City of the Dead
Riffed by RiffTrax
Riffers Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett
Series None
Date Released May 16, 2014

The City of the Dead is a 1960 horror film directed by John Llewellyn Moxey and starring Christopher Lee and Valentine Dyall. Produced in England but set in America, the British actors were required to speak with American accents throughout. RiffTrax released their riff in May 2014.

Description and PreviewEdit

City of the Dead (RiffTrax Preview)

City of the Dead (RiffTrax Preview)

On the recommendation of her professor (Christopher Lee), a young female student (Venetia Stevenson) travels to the fictional Massachusetts town of Whitewood to do some research into witchcraft. She finds the town occupied by the reincarnation of an infamous witch (Patricia Jessel) burned at the stake in the 17th century; in order to sustain her immortality, virgins must be sacrificed to her every year – and this year, the student has been the chosen victim.

This film has been compared to Psycho due to structural similarities. Both films begin by establishing an attractive blonde woman as the viewpoint character, leading the audience to assume she will be the protagonist through the rest of the story. In both films, the blonde travels to a remote location and checks into a hotel or motel run by an eccentric manager. In both cases, the audience's expectations are shattered before the midpoint of the story when the blonde is abruptly stabbed to death. IMDb notes that "The City of the Dead (1960), a British horror picture that was released three months after Hitchcock's film, seems to have independently hit upon the idea of killing its [blonde] protagonist before the film is half over" and on another page notes that "Both [films] have as protagonists attractive blonds who are unexpectedly killed off less than halfway through the film while staying at a remote hotel/motel. Both have a sibling--in Psycho it's a sister, in City of the Dead a brother--who go looking for them. Both siblings are joined in the investigation by someone of the opposite sex..And both are joined by a third person who gets killed" Both films include a "shock" scene in which a corpse is revealed, and both films were released in the same year (1960).

Cast and CrewEdit

  • Stacey Logan as Leslie
  • Christopher Lee as Alan Driscoll
  • Valentine Dyall as Jethrow Keane
  • Michelle Merchant as Janna McKinney
  • Michael Shamus Wiles as Tor
  • Kevin Meyer as Josh
  • Dale Buckmaster as Preacher
  • Debbie Killion as Debbie
  • Dean Lewis as Charlie
  • Jill Holmes as Denise



  • Valentine Dyall is a familiar sight to Doctor Who fans, as he portrayed the Black Guardian in multiple serials on that show. He also has a strong association with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, having voiced Gargravarr in the original radio series and Deep Thought in the television series.

See AlsoEdit

External LinksEdit

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