William Castle


Director
William Castle

About

Also Known As
William Schloss
Birth Place
New York City, New York, USA
Born
April 24, 1914
Died
May 31, 1977
Cause of Death
Heart Attack

Biography

Eccentric director of low-budget horror films, with a flair for self-promotion. William Castle's standout efforts include the B thriller, "When Strangers Marry" (1944), with Robert Mitchum in his first important role and the camp gem, "House on Haunted Hill" (1958). Like a latter-day P.T Barnum, upon whom he modeled himself, Castle lured audiences to his chillers by appearing in their tr...

Photos & Videos

13 Ghosts - Ghost Viewer
The Tingler - "Percepto" Pressbook Supplement
The Tingler - Lobby Card Set

Bibliography

"Step Right Up! I'm Gonna Scare the Pants Off America"
William Castle (1976)

Biography

Eccentric director of low-budget horror films, with a flair for self-promotion. William Castle's standout efforts include the B thriller, "When Strangers Marry" (1944), with Robert Mitchum in his first important role and the camp gem, "House on Haunted Hill" (1958). Like a latter-day P.T Barnum, upon whom he modeled himself, Castle lured audiences to his chillers by appearing in their trailers and psyching the audience up to be scared. Most of his films included outrageous gimmicks such as an insurance policy against death by fright for "Macabre" (1957), skeletons that whistled over the audience in a process called "Emergo" during critical scenes in "House on Haunted Hill" and his most audacious stunt, "Percepto," which literally shocked the audience by wiring selected seats in the theater with electricity and administering mild jolts during moments in "The Tingler" (1959). Castle is also noted as the producer of the psychological thriller "Rosemary's Baby" (1968).

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

Shanks (1974)
Director
The Spirit Is Willing (1967)
Director
The Busy Body (1967)
Director
Let's Kill Uncle (1966)
Director
I Saw What You Did (1965)
Director
Strait-Jacket (1964)
Director
The Night Walker (1964)
Director
The Old Dark House (1963)
Director
13 Frightened Girls (1963)
Director
Zotz! (1962)
Director
Mr. Sardonicus (1961)
Director
Homicidal (1961)
Director
13 Ghosts (1960)
Director
The Tingler (1959)
Director
Macabre (1958)
Director
House on Haunted Hill (1958)
Director
The Houston Story (1956)
Director
Uranium Boom (1956)
Director
Duel on the Mississippi (1955)
Director
Masterson of Kansas (1955)
Director
The Gun That Won the West (1955)
Director
New Orleans Uncensored (1955)
Director
The Americano (1955)
Director
Battle of Rogue River (1954)
Director
Jesse James vs. the Daltons (1954)
Director
Charge of the Lancers (1954)
Director
The Iron Glove (1954)
Director
The Law vs. Billy the Kid (1954)
Director
The Saracen Blade (1954)
Director
Drums of Tahiti (1954)
Director
Conquest of Cochise (1953)
Director
Serpent of the Nile (1953)
Director
Fort Ti (1953)
Director
Slaves of Babylon (1953)
Director
The Fat Man (1951)
Director
Cave of Outlaws (1951)
Director
Hollywood Story (1951)
Director
It's a Small World (1950)
Director
Johnny Stool Pigeon (1949)
Director
Undertow (1949)
Director
The Gentleman from Nowhere (1948)
Director
Texas, Brooklyn & Heaven (1948)
Director
The Crime Doctor's Gamble (1947)
Director
The Return of Rusty (1946)
Director
Just Before Dawn (1946)
Director
Mysterious Intruder (1946)
Director
Crime Doctor's Man Hunt (1946)
Director
The Crime Doctor's Warning (1945)
Director
Voice of the Whistler (1945)
Director
She's a Soldier Too (1944)
Director
When Strangers Marry (1944)
Director
The Whistler (1944)
Director
The Mark of the Whistler (1944)
Director
First Comes Courage (1943)
Dialogue Director
Klondike Kate (1943)
Director
The Chance of a Lifetime (1943)
Director
Music in My Heart (1940)
Dialogue Director

Cast (Feature Film)

The Day of the Locust (1975)
Shampoo (1975)
Producer Sid Roth
The Sex Symbol (1974)
Shanks (1974)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Man at telephone booth
Homicidal (1961)
Narrator
Mr. Sardonicus (1961)
Narrator
He Stayed for Breakfast (1940)
Policeman
The Lady in Question (1940)
Angry juror #2
The Man Who Cried Wolf (1937)
Customer at box office
When Love Is Young (1937)
Reporter
It Could Happen to You (1937)
Dignified reporter

Writer (Feature Film)

Bug (1975)
Screenplay
It's a Small World (1950)
Original Screenplay
Voice of the Whistler (1945)
Screenwriter
North to the Klondike (1942)
Based on a Story by

