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26 Reviews
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Bewitching minor classic, 2 July 2013
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I have to agree with all the comments on the technical quality of the VCI release. It is first class and is in all respects far superior to the odd ones that were around under the "Horror Hotel" banner.
The storyline is suitably creepy though not that taxing so the film relies upon the personalities and the excellent atmosphere created by the convincing sets and photography. The acting is far better than might be expected in a low budget film. Lee, of course, is very dependable and Valentine Dyall continued the sinister path upon which he set forth as radio's The Man in Black. The ladies all do well with Patricia Jessel being very evil as Selwyn and her modern version stated as Newless but Newlys seems more appropriate being a simple anagam of Selwyn.
The surprise for me was Dennis Lotis. He was once a singer with the great Ted Heath and his Orchestra, a role he continued in many reunions, tribute shows etc. I saw and met him a few years ago in Benidorm when he was part of a typical nostalgia night at Benidorm Palace. In this film I found his acting quite good and I know that he made a few other films in the '50s and '60s.
The cast is essentially British (Betta St. John is American but was in England for many years) and I usually have a mental block with British actors with false American accents (and vice-versa). The mid-Atlantic accents bothered me not at all here as the opening of the film is set in Puritan times and they would have been speaking English and, as the main "baddies" were immortals, their accents would not have changed.
I consider this something of a classic of the British horror genre and one to enjoy along with "Night of the Deman" and "Night of the Eagle".
It just goes to show what can be done on a small budget and a small cast.
In respect of the extras, I found them all entertaining though Lee's interview was by far the best.
I have mixed feeling about extras. They are generally a one time only event for me, interesting but not essential.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Horribly Wonderful, 11 April 2013
This review is from: Horror Hotel [DVD] (DVD)
Horror Hotel is certainly quite an intriging film. The movie which deals with witchcraft in the 60s in an oldy worldy town looks well ahead of it's time.

At first I was not to sure about Horror Hotel, Christopher Lee's character seems to be sending up or playing a prank on the main female character. You'll understand when you watch. But my first thoughts on this film were that it is just outdated. I was wrong. After about the first 30 mins and Lee's eventtual non prank, the film turns eerie and very dark.

There are a few intended jump scenes that I am sure would have made cinemagoers back in the day jump with fright- and although the effect is somewhat diluted in 2013, the thought of what the film was trying to achieve is still there.

It's well acted and a solid piece of horror. Those wanting the more complete film and a better print may want to check out City of the Dead- same film, different title.

All in all, a pleasing film. One word of note to Chris Lee fans. His performance here is more of a cameo than anything else.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Horror Hotel., 8 Jan 2013
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I liked this movie..the first time i saw it.
Many years later..it still has the same effect on me.
Different...but good!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Film, 29 Dec 2012
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Peter Harrison "Tornado Pete" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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If you are going to buy any version of this film, make sure it is the VCI release. It's crisp and clear and contains all the missing footage the Americans were daft enough to remove for the Horror Hotel release. It's a great atmospheric film, about witchcraft. Some fine acting from, apart from Tom Naylor, who plays Bill Maitland; about as wooden as one gets, even when dying! All we need now is a colourised version with subtitles...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ciy Of The Dead - An Underrated Classic, 14 Dec 2012
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When I first saw this b-movie on an obscure Satellite TV channel a few years ago I was really impressed by the movie's dark sinister atmosphere and top notch acting (well, apart from the guy who plays 'Maitland. his voice is just totally unconvincing and annoying) Christopher Lee is on top form here as the 'Messenger Boy' sent to acquire victims for his undead colleagues.

Also the movie is worth watching for the quite sexy Patricia Jessel as head witch/landlady Elizabeth Selwyn/Mrs Newless. Sadly Patricia died in 1968, only eight years after this movie was made at the tender age of only 47. The movie makes use of some good effects for its time and the vision of Valentine Dyall (later to play the Black Guardian during the 1980's run of Doctor Who) standing silhouetted in the fog is quite unnerving too with his fantastic deep sinister voice which made him famous in radio circles.

There are some really good extras on this disc too including interviews with Christopher Lee and Venetta Stevenson. An interview with John Moxley is another bonus.

There are also two audio commentaries on this. One featuring Christopher Lee on his own and the second one featuring director John Moxley.

This was one of the reasons I choose the Region 1 version as these extras are not on the UK release.

