Archive for William Castle Productions

The William Castle Blogathon :: A Career that Ended in Fire and Ash… (September, 1975)

Posted in 1970-1979, Movie Ads with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2013 by WB Kelso

 

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Here, we finally come to the ignominious end of William Castle’s career. After Rosemary’s Baby, Paramount kinda threw Castle under the bus, and, to add insult to injury, all the major studios finally wised up and started making the same B-pictures he was making only with an A-budget, evidenced by the teaser ads currently pushing our feature film right off the page. Yeah, JAWS absolutely buried BUG at the box-office, but this bizarre, fever dream of a flick is a lot better than you’ve heard. Trust me.
 
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Alas, this is my last post for Goregirl’s Dungeon and The Last Drive-In’s The William Castle Blogathan, a week long tribute to the King of Schlock. Follow the linkage, Boils & Ghouls. It’s been a great week with a ton of cool stuff to see and read and experience. Now get going!

Bug (1975) William Castle Productions :: Paramount Pictures / P: William Castle / D: Jeannot Szwarc / W: William Castle, Thomas Page (novel) / C: Michel Hugo / E: Allan Jacobs / M: Charles Fox / S: Bradford Dillman, Joanna Miles, Richard Gilliland, Jamie Smith-Jackson, Patty McCormack, Jesse Vint

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The William Castle Blogathon :: The Dead Girl … The Neighbors … The Nightmare … The Doctor … The Truth … The Baby … Whose Baby? (July, 1968)

Posted in 1960-1969, Movie Ads with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2013 by WB Kelso

 

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I believe I was born with a defective gene that explains away my preference for the Tottenham stomp  of the Dave Clark Five over the Mersey beat of the Beatles. Perhaps this same mental defect explains my complete and total indifference to Rosemary’s Baby. Now, now. I don’t hate the movie. It has merit. It just, I don’t know, never really clicked for me. (My lifelong aversion to Mia Farrow probably isn’t helping matters, here, either. The old Beelzefudds were a hoot, though.) That’s me shrugging right now.
 
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This post is part of Goregirl’s Dungeon and The Last Drive-In’s The William Castle Blogathan, a week long tribute to the King of Schlock. Follow the linkage, Boils & Ghouls. It’s gonna be a great week. And stick around, as we’ll be showcasing Castle’s film career from its fairly normal beginnings through it psychotronic glory days. Stay tuned!

Rosemary’s Baby (1968) William Castle Productions :: Paramount Pictures / P: William Castle / AP: Dona Holloway / D: Roman Polanski / W: Roman Polanski, Ira Levin (novel) / C: William A. Fraker / E: Sam O’Steen, Bob Wyman / M: Krzysztof Komeda / S: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Maurice Evans, Ralph Bellamy, Patsy Kelly, Elisha Cook Jr.

The William Castle Blogathon :: The Kookiest and Spookiest Ghost Doesn’t Walk in this Family — It Runs Riot! (December, 1963)

Posted in 1960-1969, Movie Ads with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2013 by WB Kelso

 

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Apparently, the original The Old Dark House (1932) helped inspire artist Charles Addams to untold heights of ghoulishness. And so, he was recruited to design the opening title credits for this Castle / Hammer co-produced remake. Alas, the film is kinda all downhill from there. Now, I like Tom Poston, and found Zotz oddly endearing, but this version of The Old Dark House kinda stinks, locked in a morass where tedious and insipid meet on the graph. All is not lost, however, as its co-feature, Maniac,  is another Hammer Castle cash-in that’s well worth your time.

 
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This post is part of Goregirl’s Dungeon and The Last Drive-In’s The William Castle Blogathan, a week long tribute to the King of Schlock. Follow the linkage, Boils & Ghouls. It’s gonna be a great week. And stick around, as we’ll be showcasing Castle’s film career from its fairly normal beginnings through it psychotronic glory days. Stay tuned!

The Old Dark House (1963) William Castle Productions :: Hammer Film Productions :: Columbia Pictures / P: William Castle, Anthony Hinds / AP: Dona Holloway / D: William Castle / W: Robert Dillon, J.B. Priestley (novel) / C: Arthur Grant / E: James Needs / S: Tom Poston, Robert Morley, Janette Scott, Joyce Grenfell, Mervyn Johns, Fenella Fielding, Peter Bull

Maniac (1963) Hammer Film Productions :: Columbia Pictures / P: Jimmy Sangster / D: Michael Carreras / W: Jimmy Sangster / C: Wilkie Cooper / E: Tom Simpson / S: Kerwin Mathews, Nadia Gray, Liliane Brousse, Donald Houston, George Pastell

The William Castle Blogathon :: His Face Could Stop a Heart. You, the Audience, Decide His Fate! (January, 1962)

Posted in 1960-1969, Movie Ads with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2013 by WB Kelso

 

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Despite assurances that the audience could decide the fate of our dastardly protagonist, no matter what rumor you’ve heard that out there, somewhere, an audience let Mr. Sardonicus off the hook, there is no evidence of an alternate, happy ending ever being shot let alone shown — except for that dramatic re-enactment on Wiseguy in what was perhaps the strangest TV season of episodic TV ever. Does anyone else remember that?
 

