Hotel Room poster
|Also known as||David Lynch's Hotel Room|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||3 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||27, 25, 47 minutes|
|Picture format||NTSC (480i)|
|Audio format||Stereophonic sound|
|Original release||January 8, 1993|
Hotel Room (also called David Lynch's Hotel Room) is an American drama anthology series that aired for three half-hour episodes on HBO on January 8, 1993, with a repeat the next night. Created by Monty Montgomery and David Lynch (who directed two episodes), each drama stars a different cast and takes place in hotel room number 603 of the New York City-based "Railroad Hotel", in the years 1969, 1992, and 1936, respectively. The three episodes were created to be shown together in the form of a feature-length pilot, with the hope that if they were well received, a series of episodes following the same stand-alone half-hour format would be produced later. Following a negative to lukewarm reception, HBO chose to not produce more episodes.
The series opens with the following narration, written and spoken by co-creator David Lynch: "For a millennium, the space for the hotel room existed, undefined. Mankind captured it, and gave it shape and passed through. And sometimes when passing through, they found themselves brushing up against the secret names of truth."
Each story stars a new cast, and takes place in a different year, but is confined in the room 603 of the Railroad Hotel, located in New York City. The same bellboy and maid are featured in each story, as if they do not age.
Barry Gifford wrote and Lynch directed the first and third episodes; Lynch had previously adapted Gifford's Wild at Heart novel to film. Jay McInerney wrote and James Signorelli directed the second. The series was produced by Deepak Nayar, who had worked with Lynch on Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me and On the Air, and executive produced by Monty Montgomery and Lynch. This was Peter Deming's second collaboration as cinematographer with Lynch after On the Air. The music was composed, conducted and orchestrated by frequent Lynch collaborator Angelo Badalamenti, while Lynch was responsible for the sound design.
According to Gifford, HBO were trying to emulate the success of the anthology series Tales from the Crypt, but "they wanted sexier or comedic pieces, not serious sex and not satire exactly, but something else."
Gifford wrote five scripts, of which HBO produced two. He retained the rights to all five of them, and has turned them into plays that have been performed in several states of the U.S. The teleplays for "Tricks" and "Blackout", along with the unproduced "Mrs. Kashfi", which was deemed too controversial by the network, have been published in a book by the University Press of Mississippi. "Blackout" was written in just two days, to replace a script by David Mamet that Montgomery wasn't satisfied with. Gifford's script was only 17 pages long, but Lynch's cut of it came in at 47 minutes, by far the longest of the three episodes. HBO aired a truncated version of it, but the VHS release contains the longer, and director's preferred, version.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||"Tricks"||David Lynch||Barry Gifford||January 8, 1993|
|September 1969. Moe arrives at the Railroad Hotel where he and a hooker named Darlene are shown to the hotel room 603. Before Moe can act, a man from his past named Lou arrives at the room and takes control of the situation, to the detriment of Moe. The two converse as Darlene smokes marijuana and tells them she used to be a cheerleader. Lou insists she perform a routine for them, she obliges with a very seductive dance and falls to the floor due to lightheadedness. Lou picks Darlene up, undresses her and despite Moe's protest, proceeds to have sex with her. Some time later, Moe and Lou accuse Darlene of murdering her husband, which she denies before screaming for help and leaving the room. Lou assures Moe that everything will be all right. Later that night, the police show up at room 603, find Lou's wallet in Moe's pocket, and tell Moe that he is under arrest for the murder of Phylicia. Moe becomes hysterical and protests as the screen cuts to black.|
|2||"Getting Rid of Robert"||James Signorelli||Jay McInerney||January 8, 1993|
