and he's at Room 64 at the Hotel Cortez.
At the Cortez, Gabriel rings the bell until Iris comes out. He reluctantly pays $150 and Iris gives him the key to Room 64. She says that the elevator is out of service and Gabriel takes the stairs up. In the lobby, a woman named Hypodermic Sally watches him go and tells Iris that she hasn't seen such a sweet one in a while.
Gabriel enters Room 64 and passes a transvestite, Liz Taylor, in the hall. Once he's inside, Gabriel shoots up and enjoys the rush. He hallucinates Mmm in the room, saying she can get anything out of the sheets, and a faceless creature--the Addiction Demon--shoves Gabriel to the bed and rapes him with a drill-tipped dildo.
John enters the lobby and Iris immediately recognizes him as a police officer. He asks about Room 64 and she says that the room is vacant. John notices that the key is gone and asks to see the room, and Iris calls Liz out to show him the way.
The Addiction Demon continues raping Gabriel. Sally comes in and watches as the clock runs backward, and tells Gabriel that the more he screams, the more the Demon likes it.
As they take the elevator up, Liv says that they have some transients and some long-timers. He asks what John is looking for, and figures that he's lost something and is frozen in time.
Sally tells Gabriel to tell her that he loves her and promises that once he does, it will all go away. Gabriel says it, and then says it again as he dies.
Liv takes John to Room 64 and the detective says that he'll take it from there. When he says that he doesn't have money for a tip, Liv says that money isn't everything and walks away. Inside, John finds an empty room with a neatly-made bed. The detective checks the bathroom shower and finds nothing behind the curtain. John lies on the bed and stares up at the ceiling... unaware that Gabriel's corpse is beneath him under the bed.
Later, the radio alarm comes on and John wakes up. He catches glimpse of two twins in the room and recognizes one of them as his son Holden. John calls to the boy, Holden and goes after him into the hallway. The boy runs and John chases, but the boy disappears around a corner.
The Countess Elizabeth puts on a record and makes herself up. Her lover Donovan helps her dress and then they go to a movie at a nearby cemetery. A women looks over at Donovan and smiles, while her boyfriend looks at the Countess and smiles. Donovan and the Countess take the couple back to the Cortez and go to the Countess' room. They all strip and te Countess joins them in bed, making love to the man while Donovan has sex with the woman. They switch and share partners, and then simultaneously cut their victims' throats and drink the blood. Once they're done, they kiss and lie in the blood. Donovan admits that the problem is the cleanup and the Countess tells him to call housekeeping.
John sits outside of his home in his car, and finally goes inside. Scarlett hugs him and Alex complains that John is late. She's going out to make a house call for a patient, and she wonders if something is wrong. John says that he's just hungry and Alex leaves.
Iris delivers food to a room where Vendela and Agnetha are locked up in neon cages. She says that she's found drugs in their purses and is going to flush their systems. She mixes smoothies with oysters, kidneys, chicken livers, and wine, and then starts to force-feed it to Vendela. Sally comes in and tells Iris to have some compassion, and Iris says that she doesn't want to be surrounded by junkies and decays. Disgusted, Sally says that Iris stays because she likes it, but Iris says that she's stuck there because of Sally. She tells Sally to do it herself and do a good job, or she'll have to explain to the Countess why they taste like shit.
Iris goes to feed the thing in Room 33, and Sally explains that an entertainer used to give a puppet show there. She then frees Vendela and tells her to run. The woman runs through the hotel and Iris realizes that she's free. As she runs to intercept her, the Countess steps in front of Vendela and cuts her throat, and then licks the blood off of her fingers. Iris apologizes and the Countess tells her that it can never happen again.
John and Scarlett go to a sushi bar for dinner. The girl says that she had a dream about "him" but can only sees his face when she's asleep. John says that he can remember his face when she's awake, and Scarlett suggest that he put the pictures up again. Alex texts with an address, begging for help. When John calls her, he gets her voice mail. Taking Scarlett with him, John drives to the address and calls for backup. He goes in, gun drawn. Outside, the officer sees something moving in the brush and goes to investigate.
In the house, John's cell phone ring. It's the killer from earlier, calling on Alex's phone. He reminds Joihn that he said he'd do it again.
When the officer doesn't come back, Scarlett gets bored and goes into the house.
John spots a man in the shadows and orders him to show his hands. The man runs off into the darkness.
Scarlett finds a room with two men on racks, their chests torn open. John runs to her and holds her.
Santa Monica, 2010
John and his family are at the carnival and John takes Holden to the carousel. He puts Holden on a horse and steps aside to take a call as the carousel starts up. When John takes back, there's no sign of Holden.
Alex wants to take Scarlett with her to New Hampshire to stay with her mother, and John insists that they have full protection. He plans to move out because the killer will come after him, and he doesn't want to make Alex and Scarlett a target. Alex admits that she wants John to go and insists that she doesn't blame him for Holden. However, she can't stand to see John because of his resemblance to Holden.
At the Cortez, Marcy greets her new clients. She talks about how she had to put her dog down, and leads the father, fashion designer Will Drake, and son Lachlan into the hotel. Will explains that he's moving his family to the East Coats. As Lochlan throws his ball against a window, the faceless man appears briefly to him. Lochlan runs back to Will, and Iris asks what they want. Marcy explains that she's the realtor handling the sale of the hotel and will be conducting the walkthrough. The realtor introduce Will as the new owner and takes him and Lochlan upstairs to the penthouse. Liz joins Iris, who warns that they're going to be turned out on the streets.
Marcy takes the Drakes into the penthouse and is surprised to find a naked Donovan on the couch. He demands to know who they are and why they're in the room. He goes to the Countess's room to complain, and Marcy brings Will in. The Countess knows all about him and convinces him to have a drink. Will notices an Arik Levy sculpture and says that there's energy. Donovan wonders where they'll live, and the Countess tells him to show Will the James Turrell sculpture. She glares at him and Donovan reluctantly leads them off. Lochlan wants to stay and look at the Countess' records, and she immediately agrees. Once Marcy, Will, and Donovan leave, the Countess tells Lochlan that she wants to show him something he'll enjoy.
The Countess takes Lochlan and talks about how she lives in New York. Lochlan wants to talk to strangers, and the Countess assures him that they'll be great friends. She knocks on a wall and it opens, revealing a room filled with large-screen video games and huge cases of candy. Several children are there, dressed in black and white, and Holden invites Lochlan to play.
Later, Donovan goes to the lobby and Iris complains that they're being tossed out. He tells his mother that it's time to let go.
Iris watches from her car as Sally leads Donovan into the Cortez. Liz is working the front desk and watches them go up to a room. Iris comes in and begs Liz to tell her where she can find her son. She pays Liz everything she has,but Liz demands more and advises her to go to the nearby drug store and the ATM.
In the hotel room, Sally shoots herself up and then offers the same needle to Donovan. After a moment, he takes it and shoots himself up, and then collapses on the bed. Sally smears lipstick on her face and Iris pounds on the door. The junkie finally answers the door and Iris storms in and demands to know what she gave Donovan. Sally insists that she took the same thing and is fine, and goes to the door. Iris realizes that Donovan is dead and breaks into tears. In the hallway, Sally pauses at the window and looks outside... and Iris shoves her to her death. Iris goes back to the room and finds the Countess sitting on the bed, admiring Donovan's jawline.
John packs his bag while Alex watches. He kisses Scarlett goodbye and then drives to the Cortez and checks in. He goes to Room 64 and sits on the bed... waiting.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 8, 2015