A young coed (Nan Barlow) uses her winter vacation to research a paper on witchcraft in New England. Her professor recommends that she spend her time in a small village called Whitewood. He...
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Roy Ward Baker
A young coed (Nan Barlow) uses her winter vacation to research a paper on witchcraft in New England. Her professor recommends that she spend her time in a small village called Whitewood. He originally cam from that village so he also recommends she stay at the "Raven's Inn," run by a Mrs. Newlis. She gets to the village and notices some weird happenings, but things begin to happen in earnest when she finds herself "marked" for sacrifice by the undead coven of witches. It seems that the innkeeper is actually the undead spirit of Elizabeth Selwyn, and the "guests" at the inn are the other witches who have come to celebrate the sacrifice on Candalmas Eve. As one of them said when Nan walked away, "HE will be PLEASED." Written by
John A Kostecki <email@example.com>
"City of the Dead" aka "Horror Hotel" was the first film made by Amicus Productions, one of Hammer's most successful rivals in the 60s and 70s. At the time of this film, however, the company was known as Vulcan Productions. See more »
The character played by Tom Naylor is called "Bill Maitland" in the dialogue but shown as "Tom Maitland" in the end credits. See more »
"Psycho", "Black Sunday", "House Of Usher", "Peeping Tom",... 1960 truly was one of the greatest years ever for Horror cinema. In the same year in which Mario Bava brought us THE single greatest witchcraft film of all-time (and, in my personal opinion, one of the greatest films ever) with his masterpiece "La Maschera Del Demonio" (aka. "Black Sunday"), John Llewelin Moxey came along with this awesome and immensely creepy little Horror gem named "The City Of The Dead" (aka. "Horror Hotel"). While "Horror Hotel" may not quite be a milestone en par with "Black Sunday", this doubtlessly is a masterwork of creepy atmosphere. None other than the great Christopher Lee stars in this surprisingly obscure Gothic tale which is stunning from the first minute. This truly is a genuinely scary and terrifying cinematic experience that no Horror lover could possibly afford to miss.
"The City Of The Dead" ingeniously begins in 1692, when the accused Witch Elisabeth Sewlyn is dragged to the stake and burned by the people of Whitewood, Massachusets. Almost three centuries later Professor Alan Driscoll (Christopher Lee) is teaching history classes on the phenomenon of Witchcraft. He sends his best student, a girl named Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson) to the village of Whitewood, where she is to do research on the Sewlyn case... The first few minutes alone are actually creepier than the majority of films get at their climax, and a scary beginning certainly isn't the only thing this film has to offer. The village of Whitewood is the creepiest place imaginable, an obscure cemetery and a gathering of eerie old houses, surrounded by dark, menacing forest. The ingenious black and white photography intensifies the film's atmosphere, this could not have possibly been as intensely creepy if it had been shot in color. Equally great is the score, the main theme is easily one of the creepiest pieces of Horror soundtrack I ever heard. It do not suppose it is necessary to mention that Christopher Lee is one of the greatest Horror icons ever, and he is once again brilliant in his role. So is Patricia Jessel, who is ingenious in her double-role, and who sadly did not appear in many other films after this one. Great supporting performances include Valentine Dyall and Norman Macowan in the role of a blind old priest. In short: "Horror Hotel" is a film that is still terrifying after almost half a century, and a must-see for every Horror fan!
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