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Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story (2007)

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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Kathy Burns ...
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Terry Castle ...
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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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1.78 : 1
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References Duel on the Mississippi (1955) See more »

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Director, producer, showman.
18 September 2015 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This documentary seems like a real work of love, as the folks interviewed for the film seem to have a genuine affection for William Castle and his films. If you don't know who Castle is, he was a combination filmmaker and showman--sort of a P.T. Barnum of the 1950s and 60s. Unlike most directors and producers, Castle liked making schlocky films and delighted in creating a wide variety of theater gimmicks to promote them. A few of the crazy marketing strategies he created for his films were life insurance policies to cover you in case you died of fright watching one of his movies, 'emergo'--a skeleton suspended from a wire that flew over the audience, 'percepto' which shocked unsuspecting viewers during scary scenes and much more. To me, however, the film was made better because everyone seemed to admire the guy so much and he was, above all, a good family man. Well worth seeing and just plain fun...just like his films.

By the way, if you like this film and Castle's films, try watching "Matinee", a wonderful homage to Castle and his style of showmanship.


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