6.8/10
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107 user 79 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:
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...
...
Tom Naylor ...
...
...
...
Ann Beach ...
Lottie
...
Reverend Russell (as Norman Macowan)
Fred Johnson ...
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  »

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Box Office

Budget:

£45,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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 »
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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

Although it might be more cinematic, witches were never burned at the stake in New England. They were either hanged or pressed (by large rocks being placed upon them by villagers). Burnings of witches happened in England. See more »

Quotes

Richard Barlow: [to Nan] Any good encyclopedia will give you all the nonsense you want to know about witchcraft.
Prof. Alan Driscoll: Witchcraft is not nonsense, Barlow.
Richard Barlow: I'm sorry, Driscoll, witchcraft, black magic, sorcery, to me it's all mumbo jumbo. I'm a scientist, Driscoll, I believe what I can see, what I can feel and touch.
Prof. Alan Driscoll: The basis of fairy tales is reality, the basis of reality is fairy tales. As a scientist you should be familiar with that quotation.
Richard Barlow: Well I don't believe that somebody in Chicago can die of a heart attack...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Andrew Klavan Show: Blaming Harvey's Victims (2017) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Surprisingly good! Atmospheric and imaginative witchcraft chiller.
9 November 2002 | by See all my reviews

'Horror Hotel' (sadly the copy I bought has this tacky title, which is the only thing I can fault about it) really surprised me at just how creepy and atmospheric it was. I was expecting some camp fun, but it is actually a very effective and inventive movie for such a cheap effort. The story sucks you in, and the acting for the most part is above average. Christopher Lee is billed as the star, which isn't exactly true, but he is excellent in his scenes, and Patricia Jessel is even better in a very enjoyable duel role. I also admire how director John Moxey (his movie debut. He also went on to make 'Circus Of Fear') was able to conjure up a spooky New England town with basically just a few sets and some fog. A great example of imaginative low budget horror movie making at its best! Highly recommended to fans of 'Carnival Of Souls', and 'Black Sunday'. 'Horror Hotel' isn't a great an achievement as either, but it shares some similarities in style and feel. This is one extremely underrated movie!


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