October Horror Movie Recommendation: The City of the Dead

October Horror Movie Recommendation: The City of the Dead

Every day for the month of October, Coming Soon is making a new horror movie recommendation for those eager to find a new frightening flick for Halloween. From the creepy goodness of a classy ghost story to a blood-spattered gorefest and everything in between, we’ll have something for every taste of horror. And today’s pick is…

The City of the Dead

What’s The City of the Dead about: A young and beautiful university student named Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson) gets a recommendation from her professor, Alan Driscoll (Christopher Lee), to visit the town of Whitewood, Massachusetts to further her studies of witchcraft. When Nan goes missing, her brother Dick (Dennis Lotis) and her fiancé Bill Maitland (Tom Naylor) travel to Whitewood where they must confront an ancient witch and the satanic cult that sustains her.

Why The City of the Dead rules: This 1960 film, also known by its U.S. title Horror Hotel, was made at the tail-end of the era of traditional black & white “B” horror films, and has the same ookie spooky vibe as many of the Universal classics. Horror legend Christopher Lee is awesome as the professor with a hidden agenda, as is Patricia Jessel’s memorable performance as the witch/innkeeper. It was directed by John Llewellyn Moxey, who ten years later would make the iconic TV horror film The Night Stalker which introduced the world to Kolchak. Since it was produced by Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg, this is also considered to technically be the first film from their Amicus Productions, which later brought us anthologies like Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965) and Tales From the Crypt (1972).

How scary is The City of the Dead: For fans of more classic, atmospheric horror this film is the perfect Halloween treat. There are many memorable scenes throughout, including a great scene where Nan picks up a hitchhiker, though the pacing is on the slower side. There’s lots of eerie fog and tense moments, but viewers accustomed to more gore should look elsewhere.

Be on the lookout for: *Potential SPOILERS* The film has a narrative beat very reminiscent of Janet Leigh in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Both films were released in September of 1960, so it’s hard to tell who may have been influencing who!

Where to watch The City of the Dead: This cult classic is available for free streaming to Amazon Prime members with a subscription, along with a RiffTrax version featuring heckles from the MST3K gang. Pick up your copy of the Blu-ray by clicking here or the DVD edition here!

CS October Horror Movie Recommendations:

October 1 – Session 9

October 2 – Bubba Ho-Tep

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