HORROR HOTEL (1960/1963) a.k.a. The City Of The Dead. This week we’re remembering the great Christopher Lee, who just passed away at the age of 93. Made in 1960, The City Of The Dead is a modern witchcraft flick made in the UK, but set in the US, forcing most of the British actors to adopt American accents during production. And, while it’s a stylish, B&W, UK-style, gothic thriller, its biggest claim to fame might be the coincidental plot devices that appear to be lifted directly from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (HERE), also released in 1960. Psycho connoisseurs will note that both stories involve a blonde female lead – seen in black lingerie at an isolated motel just before being stabbed to death halfway through the film. Which, by the way, was considered a unique aspect of Psycho (oops… spoiler alert). The dead girl is then tracked by a male and female – one, a worried sibling (knifed and killed, like Psycho’s private eye… oops, another spoiler alert), while the female even bears a slight resemblance to Psycho’s Janet Leigh (who is seen worriedly driving through fog, as opposed to rain). The ending climaxes with a dead corpse reveal in a spun-around chair (curses, spoiled again), replete with screaming female… just… like… Psycho. The only thing missing is the overhead lighting and Norman Bates. The similarities are quite profound, actually, but… The City Of The Dead began production a month before Hitchcock’s masterpiece, so all this just might be a rare case of genuine creative coincidence. That is… if you don’t count the fact that Psycho author Robert Bloch’s book was published in 1959. Still… if nothing else, you’ll enjoy a first-rate performance from a young(er) Christopher Lee (forced to disguise his legendarily rich British accent). This vid is the retitled 1963 US release, missing a couple of censored minutes. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: The Thrills – The Chills Of Witchcraft Today! DIALOG ALERT: “The basis of fairy tales is reality. The basis of reality is fairy tales.” Find The City Of The Dead at Amazon, HERE – a spiffed-up and image-restored DVD that includes a few minutes cut from the US release. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.
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