Press Junket for The City of the Dead, aka Horror Hotel (1960)

Synopsis

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."

(John A. Kostecki, IMDB)

Director

John Llewellyn Moxey

Cast and Crew

Writing Credits
George Baxt (screenplay)
Milton Subotsky (story)

Cast
Dennis Lotis – Richard Barlow
Chirstopher Lee – Alan Driscoll
Patricia Jessel – Elizabeth Selwyn/Mrs. Newless
Tom Naylor – Bill Maitland
Betta St. John – Patricia Russell
Venetia Stevenson – Nan Barlow
Valentine Dyall – Jethrow Keane
Ann Beach – Lottie
Norman Macowan – Reverend Russell
Fred Johnson – The Elder
James Dyrenforth – Garage Attendant
Maxine Holden – Sue
William Abney – Policeman

Produced by
Seymour S. Dormer – executive producer
Milton Subotsky – executive producer
Donald Taylor – producer

Max Rosenberg – producer

Music by
Douglas Gamley

Cinematography by
Desmond Dickinson

Film Editing by
John Pomeroy

Art Direction by
John Blezard

Press

Reviews

Steve Biodrowski, Cinefantastique

Egregious Gurnow, The Horror Review

Thomas Scalzo, Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Other Information:

The definitive gauge of a horror film’s quality rests in its ability to create effectively frightening antagonists. And in this respect HORROR HOTEL delivers. With the inimitable Christopher Lee as the malevolent professor, Patricia Jessel as the menacing innkeeper, and Valentine Dyall as the phantasmagoric hitchhiker, HORROR HOTEL boasts an effective triumvirate of terror, each member contributing to a palpable aura of evil. (Thomas Scalzo, Not Coming to a Theater Near You)

The four-star level of weirdness earns HORROR HOTEL/CITY OF THE DEAD a place alongside the most memorable horror movies. On top of that, it sports what may be the best, most terrifying (happy) ending ever seen in a genre fear fest – a genuine tour-de-force ... The New England setting, the witchcraft rituals, and the twist with Professor Driscoll being part of the coven — all of these tie in nicely, creating a solid storyline the pulls the viewer along into the movie’s strange world ... And it is strange. HORROR HOTEL is one of those lucky films (”accidental art,” as I like to call it) whose missteps and limitations somehow magically fall into place, creating a weird alternative universe — a sort of Twilight Zone in which the incredible seems completely natural. To begin with, there are no actual exterior location shots anywhere in the movie, which was filmed entirely on studio sets, creating a claustrophobic sense of being cut off from the world at large ... The film’s second major lucky break lies in the fact that it is an English production set in New England. The British cast strives with varying degrees of success ... to affect mid-Atlantic accents, and the result is a stilted artificiality that almost makes the film sound dubbed. However, as with the unreal (or surreal) exteriors, the strange vocal inflections only increase the off-balance sense of being set apart from the real world, adding another layer to the perception that we are trapped in a dreamy, imaginary landscape. (Steve Biodrowski, Cinefantastique)