Thursday, November 18, 2010

British Horror Film presents: City of the Dead (1960)

The basis of fairy tales is in reality.
The basis of reality is fairy tales.

The first horror film produced by the tag-team of Milton Subotsky and
Max Rosenberg (the two men responsible for Amicus Productions, Hammer’s
only serious rival in the field of British horror in the 1960s and
early ‘70s), City of the Dead is an understated and unsettling movie
about witches and the academic study of witchcraft in contemporary New
England. Making striking use of black-and-white photography (see image
above) and of quasi-Lovecraftian iconography, the film has an
insinuating force all its own. A wonderful sister-text to Witchfinder
General (1968), City of the Dead is not to be missed.

Thursday, November 18th
Stevenson 150, 9 PM


  1. Wow. I have to say that I'm sad that there's no lecture on this one.

  2. true true. we should have watched this instead of witchfinder general.

  3. It is a pretty special film, in which people do things for little to no reason, research projects are deeply hazardous to one's health, and a gravestone cross shoots fireballs.

  4. ha, research projects are hazardous to ones health.

    however, i think the characters motives seem to be driven by either curiosity, love, or religious (for lack of a better word) reasons ... all of which i think are pretty valid.

    The fireball shooting cross did bother me though. The ending to many of these films seem to be a little too easy for the protagonists or "good guys"

    1. ...actually the witches were bursting into flame under the SHADOW of the cross, but it's all good...

  5. Yes, one might have assumed that the narration of their "hero's" actions leading up to the cult's timely demise by our (not-so-cleaver) protagonists would have created some difficulty for them. I'm sure they didn't find the flame-throwing cross quite so bothersome.

    I think that there's a fundamental role of this scene beyond the "good guys vs. bad guys" notion. Its a sloppy (cliche) way of tying up loose ends. Now that Nan is done-zo what's to be done with Bill? "Ah whatever, we'll just have him drag along a cross and make him a martyr." Everybody wins right? Three IS a crowd.