Horror Hotel (1960)

Have I mentioned already that watching 31 horror movies in 31 days is not as easy a task as it sounds? The end of the month is near and I fear we’re going to fall far short of our goal, but we must push forward!

So here we are at number 16: Horror Hotel (or City of the Dead). Christopher Lee plays Alan Driscoll, a history professor with a very eager student, Nan, who is intrigued by the witch trials of New England and wants to spend her holiday doing research there for her term paper on witchcraft. Her beefy boyfriend and scientific-minded brother Dennis don’t like this nonsense one bit, especially considering she may be late to her cousin’s birthday party which is a week away (oh no!). But Nan being the headstrong proto-feminist that she is doesn’t care what they have to say, and lucky for her Professor Driscoll knows just the place for her to stay: The Raven’s Inn in Whitewood.

The first hint that Nan is venturing into iffy territory is the gas-station attendant (of course), who warns her that a pretty young thing like herself should turn back. But again, Nan disregards the advice and drives on. As she gets closer to town, she picks up a strange man who is also going to Whitewood. Once they arrive, he disappears from the car without a trace.

She sure *looks* like a witch!

Things only get weirder from there. The lady running the Raven’s Inn is more than a little odd, and so is Lottie, the mute girl that cleans the rooms and very obviously knows more than she is able to communicate. After settling in, Nan finds her way to the local book store and borrows a book about witchcraft for her studies. She promises to return the book, but that may be difficult seeing as how she’s been pegged for VIRGIN SACRIFICE!

This movie’s pretty allright. Had some good spooks and plenty of fog and mist (well, at least enough to obscure the obvious from Nan). It had a little of that old-timey-women-can’t-fend-for-themselves (-unless-they’re-a-witch) feel to it, which is always enjoyable for me. And, while I think he’s underused, Christopher Lee is pretty good as well.


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