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"The William Castle Film Collection" (A Bullz-Eye DVD review)

December 10, 2009


Note: This review was co-written many weeks back (I’m linking late!) with the highly esteemed Ross Ruediger of Bullz-Eye and The Rued Morgue. Guess which movies I saw, and which ones Ross saw!

Forty-two years after his death, B-horror legend William Castle remains synonymous with cinematic gimmicks with names like “Emergo,” (a glow-in-the-dark skeleton that flew over the audience), “Percepto” (a small vibrator under some theaters seats) and “Illusion-O” (a “ghost viewer”). Though his modestly budgeted productions delighted the young, they were impossible to take seriously and never earned him the kind of respect given to less avidly commercial auteurs. Still, he was a solid movie craftsman of the old school with a buoyant attitude who worked with Orson Welles and Roman Polanski, and possibly influenced Alfred Hitchcock’s move into sensational horror with “Psycho” and “The Birds.” As a director, he was a competent craftsman whose essentially good-natured works aimed a bit low. As a showman, however, Welles, Polanski, and Hitchcock had very little on him.



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