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Also, somewhat coincidentally, as far as Mr. Sardonicus’ excellent co-feature is concerned, Jimmy Sangster might have been shooting for the same fearful beats as Alfred Hitchcock and Henri-Georges Clouzot, but, Scream of Fear (and Nightmare, and The Snorkel, and Maniac), I think, hews a helluva lot closer to the five-car contrivance twist-pile-ups of William Castle. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you. Just giving credit where credit is due.
 
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This post is part of Goregirl’s Dungeon and The Last Drive-In’s The William Castle Blogathan, a week long tribute to the King of Schlock. Follow the linkage, Boils & Ghouls. It’s gonna be a great week. And stick around, as we’ll be showcasing Castle’s film career from its fairly normal beginnings through it psychotronic glory days. Stay tuned!

Mr. Sardonicus (1961) William Castle Productions :: Columbia Pictures / P: William Castle / AP: Dona Holloway / D: William Castle / W: Ray Russell / C: Burnett Guffey / E: Edwin H. Bryant / M: Von Dexter / S: Ronald Lewis, Audrey Dalton, Guy Rolfe, Oskar Homolka, Erika Peters, Lorna Hanson

Scream of Fear (1961) Hammer Film Productions :: Columbia Pictures / EP: Michael Carreras / P: Jimmy Sangster / D: Seth Holt / W: Jimmy Sangster / E: Eric Boyd-Perkins / M: Clifton Parker / S: Susan Strasberg, Ronald Lewis, Ann Todd, Christopher Lee, John Serret

The William Castle Blogathon :: 13 Times the Thrills! 13 Times the Screams! 13 Times the Ectoplasmic Fun! (February, 1961)

Posted in 1960-1969, Movie Ads with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2013 by WB Kelso

 

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How about we just let the man speak for himself this round:

Video courtesy of videojaxx.

 

As Rowdy Roddy Piper once said, “Just put on the damned glasses!”

 

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“I see dead people. AAAAAAUUUGGGGHHHH!”

 
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This post is part of Goregirl’s Dungeon and The Last Drive-In’s The William Castle Blogathan, a week long tribute to the King of Schlock. Follow the linkage, Boils & Ghouls. It’s gonna be a great week. And stick around, as we’ll be showcasing Castle’s film career from its fairly normal beginnings through it psychotronic glory days. Stay tuned!

13 Ghosts (1960) William Castle Productions :: Columbia Pictures / P: William Castle / D: William Castle / W: Robb White / C: Joseph F. Biroc / E: Edwin H. Bryant / M: Von Dexter / S: Donald Woods, Charles Herbert, Jo Morrow, Martin Milner, Rosemary DeCamp, Margaret Hamilton

Stop! Look! And Laugh! (1960) Harry Romm Productions :: Columbia Pictures / P: Harry A. Romm, Martha Vera Romm / D: Don Appell / W: Saul Ward, Monte Collins / C: William O. Steiner / E: Jerome Thoms / M: Mischa Bakaleinikoff / S: Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Paul Winchell,

The William Castle Blogathon :: When the Screen Screams You’ll Scream Too — If You Value Your Life! (September, 1960)

Posted in 1960-1969, Movie Ads with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2013 by WB Kelso

 

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Not since the four repeaters for King Kong vs. Godzilla have I been more disappointed in an unearthed ad campaign than what I found for The Tingler, perhaps William Castle’s most gonzoidal film of all time, relegated to second feature status to an also-ran Yul Brynner romantic comedy. However, unlike Emergo, looks like the Grand Theater took the plunge on Percepto and wired up a few seats.
 

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And that, my friends, is awesome covered in awesome sauce.

 
blogathontingler
 
This post is part of Goregirl’s Dungeon and The Last Drive-In’s The William Castle Blogathan, a week long tribute to the King of Schlock. Follow the linkage, Boils & Ghouls. It’s gonna be a great week. And stick around, as we’ll be showcasing Castle’s film career from its fairly normal beginnings through it psychotronic glory days. Stay tuned!

Once More, With Feeling! (1960) Stanley Donen Films :: Columbia Pictures / P: Stanley Donen / D: Stanley Donen / W: Harry Kurnitz / C: Georges Périnal / E: Jack Harris / S: Yul Brynner, Kay Kendall, Geoffrey Toone, Maxwell Shaw, Shirley Anne Field

The Tingler (1959) William Castle Productions :: Columbia Pictures / P: William Castle / D: William Castle / W: Robb White / C: Wilfred M. Cline / E: Chester W. Schaeffer / M: Von Dexter / S: Vincent Price, Judith Evelyn, Darryl Hickman, Patricia Cutts, Pamela Lincoln, Philip Coolidge

The William Castle Blogathon :: Not Valid for People with Known Heart or Nervous Conditions! (May, 1958)

Posted in 1950-1959, Movie Ads with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2013 by WB Kelso

 

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Sometimes the gutter giveth…

 

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… and sometimes the gutter taketh away. Pfeh.

