On the date in 1977 we lost one of the greats because that’s when William Castle passed away. He dropped out of school at the age of 15 and never looked back. In the late 50’s through the 60’s he had a major run of some of the best B Movies elevated by his unique brand of marketing.
The first movie he financed, by mortgaging his house, in 1958 was “Macabre” which was a suspense thriller inspired by Henri-Georges Clouzot game changing film “Les Diaboliques.” It was with “Macarbe” that Castle’s reputation as an innovator of B film marketing began because he took out a $1000 life insurance policy from Loyd’s of London in case any one died of fright at the cinema and he had a nurse and a hearse at each screening. “Macabre” was a success.
He quickly followed up with two Vincent Price classic vehicles “House on Haunted Hill”
with a human skeleton that warped my young mind and “The Tingler” which used buzzers attached to theater seats that would buzz when the monster would break the fourth wall and crawl off the screen into the audience. Buzzers would be activated. People would scream.
Wanting to elevate his game and make something on a scale larger than B, he once again mortgaged his house and produced one of the best horror films of all time, 1969’s “Rosemary’s Baby.”
He said “Some people on twitter don’t believe that this is MY account. I believe in ghosts, do you?”
Forever the showman. Literally.