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Macabre (1958)

Passed | | Horror, Thriller | October 1958 (USA)
A doctor's daughter is kidnapped and buried alive, and he is given just five hours to find and rescue her.


William Castle


Robb White (screenplay), Anthony Boucher (novel) (as Theo Durrant)

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Cast overview:
William Prince ... Dr. Rodney Barrett
Jim Backus ... Police Chief Jim Tyloe
Christine White Christine White ... Nancy Wetherby Tyloe
Jacqueline Scott ... Polly Baron - Nurse
Susan Morrow ... Sylvia Stevenson
Philip Tonge ... Jode Wetherby
Jonathan Kidd Jonathan Kidd ... Ed Quigley - Funeral Director
Dorothy Morris ... Alice Wetherby Barrett
Howard Hoffman ... Hummel
Ellen Corby ... Miss Kushins
Linda Guderman Linda Guderman ... Marge Barrett
Voltaire Perkins Voltaire Perkins ... Preacher


A small-town doctor (William Prince) gets caught up in a revenge plot when his small daughter is kidnapped and buried alive as he is given a few short hours to find her before she suffocates. To cover the risk of a heart attack while viewing the film, Producer-Director William Castle provided each member of the audience with an official certificate issued by Lloyds of London to insure them for $1,000 against death by fright. The gimmick worked and Castle was on his way to movie exploitation stardom! Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Horror | Thriller


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

October 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Macabro See more »


Box Office


$90,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$5,000,000, 31 January 1970
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The narrator of the trailer mispronounces the title of the movie, pronouncing it "Ma-cob-ra" instead of the correct "Ma-cob." (Correction: most dictionaries give both pronunciations, and the way the narrator pronounces it is closer to the original French word.) See more »


The closing credits incorrectly place Ed Quigley among the characters who died during the movie. See more »


Narrator: Ladies and gentlemen - for the next hour and fifteen minutes, you will be shown things so terrifying that the management of this theatre is deeply concerned for your welfare. Therefore, we request that each of you assume the responsibility of taking care of your neighbor. If anyone near you becomes uncontrollably frightened, will you please notify the management so that medical attention can be rushed to their aid? Please set your watches. It is 6:45 in the evening in a town called Thornton...
See more »

Crazy Credits

In an animated closing credit sequence, characters who died during the film are borne in hearses that parade across the screen, right to left. The surviving characters follow on foot. See more »

Alternate Versions

This was one of a group of films for which Allied Artists prepared a special version for U.S. television syndication. The film would begin with an introductory crawl, followed by a scene from the film and then the main titles. See more »


Featured in William Castle, Hollywood Barnum (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

Good Old Days Of Hype and freebies
20 October 2006 | by michaeldukey2000See all my reviews

In the old days shockers sometimes gave you more than nightmares for your fifty cents. You also got an experience and sometimes and a goody that would later be worth a ton on ebay.I still have my barf bags from Mark Of The Devil,my Ghost Viewer From 13 ghosts and a pair of scratch and sniff 3d glasses from a showing of Gorilla At Large. Castle set a standard for hype when he came up with the ad campaign for Macabre.He had already been cranking out low budget mystery flicks during the forties and tried his hand at the gimmicky 3D craze of the fifties what could be done to reel them in now?It was easy. Castle made the main thread of this so-so film about a kidnapped child buried alive so that kids would fill in the scares with their minds then added the trick of insuring the audience against death by fright to make you think you were gonna get more than what was actually shown.Castle and his ad man were also shrewd about placing many TV ads during weekday dinner time so that the kids would bug mom all week about it and then Castle himself would go on local TV dance shows even kids clown programs and dare us to get the pants scared off ourselves.I remember him making an appearance on The Chucko The Birthday Clown show.When Chucko put on the special glasses they showed a happy ghost bopping around.When I got to the show and saw skeletons and head choppings I just about crapped. Years later when I saw what a Leave It TO Beaver type of affair 13 Ghosts is I realized what a genius Castle was especially since the ghost remover never completely removed them.Macabre is talky and draggy even at 72 minutes but I've seen much worse and the art direction and moody photography is nice and spooky.


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