Thursday, October 6, 2011

October Challenge: Horror Hotel

Here is a movie with a creepy set, nice black & white photography, a coven of witches and Christopher Lee! The only thing I don't like about this movie is the title.

Horror Hotel / City of the Dead (1960)
Well the American title anyway.  "City of the Dead" is kind of cool.
A British film, set in America with British actors doing American accents.  Brilliant.

The movie starts with the burning of a witch back in the 17th century.  Fast forward to where Christopher Lee is a professor talking about the same burning now in the present.  BTW what do I have to do to get Christopher Lee as a professor of anything?  Anyway he send one of his students out to the town in the story for more research.  She uncovers a creepy town full of creepy people that look just like the people from the flashback.
College girls discovers all sorts of creepy things and is killed half way through the movie by the evil undead coven.  Her brother and boyfriend come to find her.  Rescue another girl and kill all the witches, Lee included, and the main witch dies when she can't complete her sacrifice to Satan.  Maybe she needed a school for girls instead.

This film is most familiar for the opening lines of Rob Zombie's "Dragula" for Christopher Lee's line "Fear, superstition and jealousy".  I didn't know that (and I should have really, there goes another hit to my street cred) and I laughed when I heard it.  I also can't help but wonder if this movie was just a little influence on his song and video "The American Witch".

In truth this film is slow, but a lot a of fun and still creepy 50 years later. The witch stuff is your typical witch = Satanist fare from that time, but it was still fun.  Christopher Lee was great and I didn't even realize the others were all British using American accents.
Patricia Jessel was great as the witch Elizabeth Selwyn and the modern version, Mrs. Newliss (Nywles; get it). If the film were redone today of course Selwyn would be portrayed as more sympathetic and Patrica Russel (the second girl and native to the town) would have her own magic from the "good" side of witchcraft.

Tally: 6 watched, 6 new

So to expand on yesterday's game idea.  The Salem School for Girls is for the best and brightest of America's young witches and it located in the town of Whitewood, MA.  While the school has had troubles in the past and the occasional rumor pops up about Satanism, that is all in the past.  Really. It is.
Guests can stay at the Raven Inn.

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