It’s time for The City of the Dead blu-ray review, a black and white classic horror film that’s just been released on blu-ray courtesy of Arrow Video.
The City of the Dead (1960) is also known as Horror Hotel but don’t think that sounds a good name. In any case the film stars horror icon Christopher Lee.
- The City of the Dead (1960) aka Horror Hotel
- UK Rating 15
- Discs: 2 (Blu-ray & DVD)
- Released By Arrow Video
The film begins with Professor Alan Driscoll (Christopher Lee) giving a lecture to his students on the subject of witchcraft. He tells them of a town in Massachusetts called Whitewood in which a woman was accused of witchcraft during the 17th century. She was burnt at the stake but allegedly formed a pact with the devil and placed a curse on the town.
Back to modern day 1960 that is, and one student in particular is very interested in this story, Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson). She wants to go to old town to research witchcraft, Professor Alan Driscoll urges her to go the town of Whitewood giving her directions and a contact name of the woman whom runs the inn.
When she arrives she finds the town is surrounded by a strange mist, furthermore the locals appear very strange. What will she find there? Well you will need to watch The City of the Dead to find out…
Written by George Baxt.
Style / Direction
It’s a black and white film which definitely adds to the atmosphere, the fog that encompasses the town really adds to the apprehension when entering the town for the first time, the second time basically for the entire film.
The City of the Dead succeeds in keeping the viewer on edge throughout ramping up the uneasiness to unbearable levels at times.
Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey, with the cinematography being handled by Desmond Dickinson.
Music / Audio Effects
The music is excellent evoking the thought and feeling of witchcraft. It immediately makes you think of witchcraft rituals or some impending doom. The music is provided by Douglas Gamley & Ken Jones.
Acting / Characters
Christopher Lee is at his powerful best but it should be noted he is not the main character that the film follows although he is a key character. The main characters are Nan Barlow played by Venetia Stevenson and her brother Richard Barlow played by Dennis Lotis.
On the wholes the acting is good, with Christopher Lee of course stealing the show.
The one who lets the side down on the acting front is Nan Barlow’s boyfriend and fellow student. He really does stand out in a bad way, over playing his role, thankfully he is not in the film for long periods.
Conclusion: The City of the Dead Film Review
The City of the Dead works because the look of the film produces unease right from the moment we enter the town of Whitewood. The mist instantly puts the viewer on edge with the feeling of dread, the music then takes the film to another level.
Add a certain Christopher Lee to the mix and you have an excellent horror film with oodles of style and terror.
The US version went under the name of Horror Hotel and was in fact edited removing a couple of scenes. The name Horror Hotel is pretty lame compared to The City of the Dead which instantly conjures up feelings of trepidation.
If you are into classic horror films then look no further than The City of the Dead, perfect viewing for any horror night.
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Conclusion: The City of the Dead Blu-ray Review
No problems here, the film has had a 2K restoration and looks fantastic. The picture is crisp and clear and there are no signs of any marks or specks of dirt making viewing this horror classic a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
- Horror Hotel US Version (76 mins)
- Christopher Lee Interview
- John Llewellyn Moxey Interview
- Venetia Stevenson Interview
- Audio Commentary by director John Llewellyn Moxey
- Reversible Sleeve
Another excellent set of extras put together by Arrow Video, perfect for any horror lover / film lover.
The City of the Dead (1960) blu-ray is available now from Amazon.co.uk.
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Popcorn Cinema Rating: The City of the Dead (1960)
MOVIE RATING: WELL WORTH WATCHING
BLU-RAY RATING: EXCELLENT
POPCORN CINEMA: RECOMMENDED
The City of the Dead (1960) Film Trailer
For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…
Clip may not be representative of the Blu-ray version
That’s my The City of the Dead Blu-ray Review, if you have any thoughts on this film leave them in the comment section below:
Summary: The City of the Dead (1960) Blu-ray Review
Movie title: The City of the Dead (1960) aka Horror Hotel
Duration: 78 mins
Director(s): John Llewellyn Moxey
Actor(s): Christopher Lee, Venetia Stevenson, Betta St. John, Dennis Lotis, Valentine Dyall, Patricia Jessel
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Rating
The City of the Dead gives you feeling of dread right from the start. With a 2K restoration the film really can be enjoyed the way it was intended.