Horror Hotel (The City Of The Dead) (1960)

A lost, underrated horror movie about witchcraft in a small village in modern day Massachusetts. This a real creepy movie full of atmosphere. It lacks the corn factor of most witchcraft movies and is well worth seeking out.

It starts in 1692 in Whitewood, Massachusetts. Elizabeth Selwyn is being burned as a witch  She calls out to Jethrow Keane. He’s asked if he ever consorted with her and he says no. Then he calls out for Satan to protect Elizabeth.

Switch to a college class in modern day. Professor Alan Driscoll (Christopher Lee) is lecturing a small group on witchcraft. One of the students is Bill Maitland, a total jerk. His girlfriend is Nan Barlow (Venetia  Stevenson). She’s interested in the subject and wants to investigate further. Her brother, Dick Barlow is a science professor who thinks the whole thing is crazy.

Nan is determined to go to Whitewood, Massachusetts to do some research,. Driscoll tells her to mention his name to Mrs.Newless at the Ravens Inn. Over the objections of Dick and Bill she goes. She says she’ll show up at a birthday party a couple weeks later.

On the way to Whitewood she picks up a man on the road who says that’s where he’s going. It’s Jethrow. When she gets to the Inn and gets out of the car she turns and Jethrow’s gone. The first person she sees inside is the mute Lottie. Then Mrs.Newless shows up. Nan discovers a trap door in her room under a rug. She can’t open it.

She goes to the church across the street. A blind Reverend warns her to get out now. The town is run by the Devil. Instead she walks around and doesn’t notice the creepy people standing around in the fog. She goes to a shop and meets Patricia Russell. Her grandmother died and she’s going through the place. The Reverend is her grandfather. She loans Nan a book on witchcraft.

Back in her hotel room she’s checking it out. She hears chanting coming from under the trap door. Mrs.Newless says it’s just the water pipes. She invites her to join the other guests who are dancing to some crappy music in the living room.

She finally decides to join them but when she opens her door they’re all gone. She decides to investigate under the trap door after finding a way to open it. Bad move.

Dick and Bill are concerned when she doesn’t show up. They call the cops and they go to the Ravens Inn. One cop meets Patricia coming out and she says she was there to get back a book Nan borrowed. She says she just left two weeks ago.

She goes back to Driscoll’s looking for Nan. She wants to return a locket of Nan’s. Driscoll says Whitewood is his home town. Eventually Patricia, Dick and Bill all head to Whitewood in separate cars.

If you like horror movies don’t hesitate to find this one. No way it should linger in obscurity, especially considering all the junk out there in this genre. This is a lost gem.

Before this movie Venetia Stevenson appeared in episodes of the TV shows “Colt :45” and “Sugarfoot.”

Venetia Stevenson as Nan Barlow

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
This entry was posted in British Movies, Horror, vintage movies and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Horror Hotel (The City Of The Dead) (1960)

  1. This is a great pick. The cemetery finale has to be one of the eeriest scenes ever filmed

  2. vintage45 says:

    I really like it when a movie takes me by surprise. The title didn’t hold out much hope for me but it’s on an all time favorites list. Another one that came out of nowhere was 1955’s “Dementia” aka/”Daughter Of Horror.” Not a witchcraft movie but a very weird trip. It’s another one of my all time favorite movies.

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