william castle

The Tingler Guarantee

On the centenary of William Castle‘s birth, I’m wondering if there could ever be another cinematic showman like him. The filmmaker is famous for his gimmicks, including the use of props and special viewing devices and vibrating seats to enhance the experience of watching his pictures (see our list of these gimmicks from a few years ago). Movies like The Tingler and House on Haunted Hill and 13 Ghosts were events, mainly for young audiences who loved the interactivity, no matter how cheesy it might be. That’s something of an assumption. I can only really imagine what it was like to go to the movies during Castle’s height of success in the 1960s and what it meant to have another of his frightening features arrive in town. Watching a fictionalized version of him and his work in Joe Dante’s Matinee and hearing stories told in the documentary Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story can only go so far to make us understand the half of it. Movies comparably demanding a theatrical viewing are rare these days. And even while something like Gravity might come along every now and then, the fact is that seeing it on the big screen is better but not entirely necessary to get it. We’ve had to come to realize that we can’t all watch Lawrence of Arabia or 2001: A Space Odyssey or Playtime as they were intended to be seen, so the same is understood of anything new that comes along where critics implore you to make […]

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

When the calendar page turns to October, we Rejects have only one thought: horror. To celebrate this grandest and darkest of months, we’ll cover one excellent horror film a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 31 Films perfect for viewing on a dark, chilly, October night. If you, like us, love horror and Halloween, give us a Hell Yeah and keep coming every day this month for a new dose of adrenaline. Synopsis The sardonic millionaire Frederick Loren (Vincent Price) is throwing a party for his fourth wife Annabelle (Carol Ohmart), but this isn’t just any party. He’s invited five strangers into an ancient mansion with a troubled past, a ton of ghosts, and a few people bent on murder. Whoever survives the night gets $10,000 and their life to take home with them.

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Most cynical internet denizens will tell you that the resurgence of 3D is a mere gimmick, meant to drag more people to theaters and jack up ticket prices. (I am one of those cynical people.) Average movie-goers seem to be agreeing, with a resounding “I paid five bucks extra for this crap? I could have had nachos!” 3D has come and gone throughout film history, and each time we come to the same general conclusion: We kinda don’t like it. Until we have some kind of full immersion films (and would they even be films at that point?) we’ll probably never be satisfied. When 3D movies fell apart the first time, Hollywood just went back to doing what they had been doing before the 3D boom: Trying to make good movies. One man was not satisfied, though. William Castle, director and producer of ridiculous B-movies, had a vision. He wanted to make every single one of his films into a spectacle event (much to the annoyance of theaters that booked his movies) that drew the masses to the cinema for the experience. Here are six of his most notorious gimmicks.

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. If the end of the world is coming, this is probably how it’s going to happen: nuclear cockroaches who can start fires with their tiny minds. We can all thank William Castle for this 1975 gem that exposed the truth about the flesh-eating, no-eye-having beasts that crawled to the surface after an earthquake shook the planet to its core. It’s abject terror. Think you know what it is? Check out the trailer after the jump.

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Hello 80s, Goodbye 3D

With the clear dawn of a new decade, we say goodbye to a once-great innovation that’s been reduced to a scummy fad. R.I.P. 3D.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B


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