Mr. Sardonicus (1961) - News Poster


Hypnotic Chill! Monster Thrill!

This short article is in the spirit of the crowded ad-mat advertising blurbs that, once upon a time, would show up in the newspaper for horror related features. The particular composite above is a fantasy, but since all films back then were for General Audiences, a stack like it is entirely credible. Here, it’s an excuse for a trio of personal Savant anecdotes, vividly remembered from fifty-odd years ago.

Not Bad! Charlie Largent assembled this convincing triple bill ad paste-up,

customized for San Bernardino in 1964.

Don’t listen to Gen X’ers or Millennials, kids: the Real era to be an adolescent moviegoer was in the 1950s and 1960s, when downtown movie palaces had regular Saturday kiddie matinees, just as seen in the nostalgic Joe Dante movie. Theaters in most towns functioned as ad hoc babysitters, with kids dropped off in clumps. In many cases the oldest squab in
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Drive-In Dust Offs: The Monster That Challenged The World (1957)

When the mood strikes, there’s nothing better than an Atomic Age Monster Movie (B Division). Glorious black & white, damsels in distress, iron willed heroes and rubberized villains never fail to hit all the pleasure centers. The Monster that Challenged the World (1957) is one such film, and better made than most of the era. As the tagline says, “A New Kind of Terror to Numb the Nerves!” Well, you may just feel a tingle, but it’s a blast nevertheless.

Released by United Artists in the States in June and rolled out to the rest of the world in ’58, Monster was produced for $250,000; a fair chunk of change for Gramercy Pictures, run by producers Arthur Gardner, Jules V. Levy and director Arnold Laven - they also produced the same year’s The Vampire (read my Dust Off here). And the price tag shows too; Monster is as polished looking as
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Phantasm: Remastered, The Exorcist III, and More Movies Coming to Shudder in November

  • DailyDead
Halloween may be over, but horror reigns supreme all year long on Shudder. The streaming service's November titles include Phantasm: Remastered, The Exorcist III, Penance, Happy Birthday to Me, Therapy, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, and many more must-watch movies.

Press Release: As many a horror fan is wont to say, Halloween is an all-year endeavor. And though Samhain has ended, you could say Shudder is just getting started. Following our premiere of the stellar miniseries Beyond The Walls, we’re all too excited to be the exclusive home of Phantasm: Remastered (joined by Phantasm III and IV). Headed by Jj Abrams and Bad Robot, this brand new restoration of Don Coscarelli’s American independent horror classic is the best you’ve ever seen it. Vividly rediscover the surreal journey of Mike, Jody and Reggie, up against the unknowable forces of The Tall Man, his extradimensional dwarves and the sphere.
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July 19th Blu-ray & DVD Releases Include The Return Of The Living Dead Collector’s Edition, Bad Moon

Tuesday, July 19th doesn’t boast a ton of new home entertainment choices for genre fans, but as the saying goes, sometimes it’s quality over quantity, and there are a few releases to be more than excited for. Scream Factory has put together a stellar Collector’s Edition release of The Return of the Living Dead and is also bringing Bad Moon home in HD as well.

Mill Creek has two William Castle double features arriving on Blu-ray this week, and Warner Home Video is giving Watchmen the 4K Ultra HD treatment with their new release of The Ultimate Cut, which I know a lot of fans have been looking forward to for a while now.

Other notable titles coming home on July 19th include Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (with four separate format releases) and a special edition release of Ken Russell’s Crimes of Passion.
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Mill Creek Entertainment to Release Two William Castle Double Feature Blu-rays

William Castle’s 13 Ghosts (1960), 13 Frightened Girls, Homicidal, and Mr. Sardonicus are coming to Blu-ray in two double features from Mill Creek Entertainment! Both double bills will be released on July 5th.

From Mill Creek Entertainment: “13 Ghosts (1960) – B&W – 85 minutes – Not Rated

Charles Herbert, Jo Morrow, Martin Milner, Rosemary DeCamp. Donald Woods, Margaret Hamilton

When an eccentric uncle wills a huge, ramshackle house to his impoverished family, they get the shock of a lifetime. Their new residence comes complete with a spooky housekeeper, plus a fortune in buried treasure and 12 horrifying ghosts.”