All in all a great movie. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars DVD version at last!, 10 Dec 2012
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This film (aka: Horror Hotel in U.S.) has always been a favorite but we only had a VHS version. This DVD with additional footage deleted from the U.S. VHS version was just what we were looking for!
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5.0 out of 5 stars resotred horror classic scares again., 3 July 2012
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Michael Dobey (colorado springs) - See all my reviews
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If you love old horror movies , and I mean pre midsixties when things really got going with more money and such. Then this one is for you, they have restored this movie and it looks pretty darn good for a regular dvd. Before they restored this is was a mess of lines and scratches now it looks sleek with a few specks now and then. They even put back two minutes of footage. This is a spooky and creepy flick by even todays standards except there is not blood or actual showing of sacrifices in this one. It was after all 1960 and british cinema wasn't allowing to vivid violence yet. This was made by the brits that year; with the great Christopher Lee featured in it with his usual menace. However what sets this apart here is that some of the actors are veterans of the stage and cinema. This is s superior b movie in that regard. When you can get experienced people both in front and behind the camera then this is a huge step up compared to the usual first timer b movie type of affair. This is classy and although it's in black and white it doesn't hurt this one at all. And if you didn't know this was shot in England you would have thought that this was a american movie! It's about a coven of satanic witches in New England U.S.A. after all. Certainly there have been real evil covens that are not wiccans throughout history. (Satanists) but few of them actually killed people , still the whole premise is scary here even without the supernatural aspect of this movie. The scene where a young woman looks out of her window to see black hooded satanists chanting through the fog as they head for her doom is really chilling. A modern horror fan might not be as enthusiastic about these earlier movies because they are not as explicit but this one is classy and done by long time screen veterans. Therefore you don't have clunky acting or dialog in this movie. Serious film critics would give this horror gem high marks for it's atmosphere and acting. There are two long interviews with several actors here as well. Patricia Jessel is outstanding as the lead witch in this one. She had a real menace to her acting. She died at only age 47 sadly in 1966. Quite young even for those days. This is a tight little movie that isn't campy and was played straight, horror fans back then must have been delighted with this movie. As it treated them with respect and fine acting. This was also known as "Horror Hotel' but the original title suites it better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Burn, witch, burn", 12 April 2012
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Autonome (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
What an incredible UFO of a movie! This is a fantastic, genuineley scary B&W 1960 British film - that came and went like a meteor, with no marked origin and no significant legacy. Everything is weird, bizarre and unsettling in this gem: the amazing shadowy light provided by genius cinematographer Desmond Dickinson, the oblique close-ups on people, witches, villagers, hoods....The formidable atmosphere created by the thick mist surrounding the village of Whitewood, the fact that this is a very British movie trying to impersonate events taking place in Massachussets (and this explains a lot of the "weird" tone of the movie), and needless to say one of the most terrifying casts EVER to grace the screen. Christopher Lee, terrific as peaceful (?) history professor Alan Driscoll, but also the wild and beautiful Patricia Jessel, who died too early (aged 47) and the sonorous Valentyne Dyall as Jethro. All of this together gives a really fascinating, heavy, nail-biting movie, directed by the relatively unknown John Moxey, who came from television and would mostly go back to television after this. This movie is one of a kind, unlike anything you have seen.
The VCI edition pulls all the stops: the copy is restored and posts a beautiful B&W, the commentaries by Lee and Moxey are insightful but the gem of all these extras is the career-length interview of Christopher Lee, revealing and very frank indeed! A masterpiece trated in a very masterpiece manner. Bravo!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric gem !, 26 Feb 2012
This review is from: Horror Hotel [DVD] (DVD)
This is a memory from late Friday night Tv on my local channel.
From the credits on it just became one of my favourite horror films.
It helps enormously being in black and white, But even though it may not be the scariest movie ever made, I find it really atmospheric, The Director decides to keep musical score in the film to a minimum, which is a really clever move, and it just adds to the overall feel.
Okay some of the acting is a bit ropey, But an early role for Christopher Lee is a treat ,and The actress playing Elizabeth Selwyn [Whos name escapes me] is very good.
Catch this if you can, Its just a bit different and certainly has a unique style!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Picture Quality, 20 Dec 2011
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This is a great early 60's British horror film and an interesting alternative to the approach of Hammer Films of the same period.

Some of the supposedly contemporary American "youth" oriented dialogue is hilariously clunky by modern standards (and may even have seemed so at the time). But what sells the film is the restrained gothic power of the scenes set in the village - all swathed in dense and swirling fog.

The other reason that you will want this disk is that VCI's widescreen edition exhibits exemplary picture quality. For a very low budget black & white film from the early 60's the video quality is nothing short of stunning. The print is anamorphic, very sharp indeed and shows barely any age-related wear. Blacks are rich and inky and the range of grey tones on show is fantastic. The mono sound is crisp and clear.

Frankly, I could not fault it. And its very reasonably priced to boot!
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