Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Is this moom hotcha enough for me? Why sure, since any film that reminds me of SUPERCAR can't be all bad. No, this wasn't acted out in Supermarionation; however it was filmed in England with mostly native actors even though taking place in Ameriga (Massachusetts to be exact) and since the actors affect Amerigan accents and do a good job at it other'n when they pronounce "been" like the fart-causing legume it does have that gulcher-warping feeling I so desire. The use of a definitely European-styled telephone in one scene is another tipoff as to the origin of the flick as is the appearance in one scene of an English Ford Zephyr (or was it a Zodiac?), but I can overlook minuscule trivialities like that and besides, Zephyrs were being imported into the US of Whoa back then anyways and I even see a few on vintage domestically-made television shows so why should I pick the ol' nits anyways?

Whatever you may think of limeys doing the yankee bit HORROR HOTEL is boffo box office bonanza (at least for your personal BO) starring none other'n a young Christopher Lee as this manic college prof who eggs on the vivacious Venetia Stevenson (ex-Everly Brother wife and one of the very few real-life 'merkuns in the film) to do some hands-on witchcraft research in a small Mass. town. No, it ain't Hyannis Port and no Kennedy's do appear, but the fate of Miss Stevenson is just as horrifying as she becomes the latest in a long line of human sacrifice for the local light worshipers (the more they kill, the longer they live kinda like in the Monogram Picture classic THE APE MAN). After awhile her brother's on the hunt to find out what's taking her so long to join the rest of the gang and with the aid of the only normal kook in the village and her blind preacher granddad he sets off on a pretty macabre adventure that culminates in a rather high-pitched bizarroid climax which really does surprise, especially since the movie does take a bit of a downturn (at least for this non-bereted reviewer) when the vivacious Miss Stevenson is more or less jabbed out of the picture.

Yes, I do admit that the loss of Stevenson does tend to shock me, and I can see how classic cinema lovers found THE BIRTH OF A NATION less a film after Mae Marsh jumped off a cliff rather than be subjected to the intentions (whether evil or not) of the ex-slave Gus. But it does pick up after awhile with the rush towards the fever-pitched (to use a fave cliche) climax and hey, if this one happens to pop up on one of your local low-budgeted UHF Friday night horror film slot by all means do tune in.

Lee plays it suave even if he does go over the top like all good satanists in these b&w films tend to while the rest of the cast ain't as douse-inducing as those forced to sit through syndication packages filled with old English films might have come to think (plenty of va-va-vooms for the few seconds of Stevenson in her corset!). Patricia Jessel as the reincarnated witch running the hotel did a good enough job that coulda been better (kinda sorta) while Dennis Lotis as the brother did seem to keep up enough of his British stiff-upper-lip restraint to make his role seem a little too rigid. But I ain't complainin' because HORROR HOTEL succeeds in its end result of keeping your attention and besides, that one guy who played Stevenson's wise-cracking boyfriend did have enough bopster spunk in him to come off late-fifties Amerigan-enough, playing it really Gary Crosby-esque to the point where you'd kinda expect him to turn up in a future edition of DRAGNET!

1 comment:

Donna Lethal said...

You know I love this one! Hey, thanks for linking to me. I couldn't figure out where my new readers were coming from. Cheers!