13 Frightened Girls (1963) – Color – 88 minutes – Not Rated

Murray Hamilton, Joyce Taylor, Hugh Marlowe, Khigh Dhiegh, Charlie Briggs, Norma Varden

The girls of a Swiss boarding school have one thing in common — they are all daughters of diplomats. One in particular finds out that she has a knack for espionage, and uncovers the murder of a Russian diplomat. Now she
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William Castle & Hammer DVD Collections Announced, The Incredible Two-headed Transplant Coming to Blu-ray

Hammer horror fans are in for a treat, as respective collections of five William Castle films and five Hammer horror movies are coming out on Blu-ray in August, and The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant has been set to come out on Blu-ray.

The William Castle and Hammer horror collections will respectively come out on DVD August 18th from Mill Creek. The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant, meanwhile, is slated for release later this year by Kino Lorber. Stay tuned to Daily Dead for further updates.

From Mill Creek: "Iconic horror director William Castle created a simple, but winning formula for his films: a little comedy, a lot of scares, a preposterous gimmick, and a clear sense that fright films should be fun. This even meant Castle would, like Alfred Hitchcock, appear in his trailers and even the movies themselves. Though his career spanned 35 years and included everything from westerns to crime thrillers, he'll
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'They walk. They talk. They kill.' Director Stuart Gordon talks 'Dolls'

'They walk. They talk. They kill.' Director Stuart Gordon talks 'Dolls'
Stuart Gordon shot his first film, 1985's much beloved gorefest Re-Animator, in Los Angeles but then decamped to Italy to shoot Dolls, his second movie and second terror tale. While there, Gordon was also taken down a peg, or 12, by a local craftsman. "They didn’t shoot sound in Italy, they weren't used to that," says Gordon, whose other directing credits include From Beyond, Castle Freak, and 2005's William H. Macy-starring Edmond. "I remember there was one day when I was shooting something and there was a carpenter hammering in the background, working on another one of our sets—hammering and sawing.
See full article at - Inside Movies »

November 11th Blu-ray & DVD Releases Include Dolls, Batman: The Complete TV Series

  • DailyDead
For the second week of November, genre fans have plenty of titles to choose from, as the horror and sci-fi related home releases aren’t slowing down at all this week. Not only does the highly anticipated Batman HD box set finally come home on Tuesday, but several cult classics, including Dolls and both Demons films, are also getting their due on Blu-ray too.

For those of you Trubies out there, the final season of True Blood is coming out, as well as a nifty box set of the entire HBO series and even Gamera is getting his own box set to boot. And for those of you out there who fancy yourselves fans of cult cannibal flicks, Intervision is releasing two obscure titles this week that might be of interest- Mondo Cannibal and In the Land of the Cannibals.

Batman: The Complete TV Series Limited Edition Set (Warner Home Video,
See full article at DailyDead »

Release Details for Dolls Collector’s Edition Blu-ray

  • DailyDead
Dolls is the latest cult horror title to receive the Collector’s Edition Blu-ray treatment from Scream Factory and they’ve provided us with the final list of bonus features for the November 11th release:

“Do you like handmade puppets, toy soldiers, ballerinas and dolls? Charming elderly toymaker Gabriel Hartwicke and his wife Hilary have the perfect play toys just for you! From celebrated cult filmmaker Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator), executive producer Charles Band, producer Brian Yuzna (Society) and screenwriter Ed Naha (Troll) comes a campy, horror cult classic that combines the pint-sized playmates of childhood with bone-chilling fun. The 1987 horror film Dolls is a bloody good terror trap that delivers its frights, fun and fantastic effects in equal measure. The film stars Stephen Lee (The Pit and the Pendulum), Guy Rolfe (Puppet Master III, Mr. Sardonicus), Hilary Mason (Don’t Look Now), Ian Patrick Williams (Re-Animator), Carolyn Purdy-Gordon (From Beyond
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Scream Factory Invites You to Play with Dolls on Blu-ray

At the San Diego Comic-Con back in July, Scream Factory announced that Stuart Gordon's Dolls would soon be getting the Collector's Edition Blu-ray treatment, and today full details have revealed all the stuffing that'll be found inside the release. Read on!

From the Press Release

Do you like handmade puppets, toy soldiers, ballerinas, and dolls? Charming elderly toymaker Gabriel Hartwicke and his wife, Hilary, have the perfect play toys just for you!

