City of the Dead, The (1960)

The City of the Dead (1960), directed by John Llewellyn Moxey.

Aka Horror Hotel. In the public domain and available online for free. My DVD was from Madacy, known for their bottom of the barrel quality since the VHS days.

Set in New England but made in England with a young Christopher Lee, already sinister. Very dark throughout. A tale of witchcraft survival from colonial times, still a problem in 1960. The ending is very much like something from Hammer Films. I would have used someone else for the brother, or at least redubbed his voice.

People note parallels with Psycho (1960), released the same year. The blonde protagonist does not last past the first half and her friends and family come looking for her. Hitchcock is on a higher level, although we have loads of atmosphere here on a more modest scale. The early segment before she hits the road is awfully stiff.

It actually more closely resembles a Lovecraft story, something like The Shadow Over Innsmouth: obscure New England village, locals tell you to stay away from it, residents pretend nothing is going on, but it actually hides an unspeakable secret from the past...