 

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Other Points of Interest:

The poster campaign for Macabre at the Archive.

 
And now, finally, we get to the meat. The ballyhoo. The bullshit. The Castle raison d’etre. By no means great, but, when considering it’s lackluster reputation, even among William Castle’s fans, Macabre wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d anticipated. In fact, I found it to be pretty good. (Who knew Jim Backus had that kind of a heavy in him?) A bit clumsy, structurally, sure (–there might have been a flashback inside a flashback), and though this tale of kidnapping and buried secrets threatens to derail itself, the ending twist works and those closing credits are simply ADOREABLE! You’ll never get to cash in your Fright Insurance policy, but definitely worth a spin.
 

An official Beneficiary Agreement for Macabre:

And as a public service announcement for the IMDB, who list Macabre’s release as October, 1958, for the sake of accuracy, it played in the Island in May, 1958:

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This post is part of Goregirl’s Dungeon and The Last Drive-In’s The William Castle Blogathan, a week long tribute to the King of Schlock. Follow the linkage, Boils & Ghouls. It’s gonna be a great week. And stick around, as we’ll be showcasing Castle’s film career from its fairly normal beginnings through it psychotronic glory days. Stay tuned!

Macabre (1958) William Castle Productions :: Allied Artists / P: William Castle, Howard W. Koch, Aubrey Schenck / D: William Castle / W: Robb White, Anthony Boucher (novel) / C: Carl E. Guthrie / E: John F. Schreyer / M: Les Baxter / S: William Prince, Jim Backus, Christine White, Jacqueline Scott, Susan Morrow, Ellen Corby

Hell’s Five Hours (1958) Muriel Corporation :: Allied Artists / P: Jack L. Copeland / AP: Walter Hannemann / D: Jack L. Copeland / W: Jack L. Copeland / C: Ernest Haller / E: Walter Hannemann / M: Nicholas Carras / S: Stephen McNally, Coleen Gray, Vic Morrow, Maurice Manson, Robert Foulk

The 13 Greatest Shocks of All Time! See It with Someone with Warm Hands! (April, 1959)

Posted in 1950-1959, Movie Ads with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2013 by WB Kelso

 

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When Bill Schloss got into showbiz, he decided a name change was in order to give the old nom-de-plume a little more punch to get noticed; and thus, William Castle was born. And after cutting his teeth on a ton of B-features in the 1940s and ’50s, the director was intrigued by the huge success of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s imported thriller, Diabolique — especially it’s twist ending, and the promotional efforts that not only teased the frightful climax but at the same stroke worked very hard to keep that final shock / reveal a secret. But most important of all, Castle was keenly interested in the massive lines forming around the block wherever it played! With that as an inspiration the director decided to try his hand at producing his own fright flick and an industry legend was born — ready, willing and able to cash in on the bally-ho and the bullshit in a string of gimmick-driven pictures for over a decade, including this fantastic feature from the spring of 1959, House on Haunted Hill; an awesome Vincent Price-fueled spook-show teamed up with a standard police procedural, where a couple of hard-nosed cops try to track down a firebug before he strikes again. And with this latest feature, Castle also unleashed a new process called Emergo:

Video courtesy of brutallodotcom.

 
Seems an inflatable skeleton was trolled out over the audience during the film’s climax, but, alas, I fear the Capitol Theater might have opted out of using it since there is no mention of Emergo in the ads, meaning their patrons had to settle for just watching it with someone with warm hands — whatever the heck that means?!
 

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With or without the gimmicks, the King of Schlock — or the Poor Man’s Hitchcock, call him what you will — the one thing you can say about any of Castle’s films was they were seldom — if ever — boring, and always a wonky good time.

 

Other Points of Interest:

Poster campaign for House on Haunted Hill at the Archive.

House on Haunted Hill (1959) William Castle Productions :: Allied Artists / P: William Castle / AP: Robb White / D: William Castle / W: Robb White / C: Carl E. Guthrie / E: Roy Livingston / M: Von Dexter / S: Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart, Richard Long, Alan Marshal, Carolyn Craig, Elisha Cook Jr.

Arson for Hire (1959) Broidy Pictures Corporation :: Allied Artists / P: William F. Broidy / AP: Erwin Yessin / D: Thor Brook / W: Tom Hubbard / C: William Margulies / E: Herbert R. Hoffman / S: Steve Brodie, Lyn Thomas, Tom Hubbard, Wendy Wilde