|June 1992. Sasha arrives in room 603, and soon her friends, Tina and Diane, join her. After Sasha angrily berates the maid for accidentally hitting her in the head with a champagne cork, the three friends discuss Sasha's relationship with her future husband, Robert. Sasha intends to tell Robert that she is breaking up with him as they "don't talk enough", although in reality she is aware of his adulterous behavior. When Robert arrives, although initially attentive to Sasha, he begins openly flirting with both women and openly kisses Tina when she leaves. Before Sasha has a chance to break things off with Robert, he takes the opportunity to break up with her, saying she is not a nice person. Sasha becomes upset and tries to assure him that she can change. As Robert attempts to leave, Sasha hits him over the head with a brass fireplace poker. The maid enters the room to see Sasha trying to hide a semiconscious Robert, who is bleeding from the head. After calling the doctor, the two promise not to fight anymore. They tell the maid to leave and share a kiss on the hotel room floor as the screen fades to black.|
|3||"Blackout"||David Lynch||Barry Gifford||January 8, 1993|
|April 1936. A significant power failure occurs in New York; a man (Danny) enters his room with food and finds his wife on the settee in the darkness with a hand on her eyes. Danny tells Diane about his day and tells her he will take her to the doctor tomorrow. Diane appears to have psychological problems, as she soon forgets the bellboy was ever in the room and believes Danny has been talking to her in Chinese. The couple alludes to something that happened to both of them "17 years ago". Diane begins talking nonsense: discussing Danny's time in the Navy (despite the fact that he was never in the Navy), then of a giant fish that tells her stories of her six children, of which she claims Danny is one. Danny assures his wife that they no longer have any children - their son drowned in a lake at the age of two. Diane at first seems not to remember, then to believe their child is still alive, then finally remembers that he is dead. Danny tells Diane a story about his old friend "Famine", to which she does not really pay attention. As Danny watches the rain outside, Diane picks up a lit candle and begins hauntingly following it around the room before collapsing. After Diane recovers, she claims she was not drunk when their son drowned and that Danny was away, which he protests that he was not. Diane asks that when they see the doctor tomorrow, they not mention the death of their son. Suddenly, the hotel phone rings, and the person calling asks to speak to Diane. Diane converses with the man whom she reveals was the doctor they are seeing tomorrow. As Diane lies on the sofa, the two seem to come to terms with the death of their son, they share a kiss as the lights of the hotel finally come back on. They go over to the window to see the view, when a blinding white light engulfs the whole room as the episode ends.|
Hotel Room was broadcast on HBO on January 8, 1993 at 11 pm, and again on January 9, at 12 pm. In its first broadcast, it rated first in its time slot on HBO.
The three episodes of the anthology has been released in VHS by Worldvision Enterprises. In Japan, a LaserDisc with English audio and burned-in Japanese subtitles has been released by Pony Canyon. Bootleg DVDs captured from either of these two sources also exist.
The New York Times wrote: "David Lynch has long raised suspicions that his work would be most at home on late-night television, but "Hotel Room" indicates otherwise. This setbound omnibus drama, produced by Mr. Lynch and featuring three weak episodes set in the New York City hotel room of the title, plays like a listless visit to a Lynch-style "Twilight Zone" where stories go nowhere, anecdotes are pointlessly bizarre and lame quips are echoed emptily, as if banality were a form of wit." Newsday had a similar opinion: "Even if you're a diehard "Twin Peaks" freak who's incorrigibly wild at heart, you'll be itching to check out of this 90-minute trilogy (premiering tonight at 11) long before the door finally closes on the tedious doings in Room 603 of the Railroad Hotel in New York City." Variety was a little more positive regarding the third episode: "With the exception of a fine performance by Alicia Witt and a few intriguing moments, the episodes are flat and wooden, lacking the fascinating darkness of Lynch's other work." A more positive review was printed in the Los Angeles Times, which wrote that although it wouldn't become a hit, Lynch fans would enjoy it: "As you might expect with the talent involved, this is the "Grand Hotel" not quite so much of the twilight zone as of hell itself, definitely not for the tastes of typical travelers but a marvelously absorbing stay for the Lynch true-faithful, at least."