Producer (Feature Film)

Bug (1975)
Producer
Shanks (1974)
Executive Producer
Riot (1969)
Producer
Project X (1968)
Producer
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Producer
The Busy Body (1967)
Producer
The Spirit Is Willing (1967)
Producer
Let's Kill Uncle (1966)
Producer
I Saw What You Did (1965)
Producer
The Night Walker (1964)
Producer
Strait-Jacket (1964)
Producer
The Old Dark House (1963)
Producer
13 Frightened Girls (1963)
Producer
Zotz! (1962)
Producer
Homicidal (1961)
Producer
Mr. Sardonicus (1961)
Producer
13 Ghosts (1960)
Producer
The Tingler (1959)
Producer
Macabre (1958)
Producer
House on Haunted Hill (1958)
Producer
The Lady from Shanghai (1948)
Associate Producer

Production Companies (Feature Film)

Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Company
Project X (1968)
Company
The Spirit Is Willing (1967)
Company
Let's Kill Uncle (1966)
Company
I Saw What You Did (1965)
Company
Strait-Jacket (1964)
Company
House on Haunted Hill (1958)
Company
Macabre (1958)
Company
It's a Small World (1950)
Company

Life Events

1929

Broadway acting debut at age 15

1932

Directed Bela Lugosi in a Broadway production of "Dracula"

1932

Worked as director and actor on Broadway and in summer stock

1937

Film acting debut

1939

Brought to Hollywood by Harry Cohn; worked for Columbia (1943-1963)

1943

Film directing debut with the short, "Mr. Smug"

1943

Directed first feature film, "The Chance of a Lifetime"

1948

First film as producer (co-associate with Richard Wilson), Orson Welles' "The Lady from Shanghai"

1955

Formed own production company

1968

Produced "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Riot"

1972

Produced TV series, "Circle of Fear"

1975

Played a producer in the film, "Shampoo" and a director in "The Day of the Locust"

