6.8/10
4,394
109 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

Production Co:

 »
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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: I've got a score to settle with Mrs. Newliss!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Zombie Horror Picture Show (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Devil Worship in New England, Past and Present
18 February 2004 | by See all my reviews

******SPOILERS****** After listening to a lecture by Prof.Alan Driscoll, Christopher Lee, on the town of Whitewood Massachussetts back in 1692 where a local witch, Elizabeth Slwyn, was burned at the stake one of Prof. Driscoll's students Nan Barlow, Venetia Stevenson, decided to do a term paper on the subject. Nan drives to Whitewood to get whatever information she could get on the subject from whats available in the towns records dating back to the 17th Century about witchcraft in general and the Slwyn case in particular.

Getting instructions from a reluctant local living in the area Nan drives into the town of Whitewood and checks into the Raven Inn where she meets the owner Mrs. Newlis, Patricia Jessel, and her mute helper Lottie, Ann Beach. Nan, unknowing to her at the time, was to meet a fate reserved only for someone like her, an innocent girl, that was needed for the Witches Holiday of February 1, Candlemass Eve the Satanic mocking of the Church.

Early Witchcraft and devil movie that predated "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Exorcist" but despite it's small budget is as good as either of those movies and the dozens of imitations that followed them. Eerie and spooky film about Witchcraft in New England that covers some 300 years from the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 to the beginning of the Disco Swinging era of the 1960's.

The town of Whitewood is both in the dark and fog at all times in the movie with not a single ray of sunlight ever descending on it. This gives the town a really creepy look as well as unnerving everyone in the theater audience watching the film. It makes one feel that the movie was made in Northern Alaska during the time when it has six months of darkness instead of the state of Massachussetts.

Gripping as well as interesting movie with a great ending sequence where good overcomes evil despite the overwhelming odds against it.


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