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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Class Movie
This is a slightly different version to Horror Hotel released a few years ago. For one thing, there are no cuts unlike the previous version. Another, picture and sound is far superior as well and also contains extras which I am sure movie fans of Christopher Lee will find very interesting indeed. Plus an interview with Venetia Stevenson, the tragic heroine of the movie...
Published on 27 Jun 2004 by E. A. Redfearn

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Movie, Terrible DVD
First released in 1960, this little known horror movie has stood the test of time. Its amazing how critics get their facts wrong though having read a few reviews. Only one lady was burnt at the beginning of the movie, and that was Elizabeth Selwyn! Overall though, its quite an atmospheric movie with plenty of thrills and one or two shocks. But the real stars are the sets,...
Published on 3 Jan 2004 by E. A. Redfearn


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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Class Movie, 27 Jun 2004
By 
E. A. Redfearn "eredfearn2" (Middlesbrough) - See all my reviews
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This is a slightly different version to Horror Hotel released a few years ago. For one thing, there are no cuts unlike the previous version. Another, picture and sound is far superior as well and also contains extras which I am sure movie fans of Christopher Lee will find very interesting indeed. Plus an interview with Venetia Stevenson, the tragic heroine of the movie. Overall, its a really good buy of a little known Horror Flick first released about 1961 and has stood the test of time. Its spooky, enhanced by its haunting sets in a fog bound village. Much of the movie is dark, but the DVD version looks very sharp and clear. Sound, although mono is adequate. A classy movie which deserves to be seen by a new generation of Horror fans. They knew how to make them in those days.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic stylized horror B-movie, 10 Sep 2007
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This is a classic low budget horror B-movie from 1960. The acting performances and set design are highly stylized and although very visual a lot is left to the imagination. It's shot in B&W and the lighting and cinematography are excellent. This film was a low budget production but the overall package exceeds the sum of it's parts - its high quallity and like a fine wine it will get better with age.

You should buy the VCI version which is the widescreen collector's edition. It was painstaking restored with the cooperation of the British Film Institute and is complete and uncut. The digital transfer is excellent and the audio (mono) is crystal clear. The are also numerous special features such as audio commentary from John Moxey and Christopher Lee. The interviews with Moxey, Lee and Stevenson are highly entertaining. This is a superb example of how a classic film should be restored and released on DVD.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Occult Classic, 8 Jun 2007
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WARNING: This review reveals some key plot elements.

The City Of The Dead, a.k.a. Horror Hotel, is a classic creepy tale about witchcraft in a New England village (but filmed in England) featuring superb black and white photography and some wonderfully eerie sets.

The film opens in fine horror movie style with a prologue similar to that of Mario Bava's Black Sunday - In the 17th Century an accused witch called Elizabeth Selwyn is burned at the stake and as the flames begin to lick her body she makes a pact with Lucifer and vows to return and unleash her revenge on her condemners. The story then moves to the present day where, following a lecture given by her tutor Professor Driscoll (Christopher Lee), Nan Barlow, a young female student who is studying the history of witchcraft and occult practices, travels to the remote mist-enshrouded village of Whitewood - a place with a long history of witchcraft attached to it where the aforementioned Elizabeth Selwyn and many other witches were executed, in order to research material for her term paper. En route she gives a lift to a mysterious stranger who seems to just vanish into thin air when they arrive in Whitewood. She checks into a hotel, The Raven's Inn, run by the sinister Mrs Newless (who is not really who she appears to be), and from then onwards her fate is sealed...

This is a great horror movie and it proves that you do not need a mega budget and high-tech special effects to make an atmospheric horror film. This particular DVD version presents the film in its fully uncut format and in widescreen, with the option of a commentary by Christopher Lee himself. There is also a bonus disc included that is full of extras the best of which is a 45 minute interview with Christopher Lee. During this interview, the veteran actor talks about some of his films and some of the legendary directors he has worked with. He also makes a few snipes at the media and the British Film Industry, particularly film producers. I am sure his comments and criticisms are apt and well deserved. When Chris Lee talks about films and the film industry I tend to sit up and listen - I cannot think of any other living actor who has made more movies than he has so he certainly must know what he is talking about.

The City Of The Dead may not be quite up there with other British classics such as Witchfinder General and The Wicker Man but it is still a fine example of 1960s horror filmmaking and an essential movie for any serious horror fan to have in their collection. You can draw comparisons between this movie and Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece Psycho, made shortly after this film. Nan Barlow is a very similar character to Psycho's Marion Crane - for a start they look alike physically and they both drive away alone, stay in a creepy hotel and then suffer a terrible fate.

