Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Horror Hotel Cinema : The Horror Hotel (1960)

Ladies and gentlemen, take your seats...

For tonight's show we have a stone cold classic for you, and the film from which your ever-amiable Hotel manager took the inspiration (read : plagiarised shamelessly) for this very Hotel you sit in now.

THE HORROR HOTEL tells tale of a studios college gal who has a hard-on for witchcraft, and wishes to write an article on the subject. To get a greater feel for the macabre matter, she heads off to the remote village of Whitewood, where its said that a 'Salem-style' witch trial took place back in the 17th century. One which led to the burning of Elizabeth Selwin, an understandably embittered satanist. Before the poor kid even arrives in town, strange and creepy shit starts to ruin her day, and its only about to get a whole lot worse when on reaching her destination, she realises that witchcraft may be more than just fodder for religious nutcases and fairy tales...

Tonight's film is a simply stunning little lost gem. Its drenched in that fog enshrouded, spooky goodness we all cherish from the oldies, and, unlike many of the films for its period, this one actually remains genuinely chilling. The film takes some structural cues from other movies of the time, (most notably Hitchcock's 'PSYCHO'), and weaves them into a surreal, almost nightmarish narrative in which atmosphere is everything. There are hints of Lovecraft, a touch of Hammer, (the mighty Christopher Lee plays the college professor who sends our intrepid college hottie on her way to Whitewood, AND SHE TRUSTS HIM!!!), and a satanic feel that was finding its cinematic footing at the time of production.

The fabled town of Whitewood is a character unto itself, and is the source of the movies wellspring of dread and impending doom. And its beautifully shot, well acted and perfectly paced. And if I'm not wrong, theres a good chance that Mr Argento found some inspiration for the second film in his 'Three Mothers Trilogy', INFERNO. You just cant go wrong with this one, folks.

So, turn out the lights, crank up the sound and head on over to Whitewood for a taste of good old fashioned Horror. Just don't stay in the Hotel......


  1. I just watched Horror Express yesterday, also with Lee... I wonder how many movies he has been in that start with HORROR...


  2. Lee is Tres Cool! This such a great, campy flick!

  3. @Kev...I imagine a LOT :D

    @Blaze...its a firm fave of mine. LOVE the atmosphere and the set design