Photo Collections

13 Ghosts - Ghost Viewer
Here is the ghost viewer handed out to audience members during theater showings of 13 Ghosts (1960), produced and directed by William Castle.
The Tingler - "Percepto" Pressbook Supplement
Here is a supplement to the pressbook for The Tingler (1959), produced by William Castle. This manual explains for theater owners the hardware and installation of PERCEPTO, the gimmick that Castle used to give a vibrating "tingle" to theater seats during showings of the film.
The Tingler - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from The Tingler (1959). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Let's Kill Uncle - Behind-the-Scenes Photo
Here is a photo taken behind the scenes during production of Universal Pictures' Let's Kill Uncle (1966), starring Pat Cardi and Mary Badham and produced and directed by William Castle.
The Houston Story - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from Columbia Pictures' The Houston Story (1955), starring Gene Barry. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
13 Ghosts - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for 13 Ghosts (1960), produced and directed by William Castle. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Mr. Sardonicus - Lobby Card
Here is a Lobby Card from Columbia Pictures' Mr. Sardonicus (1961), produced by William Castle. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Homicidal - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Homicidal (1961), produced and directed by William Castle. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Masterson Of Kansas (1954) - No Peace In Dodge City Dense and informative (not-credited) narration from the story and screenplay by the prolific Douglas Heyes, introducing George Montgomery in the title role (Donald Murphy as pal Virgil Earp) and James Griffith locked-in as Doc Holliday, provoked by Gregg Martell, in the Columbia Technicolor Wester Masterson Of Kansas, 1954, directed by William Castle.
Masterson Of Kansas (1954) - Hard, Fast Or Dead Exiting court in Dodge City, title character George Montgomery hears from good-guy rancher Merrick (John Maxwell), friend to the local Indians who’s just been railroaded for murder, who’s taken to jail by Wyatt Earp (Bruce Cowling), then clashes with Merrick’s daughter Amy (Nancy Gates), in Masterson Of Kansas, 1954.
Masterson Of Kansas (1954) - The Laws Of The White Man More rapid plot progress, George Montgomery as the title-role sheriff of Dodge City confronts Jay Silverheels as neighboring chief Yellow Hawk, reluctant to hand over falsely-accused rancher and “Peacemaker” Merrick (John Maxwell), whose schoolteacher daughter Amy (Nancy Gates) offers support in jail, early in Masterson Of Kansas, 1954.
Masterson Of Kansas (1954) - I'm Curiously Unmoved Title character George Montgomery, seeking info about villain Bennett, has made momentary peace with ailing gambler and gunfighter Doc Holliday (James Griffith), to whom Bennett owes big money, aiming to clear framed rancher Merrick, whose dazzling daughter (Nancy Gates) soon appears, hoping to prevent his hanging, in Masterson Of Kansas, 1954.
Strait-Jacket (1964) - She's Dying To Meet You After an edgy return to family after serving 20-years, axe-murderess Lucy (Joan Crawford), with roast beef, brother and wife (Leif Erickson, Rochelle Hudson) and daughter Carol (Diane Baker), who witnessed her crime, getting ready to meet beau Michael (John Anthony Hayes), early in William Castle’s Strait-Jacket, 1964.
House On Haunted Hill (1958) - Food And Drink And Ghosts Leave it to horror impresario William Castle to start with nothing, then screams, then Elisha Cook and Vincent Price introducing the scenario, in House On Haunted Hill, 1958, shot at the Frank Lloyd Wright Ennis House in L-A and featuring Castle's low-rent "Emergo" in-theater gimmick.
House On Haunted Hill (1958) - Just Leaves The Bones Pritchard (Elisha Cook) leads the tour of his haunted family home where spooky millionaire Loren (Vincent Price) is paying guests (Alan Marshal, Julie Mitchum, Richard Long, Carolyn Craig) $10,000 each to spend the night, in horror entrepreneur William Castle's House On Haunted Hill, 1958.
Old Dark House, The (1963) - You're Very Brave To Come American car salesman Tom (Poston), let in through the trap-door after the car he delivered was crushed by statues, with Potiphar (Mervyn Johns) who updates him on his customer Casper (Peter Bull) before Cecily (Janette Scott) appears, in William Castle's The Old Dark House, 1963
Old Dark House, The (1963) - The Morgan The Pirate? The Femms (Robert Morley as Roderick, Janette Scott as Cecily, Fenella Fielding as Morgana, Joyce Grenfell as Agatha) explain to American Tom (Poston) that they don't believe he's been sent to their English home by accident, in William Castle's re-make The Old Dark House, 1963.
When Strangers Marry (a.k.a. Betrayed) -- (1944) - Wealthy Philadelphian Strangled Terrific scene by director William Castle, hotel folks confer on the murder we saw in the opening, then we join anxious Millie (Kim Hunter), alone in her New York room, surprised she hasn’t heard from her new husband, though he instructed her to come there, in When Strangers Marry, a.k.a. Betrayed, 1944.
When Strangers Marry (a.k.a. Betrayed) -- (1944) - I Use That Name Sometimes Kim Hunter as Millie finally finds her new husband she’s come to New York to meet, turns out he’s Dean Jagger as Paul, and she’s followed secret instructions to reach him, and he might be a murderer, and the photo in the portrait happens to be director William Castle, in When Strangers Marry, a.k.a. Betrayed, 1944.
When Strangers Marry (a.k.a. Betrayed) -- (1944) - You Can't Run Away From Yourself There’s still no word from the mysterious new husband of Millie (Kim Hunter), who by now is glad she ran into her ex-boyfriend Fred (Robert Mitchum) from Ohio at her New York hotel, then a call comes, and we again see the hat worn by the maybe-murderer, William Castle directing, in When Strangers Marry, a.k.a. Betrayed, 1944.

Trailer

Strait-Jacket - (Original Trailer) It's been 20 years since Lucy Harbin (Joan Crawford) murdered her husband with an axe. Is she through cutting her family down to size? Get the Strait-Jacket (1964).
Tingler, The - (Original Trailer) SCREAM! Scream for your lives! It's The Tingler (1959) starring Vincent Price.
Thirteen Frightened Girls - (Original Trailer) A diplomat's daughter gets mixed up in international intrigue and murder in William Castle's Thirteen Frightened Girls (1963)
13 Ghosts - (Original Trailer) A family inherits a house haunted by 13 ghosts and a living killer in William Castle's 13 Ghosts (1960).
Mr. Sardonicus - (Original Trailer) A man whose face is frozen in a horrible smile forces a doctor to treat him in William Castle's Mr. Sardonicus (1961).
Rosemary's Baby - (Original Trailer) A young woman (Mia Farrow) fears the baby she's carrying is the son of Satan in Rosemary's Baby (1968), directed by Roman Polanski and based on the bestseller by Ira Levin.
Homicidal - (Teaser Trailer) A nurse and her husband conspire to collect a rich inheritance in William Castle's Homicidal (1961).
House On Haunted Hill, The - (Original Trailer) The owner of a haunted mansion (Vincent Price) offers $10,000 to anyone who'll spend an entire night in The House On Haunted Hill (1959).
Shampoo -- (Original Trailer) Warren Beatty plays a Hollywood hairdresser who does clients as well as hairdos during the late 1960's in Shampoo, 1975, with Julie Christie and Lee Grant in an Academy Award-winning role.

Promo

Family

Terry Castle
Daughter
Producer.

Bibliography

"Step Right Up! I'm Gonna Scare the Pants Off America"
William Castle (1976)