William Castle: The Poor Man's Alfred Hitchcock
Thursday/July/22 2010 Filed in: Entertainment / Media
Step Aside Ed Wood
Ed Wood certainly got a lot of attention for making movies that were so bad they were absolutely compelling. After all, Plan 9 From Outer Space is arguably the best-worst movie of all time.
But William Castle was no slouch either.
Castle was the producer/director of dozens of B-movie horror films.
But more than that, he was the king of movie gimmicks.
Whether it was wiring theatre seats with electric buzzers, having skeletons zip through the audience on clotheslines at dramatic plot points, or offering fright insurance for movie patrons, Castle worked every trick in the book and invented new ones of his own.
And like Hitchcock, Castle also made an appearance in most of his films.
While Hitchcock generally made a short quiet cameo somewhere in his movies. William Castle often opened his films with a brief intro letting you know just how SCARY!! the film you were about to see truly was.
Though it's hard to believe it based on just how bad some of his black and white films were, Castle did eventually break into the big-time with one movie, starring Mia Farrow, that many regard as a classic.
Castle produced the 1968 thriller, Rosemary's Baby.
He wanted to direct it was well but the studio wanted someone with a better reputation to take the helm. Roman Polanski got the job but, of course, that's another story.
3D glasses? No! A special color-coded Ghost Viewer!! for 13 Ghosts
Lloyd's of London Fright Insurance anyone?
In Mr. Sardonicus, Castle gave you a chance to vote on the fate of the lead character with a thumbs-up/thumbs-down ballot card.
Homicidal had a 45 second Fright Break! to give you a chance to leave the theatre if you were too scared to sit through the rest of the movie!