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Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story (2007)

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Chronicles the last great American showman, filmmaker William Castle, a master of ballyhoo who became a brand name in movie horror with his outrageous audience participation gimmicks.

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Title: Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story (2007)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Forrest J Ackerman ...
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Sidney D. Balkin ...
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Steve Bickel ...
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Robert Bloch ...
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Budd Boetticher ...
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Bob Burns ...
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Kathy Burns ...
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Terry Castle ...
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Harry Cohn ...
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Storyline

Documentary on famed Hollywood director and producer - and supreme showman - William Castle. Castle made his mark in the decade from the mid-1950s to the mid 1960s with a series of low-budget but highly popular and profitable horror films. The list includes Macabre (1958), House on Haunted Hill (1959), Homicidal (1961) and many others. Castle always had to have a gimmick to go with his movies. These included having nurses on duty in the lobby should anyone need medical assistance or giving everyone a $1000 insurance policy should anyone die of fright. Castle's greatest success came as he producer of Rosemary's Baby (1968). All in all he is fondly remembered by those who knew and worked with him. Written by garykmcd

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He was just another movie director...until he found himself a gimmick.


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20 October 2009 (USA)  »

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Way back when
24 June 2008 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

This documentary on schlockmeister William Castle takes a few cheap shots at the naive '50s-'60s environment in which he did his most characteristic work--look at the funny, silly people with the ghost-glasses--but it's also affectionate and lively, with particularly bright commentary from John Waters, who was absolutely the target audience for such things at the time, and from Castle's daughter, who adored her dad and also is pretty perceptive about how he plied his craft. (We never find out what became of the other Castle offspring.) The movies were not very good, it makes clear, but his marketing of them was brilliant, and he appears to have been a sweet, hardworking family man. Fun people keep popping up, like "Straight Jacket"'s Diane Baker, who looks great, and Anne Helm, whom she replaced at the instigation of star Joan Crawford. Darryl Hickman all but explodes into giggles at the happy memory of working with Castle on "The Tingler," and there's enough footage to give us an idea of the level of Castle's talent--not very high, but very energetic. A pleasant look at a time when audiences were more easily pleased, and it does make you nostalgic for simpler movie-going days.


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