In 1692 a witch named Elizabeth Selwyn (Patricia Jessel) is burned at the stake but summons supernatural powers to save herself.
Three years later a new wave of blood sacrifices breaks out in the village that condemned her. The daughters of the elders who had condemned her are themselves found dead with every single drop of blood drained from their bodies, and afterwards, people come forward to testify that they had actually seen Elizabeth Selwyn.
Back in the present day, Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson) is a curious, naive and attentive student who studies witchcraft in the classes of Professor Alan Driscoll (Christopher Lee, struggling with a fake American accent).
Nan is persuaded by Driscoll to visit a Massachusetts town called Whitewood that has a long and dark history when it comes to witchcraft. Nan is told she can learn a lot more about the history of witchcraft in Whitewood and gain some valuable knowledge to prepare herself for her exams.
She travels to this out of the way little town and settles into the Raven’s Inn, where the eccentric owner Mrs Newless (also Patricia Jessel) and the locals seem more than a little strange.
Nan finds herself “marked” for sacrifice by the undead coven of witches. The innkeeper is actually the undead spirit of Elizabeth Selwyn (say the name ‘Newless’ backwards!) and the other “guests” at the inn are the other immortal witches who have come to celebrate the sacrifice on Candlemas Eve.
The City of the Dead was made in Britain (at Shepperton Studios) but is set in the United States and was released in the US in 1961 under the title Horror Hotel.
Elizabeth Selwyn/Mrs Newless
Betta St. John
John Llewellyn Moxey