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City of the Dead/Horror Hotel


College student Nan Barlow visits the village of Whitewood as research for her paper on witchcraft in New England, particularly the case of Elizabeth Selwyn. Her tutor, Professor Alan Driscoll(Lee), recommends the Raven's Inn, run by a Mrs. Newless. Rather unwisely, given the amount of low-hanging fog outside(and against the advice of Mrs. Newless), Nan takes an immediate interest in the basement... You can find more information regarding this film on its IMDb page.

The City of the Dead}}

The City of the Dead (U.S. title: Horror Hotel) is a 1960 horror film film directed by John Llewellyn Moxey and starring Christopher Lee and Valentine Dyall. Produced in England but set in America, the British actors were required to speak with American accents throughout.


On the recommendation of her professor (Christopher Lee), a young female student (Venetia Stevenson) travels to the fictional Massachusetts town of Whitewood to do some research into witchcraft. She finds the town occupied by the reincarnation of an infamous witch (Patricia Jessel) burned at the stake in the 17th century; in order to sustain her immortality, virginity must be human sacrifice to her every year – and this year, the student has been the chosen victim.


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


The script was originally written by George Baxt as a pilot for a TV series starring Boris Karloff. The producer Milton Subotsky rewrote it to be longer, including a romantic subplot about the boyfriend who goes looking for Nan after she goes missing. Finance was obtained from TV producer Hannah Weinstein along with money from the NFFC.< name="x cert"/>
Production began on 12 October 1959 at Shepperton Studios with a budget of £45,000. Milton Subotsky was credited as the film's executive producer. The film was produced by Vulcan Productions, although because it was made by Subotsky and Rosenberg it has been considered the first Amicus Movie.< name="amicus"/>

Censored lines

In the American version, a few minutes of dialogue were removed, including these lines near the beginning, which fit in with and clarify the plot of the movie:
  • "I have made my pact with thee O Lucifer! Hear me, hear me! I will do thy bidding for all eternity. For all eternity shall I practice the ritual of Black Mass. For all eternity shall I sacrifice unto thee. I give thee my soul, take me into thy service."
  • "O Lucifer, listen to thy servant, grant her this pact for all eternity and I with her, and if we fail thee but once, you may do with our souls what you will."
  • "Make this city an example of thy vengeance. Curse it, curse it for all eternity! Let me be the instrument of thy curse. Hear me O Lucifer, hear me!"


Comparisons to Psycho

This film has been compared to Psycho (1960 film) due to structural similarities. Both films begin by establishing an attractive blonde woman as the viewpoint character, leading the audience to assume she will be the protagonist through the rest of the story. In both films, the blonde travels to a remote location and checks into a hotel or motel run by an eccentric manager. In both cases, the audience's expectations are shattered before the midpoint of the story when the blonde is abruptly stabbed to death. IMDb notes that "The City of the Dead (1960), a British horror picture that was released three months after Hitchcock's film, seems to have independently hit upon the idea of killing its [blonde] protagonist before the film is half over"


The film was a box office disappointment although it did make a small profit.< name="x cert"/> It was not released in the US until 1963 under the title Horror Hotel.


Heavy metal (music) band Iron Maiden use scenes from this film in the music video for their song "Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter". King Diamond also uses clips in his "Sleepless Nights" video as do punk band UFX in the video to "Bitch", while Rob Zombie used Christopher Lee's opening words to similarly pace his track "Dragula (song)" from Hellbilly Deluxe. In addition, the punk band Misfits (band) wrote a song called "Horror Hotel" (the American release title).

See also

  • List of films in the public domain

  • Bibliography

  • Category:1960 horror films
    Category:1960 films
    Category:British films
    Category:British horror films
    Category:Supernatural horror films
    Category:Gothic horror films
    Category:Directorial debut films
    Category:Films set in hotels
    Category:Films set in Massachusetts
    Ben Arbeid

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