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Old 09-29-10, 10:08 PM   #1
Chad
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"Horror Hotel" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 4



Horror Hotel (1960)



IMDB PAGE

Selected by Melmoth.

Public Domain Streaming Link

These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 Films in 31 Days Subset.

Main Discussion Thread | The List Thread

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.

Spoiler tags are unnecessary in these discussion threads, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF SPOILERS.

Horror Challenge Home


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Old 10-04-10, 06:04 PM   #2
ViewAskewbian
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Re: "Horror Hotel" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 4

My confusion with aspects of this film begins early, I’m afraid. As early, in fact, as the title. Doing a Google search for the title brought me to City of the Dead, Horror Hotel’s alternate title. I wouldn’t classify the main location of this film as a city. Village of the dead, maybe, but this place didn’t even have a Starbucks. Horror Hotel makes slightly more sense except for the fact that the hotel in question is referred to as an inn for the entire film. Title gripes aside, I enjoyed the film for the most part once you try to suppress some gnawing plot problems. Such as, why is there a church located in a village of devil worshipers? Isn’t that like having a condom dispense in the Vatican? Ditto for the crosses. Why did the reverend remain in the town, anyway, with his knowledge of all the evil goings on and, more so, if he knew how to stop the cult why didn’t he do so before going all Stevie Wonder on us? The ever eerie Christopher Lee plays a small role in this film but vanishes so unexpectedly that you forget he was ever there. Perhaps he was in the village somewhere obscured by the copious amount of fog. I fear I missed some crucial elements of the plot because I couldn’t see it. If ever you are a wayward traveler seeking lodging in a suspect village your first tip to haul ass should be the noticing of a layer of fog blanketing the earth and never rising more then one foot off the ground. It is interesting to me that both this film and Psycho were released in the same year and both carry some distinct similarities. Some movies, though, brave through their blights and remain enjoyable. The films design creates the proper mood what with the aforementioned fog, some great lighting and good casting choices, especially that of Patricia Jessel. Although, I defy anybody who has seen Holy Grail to not shout "Build a bridge out of her " during the opening scene.
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Old 10-04-10, 10:31 PM   #3
Dick Laurent
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Re: "Horror Hotel" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 4

I thought it was a great watch. Terrific atmosphere, and some stunning visuals. Had a cold feeling throughout, which I found effective. Good pick.
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Old 10-05-10, 12:13 AM   #4
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Re: "Horror Hotel" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Interesting witchcraft film, set in New England but made in Olde England. Only some variable American accents give its pedigree away, however. Definitely worth watching, with some interesting parallels (as was pointed out above) to 1960's premiere horror film, Psycho.
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Old 10-05-10, 12:46 AM   #5
SterlingBen
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Re: "Horror Hotel" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by ViewAskewbian View Post
Such as, why is there a church located in a village of devil worshipers?
The church was very old as stated by several characters, it was presumable from before the village was made up primarily of devil worshipers.
Quote:
Isnít that like having a condom dispense in the Vatican? Ditto for the crosses.
It was an old tombstone.
Quote:
Why did the reverend remain in the town, anyway, with his knowledge of all the evil goings on
Because he was fighting them.
Quote:
and, more so, if he knew how to stop the cult why didnít he do so before going all Stevie Wonder on us?
He was trying to when they blinded him.
Quote:
The ever eerie Christopher Lee plays a small role in this film but vanishes so unexpectedly that you forget he was ever there. Perhaps he was in the village somewhere obscured by the copious amount of fog.
What are you talking about, he plays a large role, and is one of the main baddies in the film.
Quote:
I fear I missed some crucial elements of the plot because I couldnít see it.
Apparently so, I don't think you even watched this movie.
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Old 10-05-10, 02:31 AM   #6
cproaps
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Re: "Horror Hotel" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Clearly had the Psycho framework of the female lead dying early during a Wicker Man type story. Played like an old British TV show, but is well worth your time. Christopher Lee fans may be disappointed by his screen time, but he lends the film the deep sense of betrayal that makes his student's death more tragic.
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Old 10-05-10, 10:43 AM   #7
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Re: "Horror Hotel" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 4

I'm sure that I would have truly enjoyed this movie if I had found a decent showing but the online streaming that I found hindered the enjoyment of the movie. Still, I was very happy to watch the first Horror film from Milton Subotsky from the company that eventually became Amicus.
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Old 10-05-10, 01:46 PM   #8
ViewAskewbian
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Re: "Horror Hotel" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by SterlingBen View Post
The church was very old as stated by several characters, it was presumable from before the village was made up primarily of devil worshipers.

It was an old tombstone.

Because he was fighting them.

He was trying to when they blinded him.

What are you talking about, he plays a large role, and is one of the main baddies in the film.

Apparently so, I don't think you even watched this movie.
Okay, I will buy that the church was there previously. I mean, hey, old villages have old churches but are you trying to tell me that when the devil worshipers became the entire populace they wouldn't knock the thing down? Okay, sure, they couldn't go near it due to religiously memorabilia however as modern times advanced and they wired the village for electricity and phone surely they could have outsourced this job to Frankie's Construction or even a group of Mexicans. Ditto for the tombstone.

