Horror Hotel (1960)

Directed by: John Llewellyn Moxey

Written by: George Baxt

Story by:
Milton Subotsky


Dennis Lotis .... Richard Barlow
Christopher Lee .... Prof. Alan Driscoll
Patricia Jessel .... Elizabeth Selwyn / Mrs. Newless
Tom Naylor .... Bill Maitland
Betta St. John .... Patricia Russell
Venetia Stevenson .... Nan Barlow
Valentine Dyall .... Jethrow Keane
Ann Beach .... Lottie
Norman Macowan .... Reverend Russell

Release Dates: Theatrical: September, 1960 (UK); September 12, 1961 (USA)

*Images courtesy at: www.horrordvds.com







A young coed named Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson) does a research for her paper on witchcraft in New England as centuries ago a woman named Elizabeth Selwyn (Patricia Jessel) was burned at the stake for being a witch and Elizabeth wants to do some studies on her.
Her professor named Alan Driscoll (Christopher Lee) tells her there;s a village known as Whitewood where she can spend her time finding out about Sewlyn and there's a hotel there called the Raven's Inn run by a Mrs. Newliss
While on the way she picks up a strange man named Jethrow Keane (Valentine Dyall) who is going there as well but suddenly when she arrives he has suddenly disappeared.
Also the locals stare at her mysteriously and a blind reverend named Russell (Norman Macowan) tries to ward her off and tells her that there's danger from where she is but she doesn't listen to his warnings.
Suddenly while she stays at the hotel she is marked for a sacrifice for a bunch of undead witches and the innkeeper happens to be Elizabeth herself who hasn't aged at all since her sacrifice as her partner that happened to be Jethrow asked Lucifer to save her while she was burned at the stake and her guests at the inn are her other wtiches doing her evil deeds.
After Nan's disappearance, Russell's granddaughter named Patricia (Betta St. John) pays a visit to Nan's skeptical brother Richard Barlow (Dennis Lotis) as well as her boyfriend Bill Maitland (Tom Naylor) as they decide to trace Nan down to where she went but she realises that she is in great danger as the witches need to sacrifice another woman as well on February the 1st for the Candleman Eve.


We show a perfect beginning of a victim being sacrificed for witchcraft as it looks very disturbing when she is burned at the stake. The tension really looked good by what we see with the locals and things like that as the makers did a good job as well as a good close up shot on someone lighting their torch to put it at the wood to burn at the stake and things like that. They made the situations look totally unpleasant.
Natural flowing discussions on present day when we spot Nan Barlow discussing on going to the area of the history on where witchcraft was done for her studies and her husband Richard not believeing an area of it which looked sharply done by what we all see on what was said.
Things look really good with Nan driving and she is in the deep mist as this gives a great horror feel to everything. There's an excellent shot on Jethrow Keane in the dark mist approaching her in her car. This of course looked truly spooky and horror fans who liked old fashioned flick will get a kick out of this. Then when she arrives at the creepy village and she turns to talk to him he's not there which was a great add on to the story that there's something ghostly going on.
A nice camera shot on Mrs. Newless behind some shadows at the hotel walking up to Nan with her serious and wicked type actions towards her along with a mute troubled girl Lottie as it seems that she was trying to warn her on the place as this looked powerfully done. Plus we get an eeerie feeling with the discussions on things as well as Nan hearing the chantings later on in the hotel and Mrs. Newless telling her that the hotel is old and noises happen easily as this seemed spooky.
Great moment with Lottie trying to write a message on what will happen and getting caught in the act as well as a good shot on her getting strangled to death as this works evilly well in a horror flick.
A perfect setting of the creepy old hotel in the mist as well with Nan walking around and the locals just staring at her which looks a little spooky. Things were perfect, silent and still with all of this happening which adds great timing to an old fashioned horror tale. Also a perfect moment when a blind Reverend Russell tries to warn her about the evils of the town and to get away which worked in greatly.
Also some good moments with people partying and dancing in the hotel and then when Nan comes back to check out on stuff the room is empty as this was another great moment of a haunting scene.
We see a great shot on Nan walking down a cellar and then being grabbed by cult members dragging her to be sacrificed. Plus a perfect shot on Mrs. Nelwless ready to her in as you watch carefully to see this moment happening.
There is a real effective moment with Bill Maitland driving in his car and suddenly there's an image before his eyes with Elizabeth Selwyn cackling on the stake while being burned and then his car swerving and crashing. The results looked impressive with the battered up vehicle.
A good moment with Richard Barlow trying to book a room at the hotel and Mrs. Newless telling him they're closing in a couple days and him insisting as you wonder if she will give in as it adds a good pressuring moment to the scene.
We have great setting of the cult members dressed in black in a graveyard with tombstones walking towards Richard Barlow, Bill Maitland and Patricia St. John when they try to escape the hotel area and their hands are reaching towards them.
Great shot at Elizabeth throwing a dagger at Bill's back as this really makes you watch in terror.
We spot a great shot on Bill picking up a large crucifix from the ground and clumsily walking towards the everyone and the cult members are lit of fire as they do react painfully well to this. Alot of great effective moments while seeing all of this.
Bottom line is that this is one of the most original horror films I've ever seen and the best B&W film during that decade if I do say so myself as it had great setttings with mist rolling around at the outdoors making the story terrifically dark and gloomy.
The film still looks creepy and stands out to this day! Shock rocker King Diamond used alot of clips from this movie for his video "Sleepless Nights" which worked wonderfully and the film is exciting each minute too while watching it. Very influential and inspiring too about immortal witches with demonic powers.

