Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Horror Hotel (a.k.a., The City of the Dead) (1960).

The Scoop:
If H.P. Lovecraft had written "Psycho," it might have gone a little something like this.

Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson) is a likeable young co-ed learning about witchcraft from Professor Driscoll (Christopher Lee) who visits the town of Whitewood, Mass., to continue her studies firsthand. Unfortunately, she discovers more than she bargains for and soon her brother, her boyfriend and a sympathetic local bookseller join forces to find out what happened to her.

Despite Lee's limited role, this British cheapie zips right along with gothic creepiness, atmosphere and style to spare. If you're looking for some late-night Halloween viewing, you can't go wrong with this one.

(Word is, there's a remake of this in development. This news doesn't fill me with hope, especially if it winds up anything like the "Wicker Man" remake.)

Best Bit:
The climax, with the huge, backlit cross and burning witches.

Side Note:
Producer Milton Subotsky also wrote episodes for the long-running British television and film series "Dr. Who," where at least two members of the "Horror Hotel" supporting cast (Valentine Dyall and Norman Macowan) have also made appearances.

Companion Viewing:
"Black Sunday" (1960), "Burn, Witch, Burn!" (1962) and "The Blair Witch Project" (1999).


Take a Look:
The trailer is at YouTube:

But you can find the whole thing online through Archive.org.

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