Two out of three ain't bad.
T. Parkinson | Montreal, Canada | 11/09/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There's always a risk when purchasing bargain basement DVDs. More often than not, you end up with scratchy, faded old prints and distorted soundtracks which make them hardly a bargain. However, there are some rare exceptions. Case in point, this DVD, which I bought primarily for Horror Hotel and was not disappointed. Apart from a few minor scratches, the film looks and sounds great, with nice contrast levels and a widescreen transfer to boot. Fans of the Vincent Price classic, House on Haunted Hill, will also be pleased. Both picture and sound quality are very good and it's widescreen as well. Alas, there's the ugly duckling of the bunch, Little Shop of Horrors, a scratched up, badly faded, full frame mess! Since I've never much cared for this film anyhow, it's not a big deal to me. In other words, depending on which films interest you in this package, you may or may not be satisfied."
Best "Horror Hotel" available
B. W. Fairbanks | Lakewood, OH United States | 09/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you're looking to add the creepy, atmospheric "Horror Hotel" (aka "City of the Dead") to your DVD collection, this bargain basement triple feature may be your best bet. I found that some of the pricier editions that claim to have been remastered from 35mm prints are not as pristine as their descriptions claim. The version included on "Horror Classics Triple Feature, Volume 5," along with "House on Haunted Hill" and "Little Shop of Horrors," comes with no promises but is an excellent transfer. Whereas other prints have been too dark, making it impossible to read the name on the tombstone before the fiery climax or to see that the opening titles are superimposed over some spooky illustrations of the hooded figures who populate the witches haven of Whitewood, Massachusetts, the wide-screen version here is dark only where it's supposed to be.
As for the film, "Horror Hotel" is an obscure 1960 shocker that attracted a loyal cult of admirers during its frequent appearances on the late, late show in the 60s and 70s. After the first viewing, it's the atmosphere (all those shadows and fog) that will likely stand out, but there is much about "Horror Hotel" to savor, including performances that are far above average for a low-budget entry in a genre that has never received the greatest respect. The entire cast is excellent, but the star is clearly Patricia Jessel. A Tony winner several years earlier for her supporting role in "Witness for the Prosecution," Jessel made a mere handful of films before her untimely death (at age 47) of a heart attack in 1968, but her brilliant performance makes Mrs. Newliss/Elizabeth Selywn one of the greatest characters in horror film history.
As for the other films on this disc, the wide-screen transfer of William Castle's spooky "House on Haunted Hill" is also excellent. The film is no match for "Horror Hotel," but it makes a fine, more lightweight accomplice to that film especially on Halloween.
Less impressive, in every department, is the full-screen presentation of Roger Corman's cult favorite "Little Shop of Horrors." It appears to have been scrapped together from the worst public domain material available. But unless "Little Shop of Horrors" is the movie you're looking for, this is an excellent deal.
There are no extras, but with a movie as good as "Horror Hotel," who needs them?
Brian W. Fairbanks"