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William Castle Blog - Part 3

Press Release for “From the Grave: The Prayer”

Hello, Mr. Castle-

Such a please to continue working with you and I’m pleased to let you know we’ve assembled your press release announcement for your book reading/signing in Los Angeles next month at Stories Books & Café.

It’s the perfect place for the blood-making demonstration that your daughter Terry will share with the world ;).

Love the cape!



concept by http://www.kleeproductions.com

For Immediate Release:

Stories Books & Café Presents
The Return of the Late Legendary Horror Filmmaker William Castle
With a Reading From His New Novel
From the Grave: The Prayer
By His Own Flesh and Blood, Terry Castle
Thursday, October 27, 2011

All Ages Welcome!
Halloween Tricks & Treats Including
Demonstration of Castle Family Secret Recipe for Blood
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.  To celebrate, there will be a special Los Angeles Halloween event where his own flesh and blood, daughter Terry Castle, will read from and sign copies of the book at Stories Books & Café in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles on Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 7:30 pm (1716 West Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026; 213-413-3733; http://www.storiesla.com).  All ages are welcome!  Expect Halloween tricks and treats including a fake blood making demonstration by Terry as she reveals the secret family recipe.  From the Grave: The Prayer will be released on October 2, 2011 through the recently resurrected William Castle Productions. For more information please visit http://williamcastle.com.

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).  “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 Lloyds 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 Family Matters 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.”

William Castle surround by kids from The William Castle Fan Club
photo courtesy Willam Castle Productions


New promotion posted today at Fangoria.com:

“On October 2, 2011, the world will once more feel the clammy, carnival grip of William Castle’s work when “he” releases his first book, FROM THE GRAVE: THE PRAYER, a terrifying tale geared—as were the original Castle horror films—to young adults looking for bone-chilling, yet campy, shocks. FANGORIA is teaming up with Castle and giving our readers the chance to take a page out of THE TINGLER’s wild ad campaign and “Scream for Your Life!” And three lucky winners will receive a signed copy of the book plus…a classic piece of vintage memorabilia from the Castle vaults!

In the history of horror cinema, one name stands alone. A kind of P.T. Barnum of vintage big-screen shock, producer/writer/director and weird movie visionary William Castle stumbled upon a winning formula when, with his 1958 chiller MACABRE, he arranged for theater owners to offer more lily-livered pundits a life insurance policy insuring moviegoers against death during the running time, authentically certified by Lloyd’s of London. The marketing gimmick took off, and more stunts followed in such Castle films as THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, HOMICIDAL, THE TINGLER (check out Castle’s introduction to that film below) and many more. Castle passed away in 1977 at the age of 63, but, as all Fangorians know, true masters of horror never die. They always come back…

Simply pick up your iPhones, webcams or any other video recording device and film yourself doing your best Hollywood horror-style scream—the louder and more dramatic the better—and send an MPEG to chris@fangoria.com . We’ll send the video straight to the gloriously undead William Castle and his charming (although still rather bloodthirsty) daughter, Terry Castle, who will watch ’em and judge ’em. We’ll then start posting the best of them online at Fangoria.com.

Closer to the release of THE PRAYER, the Castles will pick their three favorite screams and the winners will receive a signed copy of the book plus…a classic piece of vintage memorabilia from the Castle vaults! So polish your pipes, stick your mug in front of some sort of lens and give William Castle your best full-throttle scream! And remember: “A scream at the right time might save your life!”

And win you some cool junk!”

Happy screaming–


French Authorities Wrapping Up Investigation Soon

I am delighted to report that the French authorities have made substantial progress with their investigation into the strange events that I have written about in FROM THE GRAVE: The Prayer. It now appears that the inquiry will be wrapped up in a matter of weeks, at which point in time the legal hold will be released.  I’ll update you again once my lawyers have more information.


The French Authorities Place William Castle under Temporary Hold

I am saddened and disappointed. I just received a letter from the attorney for my estate.

