The City of the Dead (September 12, 1960)
Released on September 12, 1960: (running time 1 hour and 18 minutes) A young girl researching witchcraft in New England is marked for sacrifice by a coven of undead witches for their candlemass eve ritual (February 1).
Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey
Written by George Baxt and Milton Subotsky
The Actors: Christopher Lee (Professor Alan Driscoll), Venetia Stevenson (Nan Barlow), Valentine Dyall (Jethrow Keane), Patricia Jessel (Elizabeth Selwyn / Mrs. Newless), Dennis Lotis (Professor Richard Barlow), Betta St. John (Patricia Russell), Tom Naylor (Bill Maitland), Ann Beach (Lottie), Norman Macowan (Reverend Russell), Fred Johnson (the Elder), James Dyrenforth (garage attendant), Maxine Holden (Sue, the birthday party girl), William Abney (policeman), Nickolas Grace (unknown), Andy Alston (villager lighting the fire to burn the witch)
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The Witch’s Revenge in the Village of the UnDead
When I was a teen in college, one of my friends was a Catholic boy who told me about a small Orthodox Catholic church in his neighborhood that held a special ‘black vespers’ service on All Hallows Eve, or Halloween night. The Priest would carry a large cross and lead his congregation in a parade around the outside of the church building three times, praying as they went. I wish I had asked more questions about it and maybe even gotten involved in one of the services, but my young mind just marked it off as something different, but not worth much more than a footnote in my life’s experiences.
Candlemass Eve is February first, the night before the pagan celebration of Candlemass, the night when the dead come to life, and that is where our story begins. Nan Barlow, played by Venetia Stevenson, is a college student in 1960 who is interested in witchcraft in New England during the early years of the United States.
Professor Driscoll, played by Christopher Lee, tells his class about a witch that was burned at the stake in the 1692 in the small New England town of Whitewood. The college co-ed decides to spend her spring break in the small town searching for relics and information on witchcraft for her college term paper.
What she finds, and what those that later search for her find, and what you will find, . . . my dear friend, . . . is a tale about a demonic coven of witches about to celebrate their Candlemass Eve ritual, which includes the sacrifice of a young virgin at the hands of a witch who was burned at the stake three hundred years earlier.
Gather all of your courage, and watch with someone that you love, . . . or better yet, someone that you trust. Someone that you trust with your life. When the clock strikes thirteen, the horror begins, and only one thing can save us. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Ann Beach as the mute Lottie
Betta St. John
Christopher Lee and Venetia Stevenson
Dennis Lotis and Betta St. John
Dennis Lotis and Norman MacOwan
Dennis Lotis and Tom Naylor
Patricia Jessel and Ann Beach
Patricia Jessel and Valentine Dyall
Tom Naylor and Dennis Lotis
Tom Naylor and Venetia Stevenson
Valentine Dyall and Fred Johnson
Valentine Dyall and Patricia Jessel
Valentine Dyall and Venetia Stevenson
Valentine Dyall and Patricia Jessel
Venetia Stevenson and Christopher Lee
Venetia Stevenson and Dennis Lotis
Venetia Stevenson and James Dyrenforth