Friday, October 1, 2010

"Fright Flix" presents- City of the Dead/Horror Hotel (1960)

"This excellent exercise in atmosphere -- about a New England town ruled by a coven of witches -- falls just short of greatness thanks to an excessive reliance on horror movie clichés (e.g., sinister residents of said town staring ominously at the hapless protagonists). Yet while the lack of subtlety and refinement relegate the film to the ranks of entertaining spook shows (rather than genre classics), the four-star level of weirdness earns HORROR HOTEL a place alongside the most memorable cult movies ever made. On top of that, it sports what may be the best, most terrifying (happy) ending ever seen in a horror film -- a genuine tour-de-force that is so powerful in its imagery that it almost single-handedly erases any reservations one has about the rest of the movie."

On 3 March 1692, in Whitewood, Massachusetts, the witch Elizabeth Selwyn is sentenced to be burned at the stake, and her partner Jethrow Keane asks LĂșcifer to save her. About three hundred years later, the college student Nan Barlow decides to spend her vacation in the town to research witchcraft. Her professor Alan Driscoll suggests Nan to lodge in the Ravens Inn, managed by Mrs. Newless. Once in the village, the naive Nan is advised by the local priest, Reverend Russell, to immediately leave the place, where devil has ruled over for three hundred years, but she decides to stay and find that she is in a coven of evil witches. Nan vanishes, and the granddaughter of Reverend Russell, Patricia Russell, pays a visit to Nan's skeptical brother, Richard Barlow, and her boyfriend Bill Maitland, and they decide to follow her steps. Once in New England, they realize that a group of immortal witches have to sacrifice two beautiful women per year, one on Candleman Eve on February 1st, and the other on the Witch Sabbath, to stay alive forever, and only the shadow of a cross would be able to destroy them.

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