Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story
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In an age filled with remake after remake, now s the time to start going back in time and checking out the films that are being ripped off today. If you ve already seen the Universal classics like Frankenstein and Dracula, then maybe it s time to educate yourself about the legendary William Castle, who took cinema to a whole new level. You might think Walt Disney World was the first place to get interactive with films (Honey I Shrunk the Audience!), but Castle was the originator. In the documentary Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story, filmmaker (and fan) Jeffrey Schwarz will help transport you to a world where going to the theater more than just an afternoon killer. It was an event. Schwarz s Spine Tingler! is extremely focused and fabulously entertaining. He begins his tale by giving us a brief history of William Castle and where he comes from, which eventually translates into WHY he clings so desperately to the gimmicks in his films. This is an important arch that carries over and ties everything together. The main focus on the doc is when Castle breaks into Hollywood with his first hit Macabre, where a certificate for a $1,000 life insurance policy from Lloyd's of London was given to each customer in case he/she should die of fright during the film. The story then follows Castle through the success of his other films & their gimmicks, thus branding his name. When you saw William Castle on the movie poster or in the trailer you knew exactly what you were going to get. What s so sad and yet uplifting about Spine Tingler! is where Castle ends up after the success of his opus, Rosemary s Baby. He goes back to his roots and eventually fades out. It almost makes you cry to see the devastating finale to his successful career. But before the movie ends Schwarz reminds us about how much of an impact Castle has had on Hollywood and how his films still play to audiences in special screenings. It s uplifting, warm and leaves you with a smile. Schwarz also limits the use of talking heads and really gives us a visual representation of what the theatergoers got to see back in the 50 and 60s. The doc is loaded with photos from William Castle s life and plenty of stories that give charm to not only Castle himself, but also the film. Spine Tingler! is the definitive William Castle story that will never be topped. I m proud to put my stamp of approval on this classic doc. --Brad Miska, Bloody-Disgusting.com
I think one of the main reasons why I m such a hardcore follower of Viral Marketing is because it s a gimmick that manages to involve audiences in the film they re anticipating. I think it s a wonderful throwback to William Castle, whose own showmanship was such a form of P.T. Barnum marketing that he s sorely missed in a world of spoon fed horror films and lethargic monster pictures. Castle involved you in his movies. He s the epitome of what movies are supposed to be, fun attractions that the entire audience can be apart of, that you can only get a taste of with revival theaters who are ballsy enough to continue Castle s fun house tricks. Spine Tingler! is the excellent documentary about the life and adventures of William Castle, who, right from childhood, was a bonafide showman who thrived on audience, spectacles, and attention. Lacking the sap and sensationalism of normal biographical documentaries, director Jeffrey Schwarz keeps the tone and pacing of Castle s life story a bright and cheery affair with a story that reveals so much about Castle that the average moviegoer may not know. Castle garnered a sheer respect for being a master of the movie gimmick, shocking his friends and associates by actually investing in his promotions such as hiring actual nurses who were employed to stand by theaters in case anyone died of fright. And you have to love his promotional declaration: Please ladies and gentleman, do not reveal the ending of Homicidal to your friends or they will kill you. And if they don t, I will. On the same wavelength of charisma, Schwarz grabs most of the anecdotes from William's lively daughter Terry Castle, who recalls her father with sheer fondness and hysterics, and who can blame her? I sat with a smile cemented on my face the entire time and it didn t fade for at least a day. Among the notable interviewees are Forry Ackerman, Leonard Maltin, Stuart Gordon, and John Landis who provide fond remembrances as fans who attended original screenings. Spine Tingler! is a funny and often energetic look at a man I ve grown fonder and fonder of over the years, and his sheer ability to suck audiences into his films and provide an experience rather than a simple movie is forever the template for modern directors struggling to spread the word about their own films, and Spine Tingler! truly captures the man, and the myth who invented such gems as Emergo, Percepto, Illusion-O, and became a role model for independent filmmakers everywhere. Now, does anyone have any Ghost Viewer glasses they don't need? --Felix Vasquez, Jr., Film Threat
Top Customer Reviews
His influence is even felt today in the 2011 Spy Kids: All the Time in the World which took a page out of Castle's playbook with their scratch-and-sniff "Aroma-Scope" gimmick.
Furthermore, the DVD is crammed full with over 5 hours of extras presenting a tremendous value for the money.
If you are a horror buff, grindhouse enthusiast or just interested in marketing, you should buy this DVD.
the interviews are many and wonderful, with such great film makers as John Waters, John Landis, and Joe Dante, among many others. The special features go into much greater details in the interviews. It is especially interesting to see how, late in life, success - in the form of 'Rosemary's Baby' - really ruined him, in a perverse way. My only complaint is that they don't cover "Confessions of an Opiate Eater", an obscure 1964 Vincent Price film that comes off as a racist fever dream.
Overall, if you like movies, and really like the seamy side of the street, this documentary is as good as I have seen.
Was not happy with the quality of instant video. The DVD is spectacular.
I can remember going to see a couple of William Castle movies on a Saturday matinee. We had to sign a liability release in case we "died of fright" during the movie.
If you are a William Castle fan, be sure to buy "Matinee" on DVD. Matinee is a 5 star movie about William Castle.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
No one know director William Castle but the documentary will tell you about his film works. Very entertaining and worth to see it repeat.Published 2 months ago by Burton Quartermus
fantastic book for anyone who remembers those magic days of the Hitchcock of cheap fright (I was)Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Saw this doc on TCM and was really impressed...definitely the definitive film on the "other" Master...Published 19 months ago by steve l. nevil
Excellent documentary... If you are a lover of the history of bad cinema this is required viewing. His daughter is HOT!Published on November 14, 2013 by Foetusmelon
Fascinating documentory about this famous director. Excellent quality and brought back memories of the movies he made in the 1950-1960's.Published on March 13, 2013 by Mrs Wendy Ware
I read on a pretty well known movie review site that this doc was awesome and one of the best so I believed what I had read and purchased this and about 20 minutes into it I fell... Read morePublished on January 28, 2013 by Kevin
It was great to relive the Castle experience that I remember so well as a child.
Macabre / House on Haunted Hill / The Tingler / 13 Ghosts / Homicidal are my favorites.