HORROR HOTEL 1960 BOLD KING COLE 1936
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HORROR HOTEL (1960)
and BOLD KING COLE (1936)
HORROR HOTEL starring Patricia Jessel, Christopher Lee, Vanetia Stephenson, Betta St John and Dennis Lotis. Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey. With the encouragement of her college instructor, young Nan Barlow decides to visit the mysterious town of Whitewood to conduct research on the New England witch trials of the 1690s. She takes lodging at the creepy Raven's Inn, run by the equally creepy Mrs. Newless. When Nan fails to return from her trip her brother, joined by her boyfriend, journey to Whitewood themselves in hopes of finding her. It isn't long before they uncover a secret coven of blood-drinking witches and find themselves in danger of being sacrificed to Satan! One of the very best films of the genre, "Horror Hotel" is full of chills and suspense! Presented in its original wide-screen format.
BOLD KING COLE directed by Burt Gillett. Felix the Cat, being caught in a fierce thunderstorm, seeks shelter in the castle of King Cole, a terrible braggart who claims to fear nothing. The castle ghosts, however, are tired of his behavior and decide to teach him a lesson by literally beating the bluster out of him! A delightful entry from the Felix the Cat series produced by the Van Beuren studio.
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However, most of us grew to love his wonderful talent back in the period of Hammer Studios heyday. Hammer produced some of the greatest films horror films. Cheap on budget, high on quality, they gave you fun from vampires, to outer-space monster to witches. City of the Dead was the alternative title for this movie, directed by the marvelous John Llewellyn Moxey.
Chris Lee is Professor Alan Driscole, in Massachusetts in the US, and he teaches a course on the Burning Times and singles out one burning of a near by town called Whitewater - similar to the Salem hysteria. A student, Nan Driscole, is looking to do more in-depth research, so Driscole suggests she travel to Whitewater. He sends her to stay at an inn there on her winter vacation. Raven's Inn is run by Mrs. Newlys, a friend of Driscole. She says she will be closing the town soon, but welcomes Nan. Doing research Nan visits a near by abandoned Church and a bookstore. She finds an excellent book about the Selwyn execution for witchcraft, but cannot afford it. Patricia Russell owns the books store, so she gives Nan permission to borrow the book. Nan learns a witch, Elizabeth Sewlyn. was burnt on the very spot where Raven's Inn stands. Newlys is a strange woman, and it quickly becomes apparent there are dark doings at Inn. Nan is welcomed for reasons Nan knows nothing about and quickly finds herself marked for sacrifice.
When Nan fails to return, her brother, Richard, and her boyfriend, Bill, grow concerned. This disquiet is increased when Patricia pays him a visit and returns a bracelet belonging to Nan, mentioning Nan never returned the book she borrowed. Richard travels to the strange village that seems trapped in time. It is dark, brooding and literally reeks atmosphere (as only good Black and White horror films can!). No trace of Nan is to be found. Mrs. Newlys claims Nan left after only a days stay. However, as the time of for another sacrifice approaches, Patricia suddenly finds herself marked and the next victim and turns to Richard for help.
I bought it based on a few Amazon reviews, and I was more than happy. This movie is a treat with its rich black and white cinematography, swirling fog, sinister characters, and an overall fun feeling to it.
Don't let the simplistic, silly title throw you off.
"Horror Hotel" is a gem of the Friday Night Horror Double Feature genre. Low-budget and black and white, with just enough requisite corny dialogue, the film is campy but creepy in portraying the haunted town and its frightening residents.
The setting is deliciously gothic, down to the deserted and derelict cemetery and the darkling clapboard houses. The sun never rises in Whitewood and there is a constant ground mist. (The relatively poor condition of the non-restored VHS edition makes the film paradoxically even more enjoyable.)
Venetia Stevenson is both beautiful and entertaining as Nan the ingenuous college student. Christopher Lee's acting is ferretlike and intense, and Patricia Jessel is wonderfully despicable. Nan's friends, played by Dennis Lotis (as Richard Barlow), Tom Naylor (as Bill Maitland), and Betta St. John (as Patricia Russell) seem appropriately foggy and in the dark about the witch cult.
The film mixes and matches elements of Witchcraft, Satanism and Black Magic. It is definitely not at all documentary nor Politically Correct for Wiccans.
"Horror Hotel" will never win any Oscars, but it is one of the best films of its type ever made. The producers of The Blair Witch Project could have learned a thing or two about Having The Shivers from "Horror Hotel."