John Llewellyn Moxey's Horror Hotel is without question one of the best early horror films that I have seen. Horror Hotels greatest attribute is its ability to create a suffocating atmosphere and simply relying on affective scare tactics which are elevated because of the atmosphere. Horror Hotel about a college student whose interest in witchcraft takes her to Whitewood, a small town in Massachusetts. On her arrival in the town it's apparent that something is amidst, horror ensues. I can't really talk enough about the beautifully layered atmosphere which is created in this film. Think of it as a old film version of Silent Hill in which the entire town is covered in this dense fog with black shadows draping over everything. The film uses this darkness to evoke mood and create tension while relying on the simple art of placing it's cold, creepy characters in the right place at the right time. One of my favorite scenes involves the young college girl walking through the main area of town, with townspeople draped in black silhouttes throughout the background, effectively creating this moody, dreary atmosphere. The placement of these stoic type townspeople is a huge part of the film's effectiveness. Hotel Hell also uses aggressive camera movements, at times, to add emphasis to the horror of certain situations but it's never overdone, picking the right times more often than not. I found it interesting that the structure of the film has a lot of similarities to Hitchcock's Psycho, though I guess these comparisons could be construed as superfluous. Horror Hotel is certainly worth any horror fans time, regardless of ones preconcieved notions towards older horror films.
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