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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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Credited cast:
Forrest J. Ackerman ...
Sidney D. Balkin ...
Steve Bickel ...
Robert Bloch ...
Himself (archive footage)
Budd Boetticher ...
Bob Burns ...
Kathy Burns ...
Herself (archive footage)
Terry Castle ...
Himself (archive footage)
Harry Cohn ...
Himself (archive footage)
Herself (archive footage)


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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



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Release Date:

20 October 2009 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

Extremely Entertaining Documentary
28 October 2009 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story (2007)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Extremely well made documentary takes a look at producer/director William Castle and features interviews with not only his daughter but also the likes of John Landis, Joe Dante, Roger Corman, Leonard Maltin, Budd Boetticher, Bob Burns, David Del Valle, John Waters and Fred Olen Ray. The documentary covers Castle's early life growing up, meeting Bela Lugosi and eventually being invited to Hollywood where he'd soon start directing countless "B" movies for Columbia. The film then follows his gimmick movies like HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL and THE TINGLER as well as his dream project, ROSEMARY'S BABY, which would eventually be given to another filmmaker. Fans of Castle are really going to eat this thing up because there's so many great interviews and comments that one can't help but get the feeling of what it must have been like watching some of these movies in the theater when they were first released. Hearing about all the gimmicks from people who were actually there was a lot of fun and you can just tell that these people still love and have fond memories of these few moments in the theater. The documentary is pretty much fun throughout and never tries to be overly serious but instead just deals with the type of fun person Castle was. We do get to hear about his two dream projects, which ended up getting stolen by Orson Welles and given away to Polanski. It was also fun hearing how Castle pretty much gave full control to Joan Crawford who certainly used it to her advantage. The later years of Castle's life are talked about as well as the one last film he wanted to make but never got the chance. The film runs a short 82-minutes and overlooks countless films but that shouldn't keep anyone away as in the end it's just as much fun as watching one of Castle's own productions.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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