• The City of the Dead, aka Horror Hotel (1960) - John Llewellyn Moxey

    In hopes of breaking the British horror monopoly of the time, held by Hammer Studios, Amicus Productions’s issued their first film, John Moxey’s CITY OF THE DEAD (released in America as HORROR HOTEL).  A minor accomplishment in and of itself outside the consideration of the studio’s lack of experience and modest budget, CITY OF THE DEAD is a highly stylized, Lovecraftian witchcraft narrative which reminds us that gore is not a prerequisite for establishing and sustaining suspense and dread as Moxey supplements such with atmosphere and a poignant sense of gothic irony … [Moxey] not only makes our minds fill in the gaps, but forces them–ergo prompting the worst of our imaginations–to do so with worst case scenarios. In a nutshell, CITY OF THE DEAD is comprised of the substantial elements which make John Carrpenter’s IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS, Mario Bava’s BLACK SUNDAY (released a month prior to Moxey’s film), and Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO ever impressive affairs.  Moxey takes the Lovecraftian atmosphere, repetition, and dread of Carpenter and combines it with the plot of Bava while incorporating some ironically coincidental, but nonetheless effective, scenes from Hitchcock.  What results is an often overlooked gem of a film. (Egregious Gurnow, The Horror Review)

     

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    Categories: Classic Films