The acting is excellent for a film of it's time as it still stands out to this day. Dennis Lotis (Richard Barlow) came across strongly as a somewhat closed minded and cocky type on not believing in witchcraft as well as other events. He was powerful with his speaking as well as coming across as a strong minded type to get what he wants. Seemed to show good energy and enthusiasm into his role.
Christopher Lee
(Prof. Allan Drsicoll) portrayed a nice evil professor in the film as he is the key role to this story and doesn't let us down with his performance. There is a good stern look on his face when he says his lines about witchcraft not being nonsense. He is good at acting intense when he is about to sacrifice a dove while holding a dagger in one hand. Also was good by being menacing when he is about to do a cult ceremony or a sacrifice.
Patricia Jessel
(Elizabeth Selwyn / Mrs. Newless) was phenomenal with her role as the witch in the film as well as disguising herself as a hotel keeper proving that she is versatile in her role by being outrageously evil and silently wicked at the same time. Shows an excellent wicked expression to her face while holding a dagger and bringing it down. Plus shows a nice icy and stern behavior in certain spots. Was passable at cackling in a scene too.
Betta St. John
(Patricia Russell) showed a nice wholesome girl next door type of role a-offering a good intelligence and concerned type of behavior. Shows some nice energised behavior too and really on the ball with stuff. Really grabbed your attention as someone whom is mysterious as to how she fits into the story.
Venetia Stevenson
(Nan Barlow) does fairly well with her role as a researcher for the legend of the sacrifice that took place centuries ago and her role reminds me of a role done in Psycho. She really showed good enthusiasm as she brought stuff to life. She reacts greatly to being dragged away by onscreen cult members.
Supporting actor Valentine Dyall (Jethrow Keane) had a nice deep voice to his character as a ghostly type making his part mysterious for the plot. He for sure came across as perfectly ghostly to all that he did into the story. I loved his still behavior and tall features too which he lived to play this role.
Other supporting actor Norman Macowan (Reverend Russell) was so believeable as a spooked out old blind reverend and is one of the best actors in the film with his energetic performance. He really stood out as reacting to stuff but not seeing wondering if he was really like that.
Ann Beach
(Lottie) really strutted her stuff well as a troubled mute employee at the hotel showing nice reactions to the terror surrounding her. Also has a good hyped reactions to stuff as she really does well to her frusterations on not being able to speak. Shows terrific wide eyed shocking reactions while being strangled

Douglas Gamley composes some perfect orchestration for this film and has some chilling sounds too for the scene's necessary for it too. Alot of drum rolling sounding off strong as well as quiverring classical music which gives it a ghostly feel. Plus some smooth clarinet playing and other saounds for the terrors that sounds powerful and intense. e hear chanting singing as this also sounds good and dark.