“The French authorities have received word of the soon-to-be published manuscript FROM THE GRAVE: The Prayer. In view of the fact that many of the events take place under French jurisdiction, the authorities have placed the work under a temporary hold while they complete their investigation of the horrific events described therein. They will require an attestation de conformité aux règles de sécurité which we hope to obtain as quickly as possible. ”

Thank Goodness for those of you who ordered your copy of “From the Grave: The Prayer.” You will all receive your copy.  I suppose the launch date for the novel will have to be pushed back until I can get this mess straightened out.


William Castle’s Graveyard: Introducing “FROM THE GRAVE: THE PRAYER!”

ONLY  A FEW COPIES LEFT.  These are collectibles.  A pre-sale offer! The first 100 hot off the press, signed (by my own flesh and blood), sealed and delivered.

It has been over a year that I have been back “From the Grave” and I am finally ready to tell you the whole story.  It is a true story, as true a story as any dead man could write.  And a tale that begins where it should have ended.  I owe so much to Aleck, Edgar, Sarah and Luca.  You will finally get to know them, as I have.  And the dark Saint–she put it all in motion.  I can’t wait for you to read all about our little adventure.  It is sure to cause you some sleepless nights.  But it wouldn’t be a William Castle tale if it wasn’t a horror story.

It is a classic tale of terror, suspense and intrigue set in southern France. I hope you find it thrilling and clever, macabre and chilling, and reminds you of my old films.

This Graveyard Party was set up to allow 100 lucky ghost lovers to own the first copies ever in print of my novel written “From the Grave.”

They will receive an autographed copy signed by my own flesh-and-blood and verified by the attorney for the Estate of William Castle.  Just go to the right of this page and click to own this Collectible Edition.

And don’t forget to sign your indemnification clause inside the novel. If not, I’ll know where to find you.


Saint Sarah and the House on Haunted Hill

The dark Saint had a lot to say.  I knew she would.  I had heard about her over the years.  And I was always a believer.  I knew before I died that I must meet the venerated Saint of the Gypsies.  She had uncanny abilities!

I was visiting my home in Gordes, France–the one I had bought in 1959.

When I had first stumbled upon the house while driving with my wife through southern France, I knew I had to own it!  It was perfect.  A dream come true.  From the curb, it truly looked haunted.

My wife thought I was crazy.  She often did.  “Why would you want to buy that house?” she asked. “It looks haunted.”

“Precisely,” came my reply.  I can make millions of skeletons keys and give them away at my next movie.  Then someone will own a haunted house.

Well, I bought the house and was enjoying visiting Provence a week before I died.  You see the house was not far from where the dark Saint was housed.  She rested in an old church in a small seaside town called Les-Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in the Camargue.

I knew I wanted to leave a prayer by her feet.  I knew exactly what I wanted to say.

On May 24, 1977 I had my driver take me to see her.  And this is where my story begins.  Or should I say, ends.

It took thirty-four years to figure out that my prayer had been answered.  It had just been terribly misconstrued.

I can’t wait to share the whole story with you.  I will soon.  Very soon indeed.


The Werewolf and The Eclipse

I will keep this post short and sweet.  I have but one urgent question and tonight I could possibly get my answer.

You see, we will have a lunar eclipse this evening.  What happens to a werewolf when the earth’s shadow completely hides the moon?

Does he pause and wait for the moon to reappear?  Does he turn back into a human only to transform again?

What do you think?

In any event you can all watch this event live at http://skywatchersindia.wordpress.com/


An Artist and A Poet…

Thank you Alexander Kautz for your splendid art work.  You make me smile.  I am humbled and delighted.

And Mr. Rich Orth.  Your poetry continues to delight me.

The two together is fetching.  Don’t you think?

You are cordially invited

To the House on Haunted Hill

Hold tight to your seats

Await the thrills

Can you just spend the night

How hard can it be

Not such a fright

That you screamingly flee

An easy 10,000 bucks

Yours for the taking

A little tale of terror

Of William Castle’s making

Another priceless performance

by Vincent

Frank Lloyd Wright’s structure


And every time the skeleton

rises from the vat

Several in the audience jump up

to leave

So come have some cocktails

Remember doors lock come midnight

And when all seems said and done

The ghosts will come for you

That begins the true fun……………

May 31, 2011

It’s been a year.  One entire year.  A wonderful, if not confusing year.  You see, my friends, I returned “From the Grave!” one year ago today.

