34 user 22 critic

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)




Cast overview:
William Prince ... Dr. Rodney Barrett
Jim Backus ... Police Chief Jim Tyloe
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 | Plot Synopsis


$1000,00 in case of DEATH by FRIGHT (original poster) See more »


Horror | Thriller


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The first of William Castle's "gimmick" films. In this one, admission included a $1000 insurance policy against "death by fright" issued by Lloyds of London. See more »


In the closing credits the last name of character Ed Quigley is misspelled "Guigley." 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...
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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 Horrible Horror (1986) See more »

User Reviews

how I chickened out seeing "macabre"
9 August 2008 | by millerman_annieSee all my reviews

i remember "macabre" when the ads for the movies first appeared.one consisted of a sad looking man with a top hat driving a horse drawn hearse containing a flowered draped casket. under the title"macabre" was this line "see it with someone who can carry you home". I remember the front of the theater had a real casket on display. it was opened and it was a hideous looking corpse with the Lloyd's of London policy displayed on the inside of the lined lid of the casket. I wanted to go see it that weekend, but my mother said to me "do you want to die?"so I chickened out. I later heard from my school chums that the movie was a big disappointment and don't bother to see it. I finally got to see it during halloween of 1960 at the same theater where it first opened. there was no casket there to greet me.so i just had the movie to deal with. In watching it I was waiting for the shock moments to occur, but there were just not there, except during the scene in the casket room, and the one in the mausoleum and of course the grand finale with the graveside service at midnight and the discovery of the small casket with it's horrible contents that managed to issue a scream or two from the rather small audience. I still enjoyed the movie regardless of it's shortcomings and can hardly wait till it makes it on DVD.

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Release Date:

October 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Macabre See more »


Box Office


$90,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono | Mono (Ryder Sound Services)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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