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In or Around New York City? Then You Can Experience The Return of William Castle!

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If someone were to ask us to name our top ten directors of all time, the name William Castle would sit firmly somewhere within the top five. The man was not only a true showman but also an absolute genius. If we have one regret in our tenure here at Dread Central, it is that we weren’t around during Castle’s heyday of insane gimmicks. The man was without question the godfather of viral marketing, and it’s taken the rest of the industry decades to catch up. If you live somewhere within the Tri-State Region, we have the info on an event that you do NOT want to miss!

From the Press Release
THE RETURN OF WILLIAM CASTLE, a 15-film festival of horror and exploitation classics by the director and master showman, complete with their original gimmicks (Emergo!, Percepto!, Illusion-O!, and others – including one created exclusively for Film Forum), will run at Film Forum from August 27-September 6 (two weeks). This is the return of Castle’s gimmick movies to Film Forum – after a 15-year hiatus.

Castle (1914-1977) made over forty B-movies before hitting on a formula for box office success: low-budget chillers geared to the burgeoning Youth-sploitation market, including such effective Hitchcock imitations as Macabre, Strait-Jacket (the latter scripted by Psycho’s Robert Bloch), and Homicidal – which TIME magazine liked better than Psycho. Castle often appeared himself as a master of ceremonies à la Hitchcock, whose success and persona he strenuously attempted to emulate. A master of ballyhoo, Castle shamelessly promoted his pictures with cheesy but highly effective gimmicks, which will be lovingly re-created for the festival.

In or Around New York City? Then You Can Experience The Return of William Castle!

THE RETURN OF WILLIAM CASTLE opens on August 27 and 28 (Friday/Saturday) with a double-feature of HOMICIDAL, Castle’s quick cash-in on Psycho (the one TIME magazine preferred to the original). Will you hold out after the Fright Break? Terrified audience members are given one minute to leave before the conclusion but must sit in the lobby’s Coward’s Corner! It will be shown on a double-bill with STRAIT-JACKET, scripted by Psycho author Robert Bloch: Joan Crawford, returning from a 20-year asylum stint after hacking up her husband, is the obvious suspect when heads start rolling anew. Warning: STRAIT-JACKET vividly depicts axe murders!

Vincent Price, the Castle star par excellence, stars in HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (Sunday, August 29): There’s a ghost for everyone when eccentric millionaire Price rounds up a motley crew of strangers for a little house party. Haunted Hill’s black humor and goose-fleshy atmosphere will be further enhanced by the miracle of Emergo! – a process “more startling than 3-D!” MR. SARDONICUS, screening with Haunted Hill on Sunday, features Castle’s famed “Punishment Poll.” The face of sadistic Baron Sardonicus gets stuck in a terrified grin, concealed behind an expressionless mask as he takes it out on the rest of the cast. Should he come to a horrible end? His fate is decided when the audience is given special glow-in-the-dark ballots to vote on the outcome of this most heinous fiend.

Screening as a triple-feature on Monday, August 30, are three of Castle’s B-movies based on the popular radio mystery series “The Whistler”: THE WHISTLER, with guilt-ridden Richard Dix hiring by-the-book hit man J. Carrol Nash to kill him through a middle man (The method? Death by fright!); MARK OF THE WHISTLER, with bum Dix deciding to cash in on a long-dormant bank account coincidentally in his name; and MYSTERIOUS INTRUDER, with crooked private eye Dix hired to find the benefactor of a mysterious bequest.

Other Castle gimmick movies to be screened during the festival include MACABRE screening on Wednesday, September 1: Doctor William Prince races against time to find his buried-alive-by-a-madman daughter. Due to the horrifying nature of this picture, each patron will receive a $1,000,000 policy insuring against Death by Fright (certain restrictions apply); showing with 13 GHOSTS, presented in Illusion-O!: Vengeful spirits (visible only with specially-provided “Ghost Viewers”) plague a creepy old mansion’s new middle class residents.

Screening on Thursday, September 2, is THE NIGHT WALKER, starring screen legend Barbara Stanwyck (in her final film) as a wealthy widow haunted in recurring dreams by her decidedly dead blown-up husband, co-starring Stanwyck’s real-life ex, Robert Taylor; and LET’S KILL UNCLE, the exact suggestion of Mary Badham (Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird) to teenaged pal – and heir to $5 mil – Pat Cardi, when his uncle/guardian cheerfully admits murder’s his own plan.

The rare Castle film noir WHEN STRANGERS MARRY will also have a single screening (at 6:30 only) on September 2: Kim Hunter weds glove salesman Dean Jagger after their first date, then hears there’s a gloved strangler on the loose – but old flame Robert Mitchum is there to help. Shot in 7 days for $50,000, Strangers was hailed by Orson Welles as “better acted than Double Indemnity and Laura.”

