William Castle Returns to L.A. From Beyond the Grave!

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He’s back from the grave and ready to party. Well, that’s not exactly right, but the fact is you can’t keep a good ghost down, and William Castle certainly fits that description.

Although he’s been dead since 1977, Castle keeps popping up. He’s been rocking his Facebook (I wonder what he thinks of the new layout?) and Twitter accounts since May, and now he’s releasing a new book. He’s done more from the ground than most of us do wandering around topside all day.

And the undead activity goes on with a reading from his book From the Grave: The Prayer (Volume 1) (the ‘Volume 1’ implies that Castle is not quite ready for his eternal rest just yet) by his daughter, Terry Castle, in Los Angeles on October 27th. Readings are also scheduled for New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area. Read on for the ghostly details.

From the Press Release
Known for his ingenious marketing gimmicks, legendary horror film producer and director William Castle (1914-1977) has returned from the dead with his first new work in decades, From the Grave: The Prayer (Volume 1), a novel for tweens/young adults.

Due out this Halloween season in early October 2011, the 75,000-word book set in Hollywood and Southern France is a compelling thriller infused with history, suspense, and horror. To celebrate, there will be a special Los Angeles Halloween event where his own flesh and blood, daughter Terry Castle, will read from and sign copies of the book at Stories Books & Café in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles on Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 7:30 pm (1716 West Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026; 213-413-3733; storiesla.com). All ages are welcome! Expect Halloween tricks and treats, including a fake blood making demonstration by Terry as she reveals the secret family recipe.

From the Grave: The Prayer will be released on October 2, 2011 through the recently resurrected William Castle Productions. New York City and Bay Area readings are also planned. For more information please visit williamcastle.com.

Dubbed “The Master of the Macabre” and “King of the Gimmicks,” Castle was internationally famous for producing Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and producing/directing countless horror classics such as House on Haunted Hill (1959) and The Tingler (1959). “My dad was notorious for both his spine-tingling movies as well as the legendary gimmicks he devised to drive people to the theater again and again,” says his daughter, Terry Castle, who helms William Castle Productions. “And now, for his latest and perhaps greatest marketing gimmick yet, Dad has written ‘From the Grave.’ He’s really outdone himself this time!”

Indeed, Castle is as famous for his ongoing gimmicks as he is for the films themselves. As film critic Sean Axmaker recounts in this review for Turner Movie Classics, “Director William Castle was an ambitious journeyman looking for his breakout film when he hit upon his winning formula with Macabre, a low-budget 1958 thriller that sold its onscreen shock effects with promotional ballyhoo. In a brainstorm of publicity ingenuity, Castle issued an insurance policy (backed by Lloyds of London) to cover all ticket buyers against ‘death by fright.’ The campaign was a success, the film was a hit, and Castle found his new persona: a B-movie P.T. Barnum by way of Alfred Hitchcock. He launched a new gimmick with each succeeding horror film and took to personally promoting and introducing his films, just like Hitchcock was doing on television.”

From the Grave: The Prayer Synopsis:
As the Gypsies gather in the ancient village of Les-Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer for the annual celebration honoring their patron saint, a mystical convergence of events brings four adolescents together at a haunted house and sets them on a perilous quest to locate a centuries-old manuscript that holds the power to release the devastating force of the Ancient Ones upon the Earth.

Fifteen-year-old Sarah and her younger brother Luca are lonely Gypsy kids who travel about Europe with their parents. Forced by their Gypsy father to beg and pick pockets for money, Sarah and Luca find it impossible to earn their father’s approval. Fifteen-year-old Edgar cannot stand his parents (and the feeling is mutual) when the family moves from New Jersey to France so that his parents can live out their dream of being French aristocracy. Fourteen-year-old Aleck’s world is turned upside down when his parents are killed in a car crash and his older sister decides that he would be better off in France with their Aunt and Uncle whose real concern is their own lavish lifestyle.

Beset by their parents and guardians, the four young people must also survive the mercurial activities of a spirit haunting the house that holds clues to the location of the manuscript that is also sought by a secret society bent on locating it for its own purposes. In a frenzied chase that takes them from the ancient villages of Provence through the blood-soaked quarries of Roussillon to the macabre catacombs of Paris, the four must put aside their differences and suspicions to outwit the evil forces who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the ancient book.

For more on William Castle
On May 31, 2010 – the 33rd anniversary of his death – Castle began communicating with his many fans again via social media networks not available to him prior to 1977. He is now communicating from the grave through his Facebook page, on Twitter (@billcastle), and on his personal blog. “I suspect that the development of the social mediaverse has a lot to do with why Dad came back,” says his daughter. “He’s having a blast with Facebook, his blog, and Twitter – with so many cool toys to play with, there’s no telling what Dad will do next! It’s going to be really interesting to see what he does with it all.”

William Castle Returns to L.A. From Beyond the Grave!

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Scott Hallam

We all go a little mad sometimes...haven't you?