This movie may also have influenced Stephen King for his novel Salem's Lot - the New England town setting and a vampire called Barlow. Dario Argento's gothic nightmare Suspiria also has a similar plot to The City Of The Dead - a young girl travels to a ballet school in Freiburg, Germany, and discovers that the school's inner sanctum is home to a coven of witches. It is interesting to note as well that Inferno, Argento's follow-up to Suspiria, features black-cloaked witches with talon-like hands like the ones in The City Of The Dead and the climax of Lucio Fulci's almost identically titled City Of The Living Dead, where the zombies burst into flames, is not dissimilar to the fiery climax of The City Of The Dead.

So what are you waiting for? Candlemass Eve? Go and buy this film, along with Night Of The Eagle (another early-1960s witchcraft classic), and treat yourself to a double dose of diabolical delights - when the clock strikes thirteen!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare gothic treat, 14 Sep 2007
I remember watching this one winters late evening, after the parents had gone to bed. The atmosphere it evoked then can still be found here twenty years later. The film is a chiller in the true sense of the word - it seeps mist, and most of the film is centred around an overgrown graveyard, lending the black and white footage a cold quality. Although Christopher Lee is in this, he's certainly not the star, and the slight hamminess of the young American actors does not detract from the mood of the film either. It comes across as a genuinely dark tale of black magic and witches. (No offence to wiccans)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dig that crazy beat..., 11 April 2009
By 
Matthew Mercy (Hertfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
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The first chiller produced by future Amicus head-honcho Milton Subotsky, The City of The Dead (1960) remains a firm, somewhat overrated favourite of horror fans, particularly in the US, where it is better known under its alternative title, Horror Hotel. With its Lovecraftian plot, structural similarities to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, and Massachusetts setting, it is not difficult to understand why the film is more popular with American audiences than British ones (especially since the nearly all-British cast of this Shepperton-made potboiler are required to put on some rather wobbly accents). An atmospheric but largely illogical story of human sacrifice in a mist-covered hamlet populated almost entirely by re-incarnated witches, The City of The Dead features some gaping plot holes and sub-standard performances from its leads, and gets by largely on its memorably gloomy photography, a shocking plot twist halfway through the film, and a trio of memorably evil villains in Patricia Jessel, Christopher Lee, and the description-defying Valentine Dyall.
This is a good DVD release (perhaps a little too good, considering the middling quality of the movie itself), featuring a BFI-restored print of the film, two separate commentaries, one featuring director John Moxey, the other with Christopher Lee, and two lengthy interviews, one with Lee, the other with female lead Venetia Stevenson. The original trailer is also included. I have remarked on this in other Amazon reviews, but I think the point is a good one and worth repeating here; if Lee can find the time to contribute to prestige releases of minor films like this, then surely he could bring something to new releases of infinitely better movies from his CV, such as Horror of Dracula or The Devil Rides Out?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Original (UK) Title Graphics Superb Chiller!, 11 Sep 2008
By 
Mr. B. Fraser (London United Kindom) - See all my reviews
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The quintessential black and white British chiller.
Though a studio bound production, this minor masterpiece has achieved something of a cult-status film.Shrouded in fog, the mysterious Town of Whitewood has a malevolent atmosphere throughout and the occupants are as nefarious as Mrs. Newless, the proprietress of the 'Raven's Inn'.
Patricia Jessel carries the film, perfectly cast as a sinister housekeeper...
The (VCI) edition has been expertly remastered with a reversible DVD artwork cover (best) it is not shown here,the extras contain the original (UK) cinema quad with bold black and red graphics. Exciting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A B-Movie? Some of my best friends are B-Movies..., 20 Jun 2014
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A.J.Bradley (Belper,Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Horror Hotel [DVD] (DVD)
This is one I'll be keeping until late autumn: late Friday night. I've seen it a couple of times before and rate it as one of the best - if not the best - of its period. No greater fan than I hath Valentine Dyall!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Horror Hotel/City of the Dead, 12 Jun 2014
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S. Holmes (GB) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Horror Hotel [DVD] (DVD)
Not the full English version aka City of the Dead. Good cast and plenty of atmosphere. Watch the City of the Dead version if possible.
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5.0 out of 5 stars classic, 8 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Horror Hotel [DVD] (DVD)
classic horror very good.c lee at his best.good performance from old crooner dennis lotus.british horror at its best.a classic.thanks very much
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 6 Dec 2013
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very good example of early horror.Lights off popcorn and back in time, horror with out abusive languge. woul be ok for all.
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