From celebrated cult filmmaker Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator), executive producer Charles Band, producer Brian Yuzna (Society), and screenwriter Ed Naha (Troll), comes a campy, horror cult classic that combines the pint-sized playmates of childhood with bone-chilling fun. The 1987 horror film Dolls is a bloody good terror trap that delivers its frights, fun, and fantastic effects in equal measure. The film stars Stephen Lee (The Pit and the Pendulum), Guy Rolfe (Puppet Master III, Mr. Sardonicus), Hilary Mason (Don
See full article at Dread Central »

Dolls: Collector’s Edition Blu-ray – November 11th From Scream Factory

I can’t wait for this release to finally come to fruition. It has been a long time since I have seen Stuart Gordon’s magical killer dolls film, so when Scream Factory announced it, they had my attention immediately. This is a “Collector’s Edition” so it looks as if it is getting the appropriate treatment. The artwork has been revealed, and the extras exposed. There appears to be a good mixture of both old and new. Including, but not limited to - all-new retrospective featuring interviews with director Stuart Gordon, producer Brian Yuzna, stars Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Ian Patrick Williams, executive producer Charles Band, and special make-Up effects artists Gabe Bartalos, andJohn Vulich and more! Check out the press release below, and pre-order your copy by either clicking here for Shout!’s website, or here for Amazon.

Scream Factory™ Presents

A Film by Stuart Gordon and Executive Produced by
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Join The Academy on Sept 9th for Young Frankenstein 40th Anniversary Screening

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present a 40th anniversary screening of “Young Frankenstein” with special guests Mel Brooks, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr and executive producer Michael Gruskoff on Tuesday, September 9, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Film historian Leonard Maltin will introduce the comedy classic and host a live onstage discussion with Brooks, Leachman, Garr and Gruskoff.

Young Frankenstein,” Brooks’s 1974 homage to the Golden Age of monster movies, features a large ensemble cast including Leachman, Garr, Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars and Gene Hackman. It earned Oscar® nominations for Adapted Screenplay (Wilder, Brooks) and Sound (Richard Portman, Gene Cantamessa).

Additional Academy events coming up in September at the Bing Theater in Los Angeles are listed below, with details at

“Let There Be Fright: William Castle Scare Classics”

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William Castle’s The Tingler and House On Haunted Hill – A Look Back at 1959

The St. Louis Globe-Democrat is a monthly newspaper run by Steve DeBellis, a well know St. Louis historian, and it’s the largest one-man newspaper in the world. The concept of The Globe is that there is an old historic headline, then all the articles in that issue are written as though it’s the year that the headline is from. It’s an unusual concept but the paper is now in its 27th successful year! Steve and I collaborated in 2011 on an all-Vincent Price issue of The Globe and he has asked me to write a regular monthly movie-related column. Since there is no on-line version of The Globe, I will be posting all of my articles here at We Are Movie Geeks. Since this month’s St. Louis Globe-Democrat is written as if it’s 1959, I decided to write about two of my favoririte films from that
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Hammer Classics DVD Giveaway - The Scarlet Blade and The Brigand of Kandahar

January 16th sees the first ever DVD release of two classic historical adventures from the revered Hammer Film Productions - The Scarlet Blade and The Brigand of Kandahar - both of which are directed by John Gilling and feature the legendary British star Oliver Reed. To celebrate the release, we have a copy of each DVD to give away to our readers courtesy of the lovely folk at StudioCanal.

Read on for details of how to enter this competition...

The Scarlet Blade

An unlikely romance blossoms between two people from opposing camps - one from the Roundheads, the other from the Cavaliers. Colonel Judd (Lionel Jeffries; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), a villainous anti-royalist loyal to Cromwell, is bewildered by his daughter Clare's (June Thorburn; Tom Thumb) Royalist sympathies. Judd's right-hand man Captain Sylvester (Oliver Reed) is an enforcer for Cromwell's parliamentarians and also June's boyfriend. Much to the consternation of Judd and Sylvester,
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House On Haunted Hill with ‘Emergo’ Sunday Night at the Tivoli – Sliff Preview

Vincentennial Lives! This year’s St. Louis International Film Festival will be capped with a screening of the 1959 shocker House On Haunted Hill starring St. Louis native Vincent Price. The screening will be this Sunady, November 20th at 8:30 pm at the Tivoli Theater and yes, it it will be in………..Emergo !!! Eccentric millionaire Fredrick Loren (Price) and his fourth wife (Carol Ohmart), Annabelle, have invited five people to their house on Haunted Hill for a “haunted house” party. Whoever will stay in the house for one night will earn $10,000 (a whopping sum in 1959!). As the night progresses, all the greedy participants are trapped inside the house with ghosts, murderers, skeletal apparitions, blood dripping from the ceiling, a severed head, and a vat of acid in the cellar.

