• For Immediate Release:                                                                                                                                            August 4, 2011

    “Master of the Macabre” William Castle (1914-1977) Is Back!
    The Legendary Horror Filmmaker Has Penned a Chilling Young Adult Novel
    From The Grave: The Prayer
    To Be Released This Halloween – October 2011
    By The Recently Resurrected William Castle Productions

    LOS ANGELES, CA – 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 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.  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).  Castle’s new book will be available in print and eBook versions ($15.99 and $9.99 respectively) via Amazon, Kindle, NOOK, and iBooks through the recently resurrected William Castle Productions (ISBN 978-0615507576 and eBook ISBN 978-1-4507-8404-7).

    William Castle - Photo Credit: Leland Cheong, Honolulu Advertiser

    William Castle - Photo Credit: Leland Cheong, Honolulu Advertiser

    “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 Lloyd’s 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.”

    Castle’s marketing exploits are well documented.  View these two recent articles to learn more (including video clips): “Top 10 William Castle Film Gimmicks” and Film School Reject’s “6 (non 3D) Movie Gimmicks From the Warped Mind of William Castle.”

    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.

    William Castle
    Born in New York City in 1914, William Castle made horror films in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s and lived his life scaring the living daylights out of people with the numerous horror films he produced and/or directed.  Macabre (1958), House on Haunted Hill (1959), The Tingler (1959), 13 Ghosts (1960), Mr. Sardonicus (1961), Homicidal (1961), Straight Jacket (1964), and Rosemary’s Baby (1968) are a few of his classic credits, the second and third films starring Vincent Price in career-defining roles. In addition to directing and producing, he also made many appearances in films (his own and others) such as Shampoo (1975) and The Day of the Locust (1975).  He also appeared in a non-speaking part in Rosemary’s Baby as the grey-haired man lurking outside the phone booth while Mia Farrow attempts to get in touch with her obstetrician.

    Castle is perhaps best known, however, for the marketing strategies he developed to get his fans into theaters. In addition to the tingled butts of movie-goers at The Tingler screenings and insuring moviegoers against death by fright for Macabre, he also created “Illusion-O” a ghost viewer/ghost remover for 13 Ghosts, a “Punishment Poll” for Mr. Sardonicus, and Homicidal audiences were introduced to “Fright Breaks” and the “Coward’s Corner.”  He also introduced audiences to new film techniques such as “Percept-O” and “Emerg-O.”

    At 15, he began his career on Broadway, securing his first acting role by passing himself off as Samuel Goldwyn’s nephew.  He began his directing career at the age of 18 with a stage production of Dracula before graduating to work as an assistant to director Orson Welles, doing much of the second unit location work for Welles’ noir classic, The Lady from Shanghai (1947). John Goodman’s character in Matinee (1993) was based on Castle. His 1976 autobiography, Step Right Up, I’m Gonna Scare the Pants Off America, was reprinted in 1991 with a foreword by John Waters, who eulogized Castle thusly, “Without a doubt, the greatest showman of our time was William Castle.  King of the Gimmicks, William Castle was my idol.  His films made me want to make films.  I’m jealous of his work.  In fact, I wish I were William Castle.” Castle died of a heart attack in Los Angeles on May 31, 1977.

    Terry Castle
    Terry Castle, the real life daughter of cult filmmaker William Castle, grew up in Los Angeles with a dad who made a living scaring the wits out of moviegoers everywhere. Although he was internationally famous, to her he was always just dad, though a larger than life one at that.  While she was growing up in the 1960s her father taught her interesting life skills such as the best recipe for fake blood, the proper way to hold an ax, and how to act out the most terrifying of ghost stories. After working as a writer and producer for years for CNN, Travel Channel, and Nickelodeon/MTV-Networks, she worked with Dark Castle Entertainment (Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis’ production company named after her father).  At Dark Castle she co-produced and consulted on the remakes of two William Castle films to make the plots even more frightening: House on Haunted Hill (1999) and Thir13en Ghosts (2001). Her soon to be released book, FearMaker: Family Matters, is an homage to her father (he’s a ghost writer on it actually!). Much of what lies within the pages of both The Prayer and Nightmare in Beverly Hills is based on real life occurrences shared by the two Castles.  Horror is in her blood, as she carries on her father’s wicked tradition of scaring innocent souls everywhere.

    William Castle Productions
    Since the 1950s, William Castle Productions has been dedicated to scaring America with dozens of film and television releases.  The production company is best known for films Rosemary’s Baby (1968), House on Haunted Hill (1959), and The Tingler (1959). Dormant for a number of years after Castle’s death in 1977, the production company has been re-animated in recent years by the ghost of William Castle in collaboration with his daughter Terry Castle.  In addition to From the Grave: The Prayer, William Castle Productions will soon release another new book, FearMaker: Family Matters written by Terry and William Castle.  Additional new film, television, theater, and DVD projects are also currently in the works.

    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 through his Facebook page, Twitter (@billcastle), and his personal blog http://williamcastle.com, from the grave.

    “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.”

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    For more information, a copy of the book, photos, or to arrange an interview, please contact Green Galactic’s Lynn Tejada (née Hasty) at 213-840-1201 and lynn@greengalactic.com.


    Posted on August 5th, 2011 lynn-hasty No comments

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