City of the Dead; aka, Horror Hotel (1960) has excellent widescreen black & white cinematography & moody atmospherics.
Following an "historical" sequence in jolly old New England in which a witch (Patricia Jessel) is killed, the tale moves to the present.
A young woman (Venetia Stephenson) sets off to the Town That Time Forgot, intending to do her college theses on witchcraft legends.
The nice lady who runs the hotel is not so nice after all. In fact she's one & the same with the witch from the past. Soon the young student is caught up in the nasty village's intent to sacrifice her.
The pressing query becomes: Can the brave young men (Dennis Lotis as the brother, Tom Naylor as the boyfriend) who come to the village searching for Nan save her in the nick of time?
Christopher Lee as the helpful professor who turns out to be the leader of those crudbum witches reputedly only worked on the film for one day. And the whole production only took three weeks. So it's not like it had any chance of being an important role. Yet Lee turns in an expected performance no better or worse than makes so many of us think he's great.
There's certainly nothing original about the story but with that cool photography it fools you into thinking it's a better film than it is. And I liked it a lot.
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