The City of the Dead – a young college student goes to an obscure village, to research a paper on Witchcraft in old New England – but finds what she wasn’t expecting. After her disappearance, her brother and fiancé come looking for her …
The City of the Dead, aka Horror Hotel (1960) starring Betta St. John, Denis Lotis, Christopher Lee
The City of the Dead is a good, scary, and sad horror story. It’s one of those movies, like Psycho, where the person that the audience thinks is the protagonist, is replaced. A young college student is writing a paper on the occult. Her professor directeds her to a small village. A village they burnt a witch generations ago. But where the shadow of darkness still hangs over the place. And after her disappearance, her brother and fiancé go looking for her. And the question is: who, if anyone, can they trust there? What happened to her? What does it have to do with the past evil?
This classic of British horror has been painstakingly restored by VCI (with the cooperation of the British Film Institute) and is now complete and uncut; including more than 2 minutes of additional footage, which had been cut from the U.S. version, titled HORROR HOTEL. This also marks the first time ever this uncut version has been seen on video with its original title. THE CITY OF THE DEAD is an extraordinarily good chiller scripted by George Baxt, which still has the power to frighten fans of the horror genre.
A college student, Nan Barlow is researching the history of witchcraft. Taunted by her brother and fiancee, who have voiced their concern over her silly notions, Nan arms herself with resolve and drives into the small New England village of Whitewood. She is glad that at least she was able to count on the support of her professor. A bit anxious but consumed with curiosity, she will soon embark herself on the journey of her life! Introducing: Venetia Stevenson.
Cast of characters
- Dennis Lotis (Sword of Sherwood Forest) … Richard Barlow. Nan’s brother, who comes to the obscure village to search for her.
- Christopher Lee (The Crimson Cult, Horror of Dracula) … Alan Driscoll. The college professor, who directs Nan to the village, and recommends that she stay at the Raven’s Inn.
- Patricia Jessel (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) … Elizabeth Selwyn / Mrs. Newless. Elizabeth Selwyn was convicted and burnt to death for witchcraft. And she dies swearing revenge. Generations later, Mrs. Newless looks identical to her, and runs the Raven’s Inn. And she’s clearly dealing with the ongoings in the town.
- Tom Naylor … Bill Maitland. Nan’s boyfriend. He comes to the cursed village after her disappearance, and to the rescue at the conclusion. At great personal sacrifice.
- Betta St. John (Corridors of Blood) … Patricia Russell. The Reverend’s granddaughter. She’s selling her grandmother’s antiques, one of which she borrows to Nan. A book on witchcraft. Later, she’s to be the next human sacrifice.
- Venetia Stevenson … Nan Barlow. The pretty, nice young college student, writing a paper on witchcraft in early New England. She goes to the village where Elizabeth Selwyn was burnt for being a witch. Strange things happen. And people mark her as the first human sacrifice.
- Valentine Dyall … Jethrow Keane
- Ann Beach … Lottie. Mute servant at the Raven’s Inn. She tries to warn Nan. Later, she’s murdered by Jethrow as Mrs. Newless laughs.
- Norman MacOwan … Rev. Russell
- Fred Johnson (Support Your Local Sheriff, The Brides of Dracula) … The Elder
- James Dyrenforth … Garage Attendant
- Maxine Holden … Sue
- William Abney … Policeman