Elisa Lam, body found in hotel water tank, inspires horror film


The death of Canadian tourist Elisa Lam, whose body was found in a water tank atop a Los Angeles hotel, has inspired the plot of a Hollywood horror movie.

Lam, 21, was found dead in a water tank on the roof of the Cecil Hotel on Feb. 21, 2013. Her odd behavior in the hours before her disappearance sparked fears and conspiracy theories about how she died.

Deadline Hollywood reported that Sony Pictures Entertainment and Matt Tolmach Productions acquired rights to the screenplay “The Bringing,” speculatively written by Brandon and Phillip Murphy, which focuses on a detective’s mysterious encounters as he investigates Lam’s death. Sources confirmed details of the project to The Times.


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Before Lam’s body was found she had been missing for weeks. Los Angeles police released video from a hotel elevator that showed her acting strangely in the hours before her disappearance. She can be seen stepping into the elevator and pressing multiple buttons, then peeking outside. Later, she steps out of the elevator and waves her arms, but no one else is ever shown in the video.

The only way to gain access to the hotel roof where the water tank is located is through a locked door accessible only by employees and a fire escape that is supposed to sound an alarm.

Workers at the hotel discovered her body while investigating reports of low water pressure in hotel showers.

The coroner ruled that Lam died of an accidental drowning. The autopsy report noted Lam’s bipolar disorder was a significant condition but did not elaborate. Drugs were not a factor in her death.

The death added to the Cecil Hotel’s eerie history. The hotel was a favorite haunt of the late “Night Stalker” mass killer Richard Ramirez and Austrian serial killer Jack Unterweger in the 1990s.

Goldie Osgood, known as Pershing Square’s “pigeon lady” in the ‘90s, was also killed in a hotel room there.

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Times staff writer Daniel Miller contributed to this report.