Tuesday, October 02, 2018

31 Days of Halloween - Day 2, Movie 2

In City of the Dead (1960) a college student (Venetia Stevenson) travels to a small New England town to research its history of witchcraft for a term paper. She uncovers more than she bargained for. When her brother and her brother both set out to investigate her disappearance they discover that witchcraft is still very much alive in this town.

This movie is filled with atmosphere; creepy character actors, fog by the acre, off-kilter cemetery, rich black and white cinematography, unsettling details. There are also some interesting parallels to Psycho (also 1960) which elevate the film from a simple supernatural mystery into something more complex and sinister.

This film also had some added charm for me. While the city of Whitewood, MA is fictitious, the driving directions on how to get there situate it not too far from where I currently live. I could get there in twenty minutes, or less, depending on how much fog is unleashed. As far as I know, we didn't have any witch hunts here on Cape Cod, and no one in New England burned them at the stake, as they do in the opening scene. For a film made in the UK they do a fair job of creating mythologized puritan New England.

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