Two Castle 3D movies will be projected in their original double-system format: JESSE JAMES VS. THE DALTONS (September 3 & 4, Friday/Saturday, at 6:30 only): Brett King believes he’s the son of the notorious bandit and hooks up with the Daltons to try and learn the truth, but 3D’d sexpot Barbara Lawrence is raison d’être enough for this Castle oater; and the French & Indian War “Eastern” FORT TI (September 5 & 6, Sunday/Monday at 6:30 only), with colonial George Montgomery teaming up with Redcoats as they go toe-to-toe against the Frenchies at Fort Ticonderoga.

The most famous Castle film of all – and a Film Forum tradition – is THE TINGLER, with its spine-tingling PERCEPTO!, the ultimate in audience participation, to be shown over Labor Day weekend (September 3-6, Friday-Monday). “Get ready to scream – scream for your lives!” when Vincent Price’s fear experiments unleash that centipede-like thing right onto the spinal cords of our terrified audience. Featuring the original blood-splattered color sequence and the screen’s very first acid trip, experienced by the audience via Goldstein’s own innovation, PSYCHEDELORAMA!

Accompanying all shows of The Tingler will be Psycho: The Trailer, the legendary six-minute preview, with Alfred Hitchcock himself squeamishly taking us on a tour of the Bates House. (Psycho, celebrating its 50th Anniversary, will have a one-week run at Film Forum during Halloween Week, October 29-November 4).

Public Screening Schedule

  • AUGUST 26/27 Fri/Sat (2 Films for 1 Admission)
    HOMICIDAL (1961) WITH FRIGHT BREAK & COWARD’S CORNER!
    1:00, 4:35, 8:10
    STRAIT-JACKET (1964) Joan Crawford
    2:45. 6:20, 10:00

  • AUGUST 29 Sun (2 Films for 1 Admission)
    HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (1959) IN BONE-CHILLING EMERGO!
    Vincent Price
    2:45, 6:05, 9:25
    MR. SARDONICUS (1961) WITH PUNISHMENT POLL!
    1:00, 4:20, 7:40

  • AUGUST 30 Mon (3 Films for 1 Admission)
    THE WHISTLER (1944) New 35mm Print!
    Richard Dix, J. Carrol Naish
    1:00, 4:45, 8:30
    MARK OF THE WHISTLER (1944) New 35mm Print!
    Richard Dix
    2:15, 6:00, 9:45
    MYSTERIOUS INTRUDER (1946) New 35mm Print!
    Richard Dix
    3:30, 7:15

  • SEPTEMBER 1 Wed (2 Films for 1 Admission)
    MACABRE (1958) WITH $1,000,000 INSURANCE POLICY!
    William Prince
    2:50, 6:10, 9:10
    13 GHOSTS (1960) IN BLOOD-CURDLING ILLUSION-O!
    Martin Milner, Rosemary DeCamp, Margaret Hamilton
    1:00, 4:20, 7:40

  • SEPTEMBER 2 Thu (2 Films for 1 Admission)
    THE NIGHT WALKER (1964) Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Taylor
    2:50, 8:20
    LET’S KILL UNCLE (1962) Mary Badham, Pat Cardi
    1:00, 4:30*, 10:00
    *4:30 show is a single feature only

  • SEPTEMBER 2 Thu (Separate Admission)
    WHEN STRANGERS MARRY (1944) Kim Hunter, Dean Jagger, Robert Mitchum
    6:35 ONLY

  • SEPTEMBER 3/4/5/6 Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon
    THE TINGLER (1959) IN PERCEPTO! & PSYCHEDELORAMA!
    Vincent Price, Darryl Hickman, Judith Evelyn
    Plus Psycho–The Trailer
    1:00, 2:50, 4:40, 8:15, 10:05

  • SEPTEMBER 3/4 Fri/Sat (Separate Admission)
    JESSE JAMES VS. THE DALTONS (1954) Brett King, Barbara Lawrence
    6:30 ONLY

  • SEPTEMBER 5/6 Sun/Mon (Separate Admission)
    FORT TI (1953) George Montgomery
    6:30 ONLY

    In or Around New York City? Then You Can Experience The Return of William Castle!

    Uncle Creepy

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    Trailer Takes Us DOWN A DARK HALL With AnnaSophia Robb and Uma Thurman

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    It was just the other day that we shared your first look at producer Stephenie Meyer (Twilight) and director Rodrigo Cortés’ (Buried) adaptation of I Know What You Did Last Summer author Lois Duncan’s  Down a Dark Hall

    The film stars AnnaSophia Robb (The Reaping), Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan), Taylor Russell (Netflix’s Lost in Space) and Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction). And today we have the film’s trailer and poster!

    You can check out the poster to the right and the trailer below and then make sure to let us know what you think below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

    Down a Dark Hall is directed by Rodrigo Cortés from a screenplay by Mike Goldbach and Chris Sparling based on the book by Lois Duncan and stars AnnaSophia Robb, Isabelle Fuhrman, Victoria Moroles, Noah Silver, Taylor Russell, Rosie Day, and Uma Thurman. It’s produced by Stephenie Meyer, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Meghan Hibbett, and Adrián Guerra.

