1960 | Color | 1 Hr 18 Min | Horror | PG-13 | Vulcan Films
John Llewellyn Moxey
Synopsis:A young college student arrives in a sleepy Massachusetts town to research witchcraft; during her stay at an eerie inn, she discovers a startling secret about the town and its inhabitants.
Hammer films big rival Amicus (Vulcan) Productions first feature the City of the Dead is nothing to skip past. Director John Llewellyn Moxey drop's us into a small town with this twisted tale of witchcraft. With gorgeous set pieces, you are quickly drawn in and with an all-star cast to drive the story along City is worth tracking down.
Also worth the mention City had a name change when it came to the states as Horror Hotel. The film omits a few lines during Elizabeth Selwyn's burning at the stake in the first scene, which is critical to fully understanding the plot but apparently offended American censors or the heavy populated Catholics that had some strange power over Hollywood. Thankfully I watched the none American version and after reading what lines they did edit out I have to say skip Horror Hotel.
Although Christoper Lee is the big name here Patricia Jessel is nightmare fuel. She has this look about her the is creepy and her pushy attitude makes you hate her even more, this is pure gold! Lee was young looking for me most movies I have seen with him he already has grey hair.
Former mother in law to Axel Rose, the stunning and adorable Venetia Stevenson lights up the dark screen in the lead role. Her performance is so loving you can forgive the hard edges during some of the dialogue. Shortly after the City of the Dead Stevenson left acting but did not leave Hollywood she became a script reader for Burt Reynolds's production company and, subsequently, became vice-president of Cinema Group, a production company that made several films in the 1980s.
Tales from the Crypt composer Douglas Gamley sets the mood with an eerie soundtrack for chants to the low melody undertone's that build up the tension and never let's go until the last credit rolls by. The Jazz music used for the dance sequence was from Ken Jones.
I know most of my readers are fans of Witches, Ghosts, and anything Halloween so with that said if you have not seen The City of the Dead I highly recommend putting this on your Halloween season watch list. From the creepy atmosphere driven with a great soundtrack and an ensemble of actors that we know and love, City of the Dead is well worth your time.
|4 Bloody Brains out of 5|