As for the minister...he was certainly a brave soul but not a wise one. He must have noticed that, when he set up shop in town, he had no congrigation. If his task was to "fight" the evil there he made a rather poor showing. Van Helsing he was not. I mean, how many decades of sacrifice has to go by before you just realize you suck. Call some friends in to help. Hey, it worked for creepy village dude at the outset. He called Lucifer. The priest should have tapped Christ for a hand. You think he'd turn to his wife after the blinding and say "You know, Agnus, maybe it's time to get that condo in Florida now".

My comment about Lee stands but you very could have me on it if he was not part of the villagers. From what I gather Lee, a professor of the occult, sent his student to the village to be sacrificed. He is confronted later at the school and as the others leave to investigate he fades out of the picture. Is Lee one of the villagers later because, if so, I totally did miss that?

(Also, note, my reviews are all rather tongue in cheek )
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Old 10-05-10, 01:59 PM   #9
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Re: "Horror Hotel" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 4

^ Yep, Lee did show up near the end a couple times as one of the hooded villagers. It wasn't a huge role I guess, but he did pop up enough to make me think of him as the main antagonist.

As for your problems with the priest and church, I took the whole situation to be one where the cult was mostly very underground until the start of the movie, and only at that point did they have a majority of the villagers and no fear of the church.

But yeah, I read your comments as mostly tongue-in-cheek, and admire your restraint in the above response.
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Old 10-05-10, 02:12 PM   #10
ViewAskewbian
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Re: "Horror Hotel" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
^ Yep, Lee did show up near the end a couple times as one of the hooded villagers. It wasn't a huge role I guess, but he did pop up enough to make me think of him as the main antagonist.
Ahhh, I really did miss Lee in the village and damned if I wasn't looking for him the whole time, too. Thanks Trevor and Ben for pointing that out. I do blame the fog, though.
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Old 10-05-10, 10:50 PM   #11
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Re: "Horror Hotel" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 4

This is among my favorite satanist/cult films, which is why I recommended it for the subset. I think its a perfect film to watch around Halloween because it has that classic horror atmosphere. The Whitewood village is quite eerie and sets the mood just right. The cemetery, ominous fog, hooded cultists all provide spooky imagery. I particularly liked the ending when Nan's boyfriend raises the cross, alighting the cultists on fire, a great image. Christopher Lee makes a strong impression even with limited screen time, and Venetia Stevenson is a likable protagonist, making the events that happen to her all the more terrible. Also have to give credit to Patricia Jessel, who is delightfully wicked as Mrs. Newless. VCI dvd has some nice bonuses including interview and commentary with Christopher Lee.
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Old 10-06-10, 12:19 AM   #12
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Re: "Horror Hotel" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 4

This year I'm trying to catch all the subset films and it's been paying off with another enjoyable pick.

The ending where the hero just rips a cross off the cemetery and dispatches the entire village seemed really corny to me (though I agree with Melmoth the imagery is good). It seemed to me a case of style over substance (like many horror films). Horror Hotel has some good atmosphere but at times the plot seemed a little too labored (which I think is what ViewAskewbian pointed out culminating in the ending brush-off).

The dramatic irony of being cued in the hotel clerk was a witch was nice and I liked how the films seemed to happen almost in chapters as the protagonists change.

For some reasons whenever I hear the title I can't help but think of the Misfits song.
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Old 10-07-10, 10:10 AM   #13
rabidgoatboy
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Re: "Horror Hotel" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 4

Horror Hotel is one of my favorite Christopher Lee movies. It might be the first Christopher Lee movie I ever saw. I need to dust off my old Elite DVD and watch it again.
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Old 10-10-10, 07:46 PM   #14
ororama
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Re: "Horror Hotel" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 4

I've seen Horror Hotel and the slightly longer British version, The City of the Dead. There is one shock effect shot which might have been cut from Horror Hotel, but there doesn't seem to be any other significant difference between the versions, and the movie isn't long, so I'm not sure why the American release version was shortened.

Christopher Lee was only signed to a contract for a day or two, so his screen time is short, but he is very effective. Valentine Dyall also sucessfully creates a mysterious and menacing character using few words. The low budget is apparent in the small cast, particularly in Whitewood, and the ending is a bit abrupt, but the filmmakers make the most of the resources that they have.

From the moment Nan picks up the hitchhiker, Jethrow, and turns off the main road towards Whitewood, it's clear that she is making a mistake. The almost deserted village shrouded in night and fog seems to be out of time. As in The Wicker Man, it's hard to understand why the outsider refuses to recognize the signs that the rules are different here and danger is approaching. She is apparently under the illusion that the rest of the world is like her bright, sunny college town, and regards her field of study to be a subject limited to the dusty past.

There were a lot of good British horror films made by other studios during Hammer's glory days, from the late 1950s through the early 1970s, and this is one of my favorites.
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