The City of the Dead
Excuse me, Professor Driscoll (Christopher Lee). But you know how you told our class an old story about a witch being burned alive over in a small town called Whitewood,
New England? Well, I was
thinking of driving on out there just so I can finish off my term paper on
Once I arrive I will quickly book myself into a local hotel. Scout out the area. And try to see if anyone can tell me any more information about that witch you taught us at college. You know. That one named Elizabeth Selwyn (Patricia Jessel).
Hey! Don't worry about me, Professor. If I see or hear anything strange going on, I promise I make sure that I'm safe and sound. After all, I am one of your brightest students: Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson).
Then again, that's most probably why what next transpires all gets the better of me when and I'm dragged down into a cellar and killed by a bunch of hooded nitwits. As a brother goes looking for his missing sister - a professor denies he's a real live mister - Patricia Russell (Betta St. John) gets absconded by a witch - and at the end of the day, beware my friend, cause life can be one hell of a b*tch.
As much as I enjoyed sitting down and watching 'City of
Dead', at the same time the tale it
ultimately conveyed was fairly similar to those horror movies I've seen many times
before. For instance, you've got the token blonde girl who's bound to get herself
into some sort of trouble sooner or later. You've got those weird looking
characters who stare menacingly from the shadows. You've got that scene where a
gas station attendant says, 'You don't want to go over there'. Plus you've got
the black and white Smokey ambiance of yesteryear mingled in with a story-line
that's easily divisible by two.
Now please don't get me wrong, dear reader. Aesthetically or structurally there's nothing wrong with his adventure at all. In fact, I got one hell of a kick out of its suspenseful nature and timely narrative. Because, as I implied previously, as a story in its own right it was very easy to follow, plus on occasion some of the performances did help prop it up a notch or two.
One of the stand outs for me was the inclusion of Christopher Lee's character -- Professor Driscoll -- as Chris really did amp up the 'horror factor' just by the way he held himself. Plus I must admit I can say exactly the same thing about Patricia Jessel's two characters as well -- the main witch and the hotelier -- because in my estimation she kicked it back 'witch style' in the villain stakes throughout.
On the flip side of things though I wasn't too keen on the rather obvious manner in which the tale eventually unfolded itself. Again, as I also implied previously, from the start of the movie I kind of second guessed what was going to happen to whom and for why. Plus to make matters even more tried and tested; some of the actors -- only some mind you -- didn't seem to add anything to the overall plot. In my opinion they were there for the sake of being there or just to make up the numbers. And to me their addition was hardly worth the time or the effort.
Overall I'd say 'City of
was a fairly fine yet predicable horror film to watch. So if you're ever in the mood for a
timely slice of witchcraft wrapped up in murder mystery, you know what to do.
Watch this atmospheric film or die. Or alternatively, take it away Iron Maiden,
with this your following homage to...
Hahahahhahahahahha! Nuff said.
THE RATING: B-