6.9/10
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106 user 76 critic

The City of the Dead (1960)

A young college student arrives in a sleepy Massachusetts town to research witchcraft; during her stay at an eerie inn, she discovers a startling secret about the town and its inhabitants.

Director:

(as John Moxey)

Writers:

(screenplay), (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Tom Naylor ...
Bill Maitland
...
...
...
Ann Beach ...
...
Fred Johnson ...
The Elder
James Dyrenforth ...
Garage Attendant (as Jimmy Dyrenforth)
Maxine Holden ...
Sue
William Abney ...
Policeman
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Storyline

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 <jak@wbst207v.xerox.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This key will answer your questions to these screaming mysteries...(next to a skeleton hand holding a key) See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 September 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

City of the Dead  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(uncut)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's American release under the title of "Horror Hotel" OMITS the following lines during Elizabeth Selwyn's burning at the stake in the first scene, which are critical to fully understanding the plot but apparently offended American censors:

Elizabeth Selwyn: "I have made my pact with thee O Lucifer! Hear me, hear me! I will do thy bidding for all eternity. For all eternity shall I practice the ritual of Black Mass. For all eternity shall I sacrifice unto thee. I give thee my soul, take me into thy service."

Jethro Keane: "O Lucifer, listen to thy servant, grant her this pact for all eternity and I with her, and if we fail thee but once, you may do with our souls what you will."

Elizabeth Selwyn: "Make this city an example of thy vengeance. Curse it, curse it for all eternity! Let me be the instrument of thy curse. Hear me O Lucifer, hear me!" See more »

Goofs

The character played by Tom Naylor is called "Bill Maitland" in the dialogue but shown as "Tom Maitland" in the end credits. See more »

Quotes

The Elder: Jethrow Keane! Hast thou consorted with the witch Elizabeth Selwyn?
Jethrow Keane: No.
The Elder: Burn the witch!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Hugely enjoyable chiller
28 July 2004 | by (Exeter UK) – See all my reviews

Having not taken much time to watch older movies of this genre, I was pleasantly surprised by how comprehensive the film was.

Black and white photography rarely seems to look this good, and has been one of the things that has turned me off such films before now. The visuals in City Of The Dead are so sharp and foreboding that they serve to accentuate the small town paranoia perfectly.

In terms of the characters, Patricia Jessel as Mrs Newlis and Christopher Lee as Prof Driscoll, are supremely sinister, whilst Venetia Stevenson as Nan Barlow, is hopelessly deserving of the viewers compassion as the witches prey!

I've come to love this film, not just for the sake of the film itself, but because it proved me so wrong in my assumption that most movies of this type/age are dull, it's incredibly watchable and tense.


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