Saturday, October 22, 2011

HALLOWEENAGE #17: HORROR HOTEL (1960)

Guess what, I had a terrible day of work at this book festival, so I will probably be getting more drunk and less angry as this night progresses.


This is an old Christopher Lee vehicle, the sort of film that they don't make anymore until Rob Zombie resurrects and ruins it forever.  It begins in 1692 Massachusetts, home of witch-burnings, with the burning of a real witch!  So this is a far cry from WITCHFINDER GENERAL, in which overzealous Christians were the heavies.  Witches are the villains of this film.  Eminent Wiccans, like ones that correct people who say, "Sam-HAIN", will be mortified.  Too bad we can't still burn them, right, gang?


Motivated historian-heroine (historiane?) Nan Barlow travels to rustic Whitewood, MA, home of that burning, to study witchery and devil worship.  Unfortunately, she doesn't reckon on olde Satanic residents being reincarnated and the entire town being pretty much a hotbed of iniquity.  Girls can get into two kinds of trouble and Nan gets into the kind that doesn't require a trip to a special doctor.


From there, this becomes your usual sixties gently-paced and not-too-extreme fright film.  It's well-done and uses the standard fog and shadows very well.  It's a treat to see Satanists depicted as these menacing cloaked figures because many of us know Satanists now who are more like dorky Randroids or vampire nerds, so this has a certain nostalgic value as well.  Plus there's a Misfits song called "Horror Hotel" that isn't even remotely about this movie.  So maybe Danzig should STOP EATING and see it and maybe you should too.  

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