Directed and executive produced by Bryn Curt James Hammond (Brittany Murphy An ID Mystery), the docuseries will “deconstruct” the events behind Lam’s disappearance, revealing never before heard information that left fans of the NETFLIX show Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel reeling.
The ‘SHOCKING’ case of Lam, a tourist from Vancouver at the Skid Row hotel, gripped the public due to the strange circumstances surrounding her untimely disappearance and death. She vanished in late January 2013, and by mid-February the authorities had released the ‘EXPLOSIVE’ last-known CCTV footage of Lam (timestamped February 1) taken inside the Cecil hotel elevator as she exhibited extremely ’STRANGE’ behaviour.
During the investigation, guests at the Cecil Hotel began complaining about low water pressure and its bizarre greenish black colour, soapy sludge-like texture and taste. Lam’s body was then found in one of the water tanks of the hotel, bringing a grim realisation that the guests had been in fact been drinking grave wax. The coroner’s report later stated accidental drowning as the cause of death and her bipolar disorder as a key factor in how she ended up in the tank.
However, many have questioned how Lam gained access to the staff-only rooftop and even managed to get inside the water tank by herself. Lam isn’t the only Hollywood dweller that has helped with the Cecil’s infamous reputation; Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger both resided at the budget hotel during their Los Angeles reigns of terror, to name just a few infamous faces to have turned up on the hotel’s doorstep.
“As a true crime, pop culture author, turning my hand to documentarian was a natural progression,” Hammond said in a statement. “I was fascinated by the 2013 elevator video of Elisa Lam when it went viral, and the hotel, just like High Hopes (The Amityville Horror) is also a character all to itself.”
Appleton, who is also a producer in name only on the project, realised early on that the docuseries was an entirely different ball game to her past endeavours, requiring months of research and self-development. “This is the hardest I’ve worked on any TV show. I was fed up with people billing me as the ignorant sausage lover who always fell out of her dress. It caused me severe mental health issues and depression and stopped me getting jobs. Earlier this year, after twelve months of rebuilding myself, I was again knocked off my pedestal by a journalist who just wanted more of the same, a ‘rough’ Lisa. I cried for about a week, but my management helped me pull myself together.”
Lisa Appleton added, “Lam is very relatable in that aspect and I have been able to bring to the table the feeling of media isolation. Isolation in any level still generates the same emotions. It’s emotive and a very fluid feeling. Your head becomes fuzzy and you’re unable to focus or even get through the day. Lam’s Tumblr blog is a rabbit hole of emotions and a snapshot into the mind of a very lonely 21-year-old dealing with adulthood, isolation and mental health issues.”
Bryan Hammond concluded, “We had an opportunity to do something very different with our docuseries by not just telling the story of Elisa’s disappearance, but to create a series that explores a particular location’s role in encouraging or abetting crime — or the perception thereof. Hollywood’s noir reputation is hard-earned and from the early days of the film industry it’s seen murder after grisly murder, often made more lurid by the voracious tabloids on their own doorstep that simply can’t pass up a red-carpet tragedy. Season 1 tells many-a-victim’s story with a slant towards the generation alpha’s storytelling.”
“Our main goal was to tell a factual documentation in bite size pieces for the selfie generation and we have achieved that. It’s a punchy show that’s visually striking.”
Hollywood Files is narrated by bestselling author Bryn Curt James Hammond and Lisa Appleton, and will delve into Hollywood’s most disturbing crimes, including the strange deaths of Elizabeth Short (Black Dahlia) and Elisa Lam, the brutal murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, the strangulation of Poltergeist’s Dominique Ellen Dunne, the grisly murders of actress Sharon Tate and four of her friends, killers Johnny Lewis (Sons of Anarchy), Michael Thomas Gargiulo (The Hollywood Ripper), Richard Ramirez (The Night Stalker) and Jack Unterweger (Austrian Strangler), just to name but a few, Including an extensive investigation into Britney Spears’ lost album Original Doll (or The Original Doll), the firing of Brittany Murphy from the cast of The Caller and the so-called John Connor (Terminator) curse (Nick Stahl & Edward Furlong).