There might be a few people who would gladly point out that The Dolphin from the movie 1408 and the Hotel Cortez from American Horror Story: Hotel are on opposite sides of the country and couldn’t share much in common apart from the idea that they’re ghost stories set in hotels, but it’s fun to take a deeper look anyway. While The Dolphin is located in New York City, NY, and the Cortez is located in Los Angeles, CA, the fact is that they’re both haunted, but it would appear that the Cortez is a far livelier place than the Dolphin. But who’s to say that’s the case? True, there’s little to no real connection between the hotels in pop culture since they don’t belong to the same story, but it stands to reason that if there’s one room in the Dolphin that houses such negative activity, there might be other rooms that aren’t quite as noticeable, but share a bit of the spiritual corruption that nearly drove Mike Enslin crazy. The short story that inspired 1408, by Stephen King no less, was slightly different from the movie, but many similarities helped it to move along.
In terms of appearance, the two hotels reek of class, but The Dolphin is a little more classic since it would appear that any renovations and updates that have been made have been done so without changing the overall look of the place. The Cortez is also rather classy but has a slightly edgier look to it with greater contrast between the various colors, the light and the shadows, and the very feel of it. This could have something to do with the fact that the evil that resides within the Cortez, which is justified in its own chaotic way, is allowed to roam from one spot in the hotel to the other. There are localized areas that are stronger than others in spiritual residue, but more often than not, Cortez’s ghostly residents can move about as they will. The spirit within room 1408 is immobile in that it doesn’t move and it apparently cannot affect the rest of the hotel, other than to become a part of its long and storied history.
Room 1408 is an interesting case since it’s not haunted, as many would think. True, the movie does show ghostly individuals moving about here and there, but the fact is that the room, as it’s described, is simply evil. Stephen King has made it quite clear in a lot of ways that the evil he writes about is not always localized in a spirit, an individual, or even in a physical form. That makes room 1408 even scarier since there is nothing to fight against, other than the room itself. To be fair, trying to fight the spirits in the Cortez is possible, but it’s not wise since the lot of them would only keep coming back, and are therefore just as impossible to destroy. Still, it would be interesting to see if one of those spirits could be caught in something similar to room 1408. How a spirit might react to something that was essentially formless would be interesting.
Looking at the two hotels it’s fair to state that they both take full advantage of the fact that hotels are, like it or not, places that are perfect for ghost stories since the idea is that there are thousands if not millions of stories that take place in these locations, sometimes mundane and boring, and sometimes terrifying and morbidly interesting. Most people don’t want to think about this since it kind of ruins the whole idea of staying in a hotel, especially when it comes to how many fluids might remain within a room. Haunting doesn’t even come into play with some folks since they’re more worried about what other people might have left behind. That’s kind of funny to think about since a haunting is technically something that’s been left behind, even if it’s something that can’t always be detected by people who don’t want to believe in the supernatural. Another amusing point is that the spirits in the Cortez and room 1408 don’t require a person to believe, they just need them to visit.
When looking at the two hotels it’s very easy to point out the differences since being located on opposite ends of the country makes it difficult if not impossible to connect the two hotels. But there are always ways to tell a story and possibly make a connection. In this case, however, no similarities are really needed to compare how terrifying each story is since while the Cortez was essentially a body that had been taken over by a cancer and was inundated with evil, the Dolphin was still popular without needing to acknowledge room 1408 unless it needed a light turn, as the manager, Olin stated.
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