“William Castle’s Shockers“, presented by the very undead folks from Cinefamily at Hollywood, California’s iconic Silent Movie Theatre, has been running Saturday nights in October. Of course there will also be a double feature on Halloween night, Sunday, October 31st.
Here’s a list of what will be shown during the last two weekends of the month. See you at The Silent Movie Theatre, 611 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90048; for more info call (323) 655-2520.
October 23rd / Macabre shown with Mr. Sardonicus
Macabre – 6:00pm
Macabre is a taut little race-the-clock picture about a kidnapped doctor’s daughter and the his panicked attempts to save her! This was Castle’s first foray into horror (though he’d made some fine noir thrillers), and there’s the extra pleasure of the ever-jovial Jim Backus (Mr. Howell from “Gilligan’s Island”, and the voice of Mr. Magoo) sliming it up in a script by regular Castle pen-man Robb White. And don’t worry about the welfare of the loved ones you may have to leave at home this night because, just as Castle did back in 1958, each and every member of the audience for this show will be issued a certificate for a $1,000 life insurance policy — from Lloyd’s of London! — to cover anyone who dies of fright during the screening.
Dir. William Castle, 1958, 35mm, 72 min.
Mr. Sardonicus – 7:30pm
Those who survive the treacherous waters of Macabre are then invited to spend an evening with Mr. Sardonicus, a man whose face has become monstrous after a great trauma, and the strain to find a cure has curdled his soul to match his hideous visage. Castle said that this film was his favorite to make and it’s easy to tell why: from the gothic trappings to the wild makeup effects, there are few films that mix fun and fright in such a weird way. And just to give it that Castle touch, Mr. Sardonicus is the only film to feature the Punishment Poll. Long before technology allowed us to advance our favorite new pop music sensation to the next round through text messaging, Castle developed a process by which the audience could choose the fate of the villain — which we’ll utilize this evening. How will you judge Mr. Sardonicus?
Dir. William Castle, 1961, 35mm, 89 min.
October 31st / SPECIAL SUNDAY HALLOWEEN SHOW: House on Haunted Hill shown with The Tingler – William Castle’s daughter, Terry Castle, in person!
House on Haunted Hill – 6:00pm
Halloween is the best night of the year to spend a night in a good, old-fashioned haunted house, and this All Hallows’ Eve, Vincent Price invites five strangers and 185 members of the Cinefamily to spend the night in House on Haunted Hill. This is the house that no kid has ever dared to enter. So far the ghosts have murdered only seven people — won’t you come and make it eight? While we can’t promise you $10,000 for surviving the night, we can offer a great time and a chance to see one of Castle’s greatest innovative screen processes, “Emergo!”, live and in person! William Castle’s daughter, Terry Castle, will be here in person to introduce the films, and talk about her father’s career in the fright business!
Dir. William Castle, 1959, 35mm, 75 min.
The Tingler – 7:30pm
Our month-long celebration of William Castle concludes with the spine-tingling horror of The Tingler, Castle’s weirdo masterpiece of gimmickry about a lobster-shaped monster that feeds on terror within the human body! Aside from being the first film to use LSD as a plot device, the original theatrical run was presented in “Percepto,” whereby theater patrons were administered buzzer shocks in their seats, to simulate the monster’s attack. The result, of course, was giddy insanity, as star Vincent Price’s voice urges patrons to “scream for your lives!” Best of all, The Tingler features a major subplot based on the Silent Movie Theatre itself and its original owners, the Hamptons. Feel a tingle up your spine as you watch these scenes set in the very location where you are sitting — and maybe a tingle on your tuchas when we shock you Castle-style with real wired seats!
Dir. William Castle, 1958, 35mm, 82 min.
Now, here’s a special message FROM THE GRAVE FROM THE “MASTER OF THE MACABRE” WILLIAM CASTLE:
“Yes, I am fully aware that I died in 1977. But you didn’t think a little thing like rigor-mortis would prevent me from attending the ‘William Castle’s Shockers’ retrospective in LA, did you? Of course you didn’t.
I’m looking forward to seeing my daughter, Terry, there on Halloween – we’ve been having a little trouble connecting these past few years. (She always loved my story about coming up with the idea for The Tingler while standing in line outside … The Silent Movie Theatre!) Terry’s got a few tricks of her own up her pretty sleeves. It’s in the genes.
Maybe I’ll see you there. too.
You know, getting ready for Halloween was always one of my favorite things when I was alive. Still is. This year I decided to write a horror novel … with a little help from 30 writer friends. I wrote Chapter One of Scare It Forward and posted it on October 1. Every day this month one of my friends will post a new, sequential chapter. The final chapter, 31, will be posted on Halloween night. I guarantee it will scare a corpse out of his own grave.
If you dare, you can read each day’s installment of Scare It Forward by clicking here.
You know I made over forty B movies following a formula for box office success: low-budget chillers geared to the burgeoning boomers. The Tingler, House on Haunted Hill, Thirteen Ghosts, Macabre, Strait-Jacket (scripted by Psycho’s Robert Bloch), and Homicidal – which TIME magazine liked better than Psycho.
But they called me a master of ballyhoo who shamelessly promoted his pictures with gimmicks like The Coward’s Corner and Percepto seat buzzers.
Gimmicks!! What utter nonsense.”
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