Directed by William Castle
Distributed by WarnerArchive.com
Director William Castle was an American original in every sense of the word. There will never be another like him, and even though he’s been gone for decades, he’s still missed within the film community more than words could ever fully illustrate. Castle was more than just a filmmaker. He was a wild man and a true showman. The gimmicks he cooked up to get asses into theatres and the spooky fun films he delivered will be revered by fans for as long as there’s a place to go and watch a movie.
Usually his heavy hitters like The Tingler, 13 Ghosts and of course The House of Haunted Hill get all the love, but way back in 1958 he delivered a little movie called Macabre that was genuinely scary and way ahead of its time. Lost for years and existing only in really bad bootlegs, Macabre is now here completely remastered courtesy of the little devils over at the Warner Archive.
Macabre tells the tale of Doctor Rodney Barrett (Prince). You see, the good doctor spends the majority of his time lately walking around misty graveyards shovel in hand and digging through tomb, after tomb, after tomb. What would cause this normally completely sane man to defile the dead’s eternal resting places? It’s quite simple – his young daughter has been kidnapped, and the good doctor received an anonymous phone call stating that she’s still very much alive … buried alive. With time running out, Barrett gives it everything he has to find the coffin holding his little girl before she runs out of air.
Pretty dark stuff, no? Burying a small child alive? You won’t see many movies even today with balls enough to pull off that insane of a premise. Macabre is executed to perfection with mounting tension and a no-holds-barred approach that was as scary as it got for its time. If you’re a Castle fan, don’t hesitate to get a copy of this true lost gem cooking and on its way to you immediately if not sooner.
Even cooler? Macabre is also home to one of Castle’s most famed gimmicks in which he issued $1,000.00 insurance policies through Lloyd’s of London should any viewers die of fright while watching the movie. You just had to love the guy.
Once again you need to know that this release is a Warner Archive title. All titles released under that banner are made to order and not mass produced. As a result, once you order, you don’t get an “official” DVD, just a DVD-R in a regular DVD box with some cool artwork, so if you have a player that has problems playing that type of disc, you may want to steer clear. Also (as always) we get no extras whatsoever. Not even a chapter select. Small price to pay to have this film readily accessible.
So there you have it, dearest reader. The final word on the release of one of William Castle’s finest films. You owe it to yourself to give this one a good spin. Just be warned … the DVD does NOT come with an insurance policy!
4 1/2 out of 5
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