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Horror Hotel (1960)

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Release Date: Sep 12, 1961 Limited

audience

68

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 3,589

My Rating

Movie Info

George Baxt scripted this extraordinarily good chiller from a story by Milton Subotsky, who also co-produced. A college student (Venetia Stevenson) with an interest in witchcraft goes to the Massachusetts town of Whitewood. It's a foggy, spooky town which gets even scarier when Stevenson discovers that the owner of the Raven's Inn, Mrs. Newlis (Patricia Jessel) is in fact a 268-year old witch. Jessel sold her soul to the Devil to regain her life after being burned at the stake. The whole town is

Aug 5, 1998

Trans Lux Inc.

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All Critics (5) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (2) | Rotten (2) | DVD (6)

It sports what may be the best, most terrifying (happy) ending ever seen in a genre fear fest - a genuine tour-de-force so powerful in its imagery that it almost single-handedly erases any reservations one has about the rest of the movie.

July 8, 2008 Full Review Source: ESplatter
ESplatter

Not as scary as you'd like

June 29, 2004
Film Journal International

Cheesy horror that looks like a TV show.

August 14, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

It may seem a somewhat trite and corny affair when compared with today's definition of 'horror movies,' but this one has the market cornered on atmosphere.

January 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for Horror Hotel

I don't know why you'd want to study witchcraft in college, but I suppose someone might want to. And then to visit an old village in the middle of nowhere to do some research alone? That sounds like a horror movie waiting to happen. The girl in this movie isn't too bright, but the witches and warlocks know what they're doing. This movie is pretty good as a cautionary tale, but it could have been made better.
November 22, 2010
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

Given the runaway success of Hammer's horror movies at the time that this rival feature was made, I find it remarkable that, besides poaching one of the studio's stars, Christopher Lee, Horror Hotel a.k.a. City of the Dead owes practically nothing to Hammer; in actual fact, it's barely even recognisable as a British movie. The groovy teenage characters, presumably a reflection of the target audience of the day but dating the picture badly, recall in particular the output of American International Pictures. Curiously, but coincidentally since all three movies were in production at the same time, certain elements of Horror Hotel are uncannily reminiscent of two much more famous and influential horror movies: Mario Bava's Black Sunday a.k.a. The Mask of Satan (the opening scene) and Hitchcock's Psycho (heroine slain at remote hotel; sibling and lover investigate her disappearance). Beautifully photographed in black and white, with the fog machine switched to overdrive, the atmosphere is wonderfully potent. Adopting a rare American accent, Christopher Lee gives an excellent, understated performance as a college professor specializing in the occult; Patricia Jessel and Valentine Dyall are equally marvellous as the leaders of a Massachusetts witches coven.
November 20, 2008
harrycaul

Super Reviewer

Admittedly a bit hokey, but the atmosphere (especially during the final showdown) is spectacular.
January 23, 2007
mjgildea

Super Reviewer

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