    The film hits theaters, On Demand, and iTunes August 17th.

    Synopsis:

    Kit (Robb), a difficult young girl, is sent to the mysterious Blackwood Boarding School when her heated temper becomes too much for her mother to handle. Once she arrives at Blackwood, Kit encounters eccentric headmistress Madame Duret (Thurman) and meets the school’s only other students, four young women also headed down a troubled path. While exploring the labyrinthine corridors of the school, Kit and her classmates discover that Blackwood Manor hides an age-old secret rooted in the paranormal.

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    Tom Six Reveals “Vile” THE ONANIA CLUB…So What?

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    Tom Six of The Human Centipede fame is coming back to theaters with The Onania Club, a film he promises will be, “…one of the most vile, inhumane movie experiences of all time.” IndieWire revealed the news, which adds that the film is produced by Tom Six and Ilona Six through Six Entertainment Company.

    Details are being kept secret for now but the site says Six will bring a psychological thriller that will feature, “…mostly strong female characters” and that it will, “…definitely pass the Bechdel test with flying colors.” Starring in the film are Jessica Morris, Darcy DeMoss, Deborah Twiss, Karen Strassman, and Flo Lawrence.

    Let me try and gather all my thoughts here because this is hitting some notes that I’m frankly not really feeling. I’ll try to organize this as best I can.

    …[a] vile, inhumane movie experience…
    If that’s what Tom Six is aiming for, my interest has already dropped by a huge percentage. I didn’t see The Human Centipede in theaters but I saw it after it hit home video. It wasn’t a gross movie but it had a gross premise, which I honestly thought made it more interesting. Then came along The Human Centipede 2, which I did see in theaters. I found it to be a brilliant response to those who were disappointed by the lack of vomit-inducing moments in the first film and who demanded it be more grotesque. Once they got it, they felt like it had gone too far, which made me want to point and say, “Trust filmmakers. They very often make decisions because they know how to do it right.” That being said, I think it’s a bad, unpleasant, mean-spirited movie. I never bothered with The Human Centipede 3 because of shockingly bad reviews and even worse word-of-mouth from friends and the horror community.

    If Six’s goal is to create a movie experience that will haunt and disgust audiences, then my immediate concern is that there is no story to back up the intention. Hell, the announcement is more focused on creating a spectacle than it is on letting people know what the film is actually about. It’s Marketing 101 and as a horror fan for my entire life, I find it almost offensive that the idea of “gross first, everything else second” is being pushed in the initial blitz.

    I have no problems whatsoever with gore, viscera, or shocking scenes. Martyrs, I Saw The Devil, The Thing, and the like are all great examples of movies that push a lot of envelopes but never fail to have fascinating concepts backing everything up. There is purpose in their horror. There is method to their madness. So far, Six isn’t inspiring much faith that The Onania Club will walk down that kind of path.

    …[it will] pass the Bechdel test with flying colors…
    The Bechdel Test, for those who don’t know, is a test within films that sees if there are two, or more, women talk to each other about something other than men. That’s it. Two women in a coffee shop spend 30 seconds talking about a book? Your movie passes. A group of teenage girls discuss what they’re going to wear at an upcoming high school dance? Pass. Ronda Rousey and Michelle Rodriguez trade barbs before beating each other senseless. Check.

    While noble in intention, the Bechdel Test is a shockingly low barometer for movies to be considered women-friendly. It doesn’t ask for nuance or depth. It doesn’t set any expectations for emotion or drive. If Six thinks that his movie is a landmark simply because it passes the Bechdel Test, he clearly doesn’t know that horror has been doing this for a long time. And from reading about Bree Olson’s character in The Human Centipede 3 (the only woman in the IMDb credit list), and taking into account the female characters of the first two films in that series, I think one can understand my lack of faith when it comes to Six and women in his films.

    I am fully aware of how negative and critical I sound here and I really do hope that I’m going to be proven wrong. Every film should be allowed the chance to stand on its own merits. Hopefully The Onania Club will see Six give us a film that will generate interesting conversation for years to come. But until more is revealed, my expectations are very low.

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    Ben Hanscom Has Been Cast in IT: CHAPTER 2

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    Some fun news out of Deadline as the site has reported that Jay Ryan (Mary Kills People) has been cast as the adult Ben Hanscom in It: Chapter 2. He joins Jessica Chastain, Andy Bean, James Ransone, James McAvoy, and Bill Hader, who will be playing Beverly, Stanley, Eddie, Bill, and Richie, respectively. Bill Skarsgard will also be back as Pennywise.

    Andy Muschietti will be directing based on a script by Gary Dauberman (Annabelle: Creation) with a planned release date of September 6, 2019, almost two years to the day after the release of the first film.

    It was a massive success, earning just over $700 million globally against a $35 million budget. That film starred Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Jack Dylan Grazer, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs, Nicholas Hamilton, Owen Teague, Javier Botet, and Steven Williams.

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