Friday, March 25, 2016

THE WITCHES OF WHITEWOOD RETURN IN VCI'S NEWEST BLU-RAY -- THE CITY OF THE DEAD (1960)

THE CITY OF THE DEAD (1960) 


British Horror Cult-Classic, Gets the Deluxe Hi-Definition Treatment 

VCI is set to release the British horror classic, The City of the Dead, on March 29, 2016. The film, featuring a very early appearance by fan-favorite, Christopher Lee, was shot entirely at England's Shepperton Studios, by film partners Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg, under the Vulcan Pictures banner. Shortly thereafter, this prolific team formed Amicus Productions and went on to produce some of the most iconic horror films of the 1960's and 70's, and were a close second to their rival, Hammer Films, in popularity.


Subotsky and Rosenberg were well known and admired for cranking out high-quality genre films, using superb talents, both in front and behind the camera. The City of the Dead was no exception, with George Baxt, (Circus of Horrors) penning the script, John Moxey, directing (he went on to major success in TV helming The Night Stalker and episodes of Murder, She Wrote) and the exceptionally atmospheric photography of Desmond Dickinson (Hamlet, The Browning Version). The cast was also top-notch and was filled with many of England's most solid and experienced actors. Dennis Lotis (It's a Wonderful World), who was also a popular singer at the time, took top billing as Nan's brother who later goes to her rescue from the witches' coven in the town of Whitewood. Patricia Jessel (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) played dual-roles as both the wicked 17th century witch and the present day caretaker of the Raven's Inn. Of course, the consummate vampire Christopher Lee plays Alan Driscoll, a college professor who just happens to be teaching a course on witchcraft. The producers cast a pretty American newcomer, Venetia Stevenson (The Big Night and daughter of Mary Poppins director Robert Stevenson) as the inquisitive college student, Nan, whose investigation into witchcraft leads her to big trouble.
The original U.S. theatrical release of the film, was cut by 2 minutes and re-titled Horror Hotel. Unfortunately, the film fell into the public domain and for many years, only poor quality transfers of the truncated version were available on video cassette and DVD. The original, uncut British version of the film remained unseen, until VCI's initial Special Edition DVD release in 2001 rescued it from obscurity. Now VCI has given the film the HD treatment and it looks incredible on Blu-ray.

George R. Reis and Christopher Dietrich of Fan-site, DVD Drive-in, recently reviewed the Blu-ray and had this to say: "The longer British version is once again brought to us by VCI, this time as a brand new HD presentation on Blu-ray. The 1080p transfer delivers the film in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio with excellent detail throughout... Grain is minimal in favor of some apparent digital noise reduction, but thankfully the image is not too waxy. The film elements used for the transfer are in impeccable shape, so any fleeting cases of dirt and debris only help to give it more character."

The Blu-ray package was completed with the addition of many bonus features, including a new 2015 Commentary by Bruce G. Hallenbeck, author, filmmaker, and noted expert on horror films ( especially those of British origin); exclusive behind-the-scenes interview with Christopher Lee from 2001; feature-length commentary with Christopher Lee; 45-minute interview with Christopher Lee; interview with Venetia Stevenson; interview and commentary by Director John Moxey; remastered theatrical trailer and photo gallery.


SYNOPSIS

College student, Nan Barlow is researching the history of witchcraft. Taunted by her brother and fiancé, who have voiced their concerns over her silly notions, Nan arms herself with resolve and drives into the small New England village of Whitewood. She is glad that, at least she was able to count on the support of her professor. A bit anxious but consumed with curiosity, she embarks on the journey of her life, and uncovers an undead coven of witches!

BLU-RAY BASICS

Price:                                  $24.97 
Release Date:                    March 29, 2016
Language:                          English
Subtitles:                            English
Running time:                    78 minutes 
Rating:                               Not Rated
Color:                                 B/W
Year:                                  1960


LINKS
The City of the Dead - HD Trailer:https://youtu.be/VVgpCqmlrlQ
The City of the Dead - HD Promo:https://youtu.be/lgMBDGc9wqE

VCI Entertainment is distributed by Cinedigm Entertainment.


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