October 14, 2012

The City of the Dead (1960)

(AKA Horror Hotel)

"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."

Rather than write yet another review of "The City of the Dead" which nobody reads, I've just embedded the full movie from YouTube at the top of this post so you can watch it for yourself. It's ideal viewing for a gloomy Sunday afternoon.

As "City of the Dead" (AKA "Horror Hotel") is in the public domain, I used to keep a copy of it on my own YouTube channel (which I hope you've all subscribed to) until the amount of bogus copyright claims started to get annoying. When they tried to put adverts next to something which even I couldn't monetise, I took it down to stop the thieves from making any money.

I will just say that "The City of the Dead" has a great atmosphere, it's low-budget but looks good in black and white, and it's full of clichés. Maybe those clichés weren't quite so clichéd at the time though. Watch out for a reworking of the "phantom hitchhiker" story around 17 minutes in (and again around the 50 minute mark).

Standouts include Venetia Stevenson as Nan Barlow, Patricia Jessel in a dual role as Elizabeth Selwyn/Mrs. Newless, and, of course, Christopher Lee doing an American accent.

You can hear about the other details from the director, John Llewellyn Moxey, in the video below.

Here are the obligatory screencaps which most people only come to my blog to steal anyway. I don't care. I only took them from the Google image search myself.

I also found this interview with Christopher Lee about "The City of the Dead" (and a lot of his other films) which you might find interesting. Before you ask, no, I don't know what's wrong with the interviewer's mouth either.

Tonight, I'm going to see "Sinister" which I will write a review of tomorrow.

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