House On Haunted Hill is the renowned work of producer and director William Castle, beloved for his signature-style fright-filled films and delivering
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William Castle is Back From the Dead and He Brought the Recipe for His Movie Blood

William Castle is Back From the Dead and He Brought the Recipe for His Movie Blood
William Castle, the horror-movie showman whose work included "The Tingler," "Mr. Sardonicus" and"13 Ghosts," is coming back from the grave courtesy of his daughter, who is reviving William Castle Prods. First up is the the publication of "House on Haunted Hill: A William Castle Annotated Screamplay," along with two young adult horror novels, "From the Grave: The Prayer" and "FearMaker: Family Matters." "House on Haunted Hill," which will be released ...
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Indie Horror Month - 25 Milestones in Independent Horror Filmmaking: Part 1

For many fans, independent horror filmmaking seems like a relatively new concept. So you may be surprised to find out the maverick spirit that fuels our beloved genre has been burning for almost 100 years now, since the 1912 version of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde was produced by the independently-run production house Thanhouser Company.

Since then, we’ve enjoyed countless films that bucked the studio system tradition and gave us bold, refreshing explorations of some of our greatest fears and introduced us to some pioneers in the entertainment industry. In honor of these achievements, we here at Dread Central are taking the entire month of March to celebrate all things indie horror.

To kick things off, over the next five days we’d like to take you on a historical journey through the last 100 years of indie horror by taking a look at 25 milestones that helped define the horror genre and, in many cases,
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Another Message from William Castle from Beyond the Grave

"William Castle's Shockers", presented by the very undead folks from Cinefamily at Hollywood, California's iconic Silent Movie Theatre, has been running Saturday nights in October. Of course there will also be a double feature on Halloween night, Sunday, October 31st.

Here's a list of what will be shown during the last two weekends of the month. See you at The Silent Movie Theatre, 611 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90048; for more info call (323) 655-2520.

October 23rd / Macabre shown with Mr. Sardonicus

Macabre - 6:00pm

Macabre is a taut little race-the-clock picture about a kidnapped doctor's daughter and the his panicked attempts to save her! This was Castle’s first foray into horror (though he’d made some fine noir thrillers), and there’s the extra pleasure of the ever-jovial Jim Backus (Mr. Howell from “Gilligan’s Island”, and the voice of Mr. Magoo) sliming it up in a
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Could Bollywood's Ra. One Be The First Interactive Video Game Movie?

Hot on the heels of Enthiran's runaway box office success in India and around the world, Bollywood's own superstar, Shah Rukh Khan (seen at left working his day job as a coal miner), has decided to up the Sci-fi ante.  Not one to be shown up, Khan called a meeting of the crew on Ra. One and pitched the idea of making it the very first interactive gaming movie!  Wait.  What?

In the past we've seen films with multiple endings, a la Clue.  We've also seen films where the audience votes on a fate for the villain, as in William Castle's Mr. Sardonicus.  However, I've never heard of a film with an interactive video game ending.  In fact, I can't even wrap my brain around how that would work.

The film's title is a reference to the villain of a video game created by Shah Rukh Khan's character,
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Event Report: The Return of William Castle

If H.G. Lewis is the Godfather of Gore, then William Castle must be horror’s lovable Grandfather ... or at least its sneaky uncle. And just like family, we sometimes take him for granted, relegating him to the bowels of schlock cinema - a term that celebrates the gimmickry of niche movie making but not its inherent ingenuity.

The name William Castle has become synonymous with classic horror, but not dared spoken in the same breath as Hitchcock or even Terence Fisher for that matter. No, Castle is the midnight movie madman who elevated audience exploitation to an art form and invented the twist ending decades before M. Night Shyamalan pitched The Sixth Sense to Disney executives. Now, when one name splashes across the screen, it elicits groans from the audience (been in a theater showing the Devil trailer lately?), but when the name William Castle pops up, a sinister smirk
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