Why this date you might ask? Well sadly, this is the day I died 34 years ago. At my home in Beverly Hills, California, surrounded by my family.  The family I adored.

Being back has been an amazing adventure.  Through the strangers, Aleck, Edgar, Sarah and Luca, I’ve gained insight into your world.  You see, I have come to know these kids in a strange and enchanting way.  But I’ll explain more about this later.

The strangers allowed me to gain insight into your world, your technology, your new ways.  I have had a blast!  I am delighted to see that I am still remembered, even loved.  It touches me deeply.

But it’s the girl with the tattoo who popped up on my Facebook page one October day that took my breath away.

She’s young.  Way too young to remember me.  But there she was, with a picture of me on her ankle.  Her soft flesh had my logo inked into her skin.  It stunned me.  Floored me. Surprised me.  But most of all, it delighted me.

Time passed.

And then this girl with the tattoo took me into her world.  I don’t know if she was afraid or not.  I never asked.  She believed in me. And instantly I believed in her. My image on her ankle no doubt caused great pain, but also, the ink from my image made its way into her bloodstream.  She is connected to me now.

Come to pass that the girl with the tattoo has a name.  Her name is Amy Searles, and she works with a wonderful company in Hollywood called TrailerPark.  We were destined for a relationship.

So today, on the day of my death and the day I came back to you, one year ago … I am overjoyed to announce that Trailer Park Publishing will be releasing a series of “Living Screenplays.” We shall begin with “House on Haunted Hill.”

These are my working scripts with my handwriting scribbled all over them and if you are a true believer, you’ll see plumes of my cigar’s smoke wafting over the pages. More details will avail themselves as we approach Comic-Con. And yes, there will be hardcopy editions.I don’t want to give too much away.  But let me just say, some wonderful directors of your day will be involved in presenting this latest incarnation of my work.

And that’s not all. You will finally get to meet Aleck, Edgar, Sarah and Luca in my latest novel, “From the Grave! The Prayer,” and begin to understand my entire journey back to your world.

Thank you loyal fans for allowing me back into your beating hearts and into your darkest dreams.


For Vincent’s 100th Birthday Lets Cook Up Something Special.

Along with being an amazing actor, an elegant man, Vincent Price was a wonderful Cook.  I thought what better way to celebrate Vinnie’s birthday than getting his fans to cook up one of his favorite recipes.  This one was taken from his cookbook, “A Treasury of Great Recipes.”  He presented me with this book in 1965.  It was written with his wife, Mary.

One can almost hear his voice as he describe this dish.

Welsh Rabbit

serves 4

“There has been a tremendous amount of argument about whether this dish is called “rarebit” or “rabbit”.  We go along with those students of the language who say that originally it was a wry joke, like Scotch woodcock.  The poor Welshman’s rabbit was only a piece of toast under cheese sauce and the poor Scotsman woodcock was also mere toast under an egg sauce. Some literal-minded fellow must have said, ‘Shucks, that ain’t no rabbit, but it’s a” rare bit,” and a new word and the argument were born.  This is a good dish whatever you want to call it, only what ever you call it, please make it with beer instead of with milk.

1. Remove crusts from: 4 thick slices bread. Toast and keep warm.

2. In a double boiler, over very low hear, melt: 3 tablespoons butter. Add: 1/2 pound grated cheddar cheese.

3. Stir with a wooden spoon and add, a little at a time: 1 cup beer or stout that is at room temperature or warmer.  Stir continually till smooth.

4. Add: 2 beaten egg yolks. Keep stirring and do not let the rabbit boil or simmer or it will “string” and get lumpy.

5. Season with: 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard dissolved in 2 teaspoons beer or stout, a few grains cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce.


When rabbit is warm and smooth, pour at once over slices of toast, each on its own plate.  If you have kept stirring steadily over low heat the rabbit will be satin smooth and creamy.”

Bon Appetite Mr. Price