For Immediate Release: October 5, 2011
The Recently Resurrected William Castle Productions Presents
House on Haunted Hill:A William Castle Annotated Screamplay
Complete with Emerg-O!
To Be Released on October 31, 2011
LOS ANGELES, CA – Due out on October 31, 2011, William Castle Productions proudly presents House on Haunted Hill: A William Castle Annotated Screamplay. The book features legendary horror filmmaker William Castle’s authentic working script from his 1959 classic thriller with original formatting and Castle’s own hand-written notes. This collector’s item even comes with a new twist on Castle’s famous theater gimmick, Emerg-O. The 248-page book includes a foreword by acclaimed director Joe Dante (Gremlins, The Howling, Matinee), hailing the book as “an important artifact.” It also includes an introduction by William’s daughter, Terry Castle, who shares her personal thoughts on this seminal piece of film history. A critical perspective of the film by writer and illustrator Charlie Largent is also included as well as a special welcome from William Castle himself. The Screamplay will be available in print for $24.99 via Amazon and select retailers through the recently resurrected William Castle Productions (ISBN-13: 978-0578092928). For more information please visit http://williamcastle.com/blog/william-castle-productions.
“It’s not that often that you find a script from this period surviving with annotations,” writes Joe Dante in the introduction, “And that’s what makes reading this script such a pleasant surprise; you can actually imagine what it was like to be there, reading the script on the set with the actors, and coming up with artistic decisions on the spot.”
House on Haunted Hill – the movie –
House on Haunted Hill remains a classic chiller to this day. Produced and directed by William Castle and written by Robb White, the shocker is beloved not only for Castle’s suspense-filled direction but what came to be known as “The Gimmick,” carnival sideshow trickery that both scared and delighted the audience. The original film stars the inimitable Vincent Price and features the classic gimmick Emerg-O – an inflatable glow in the dark skeleton attached to a wire that floated over the heads of the uproarious audience during the final moments of some showings of the film to parallel the action on the screen.
In the film, eccentric millionaire playboy Fredrick Loren (Price) and his fourth wife Annabelle have invited five strangers to a “party” at the House on Haunted Hill, a spooky old mansion with a murder-laden history. Whoever stays in the house for one night will earn ten thousand dollars each. Loren even provides loaded guns as party favors. As the night progresses, the guests are trapped inside the foreboding house with ghosts, murderers, and other terrors.
House on Haunted Hill: A William Castle Annotated Screamplay –
The Screamplay features the House on Haunted Hill script’s original formatting, maintaining the integrity of the authentic screenplay replete with Castle’s own hand-written notes. In addition, the book cover imitates the leather-bound binders that Castle used for every movie. William Castle Productions, in keeping with the spirit of “The Gimmick,” presents this book with Emerg-O – simply flip through the pages and scare yourself silly!
The annotated script “pulls back the curtain on the film,” writes Charlie Largent on the artifact, “Castle’s copious notes shine a light on both his own working methods as the director and Robb White’s as the screenwriter … It’s the closest thing we’ll ever have to an alternate director’s cut of this seminal spookfest.”
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 making and viewing 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.
Robb White –
Born in the Philippines, Robb White was a preacher’s son who held a wide variety of jobs before landing in the Navy during World War II. He became a prominent Hollywood scriptwriter when he teamed up with William Castle on House on Haunted Hill, Thirteen Ghosts, Homicidal, Macabre and The Tingler from 1958 to 1961. In addition to screenplays, he also wrote television scripts and dozens of novels, mostly adventure stories aimed at younger readers. Notable among the novels he prolifically penned are The Lion’s Paw (1946), Deathwatch (1972), Up Periscope (1956), Flight Deck (1961), Torpedo Run (1962), and The Survivor (1964).
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!). 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 (WCP) has been dedicated to scaring audiences 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 the recently released From The Grave: The Prayer (2011), William Castle Productions will soon release another new book, FearMaker: Family Matters written by Terry Castle. Additional new film, television, theater, and DVD projects are also currently in the works.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
House on Haunted Hill: A William Castle Annotated Screamplay
From William Castle, Screenplay by Robb White
Publisher: William Castle Productions
October 31, 2011
Category: Performing Arts / Screenplays
paperback • 248 pages • $24.99
8.5″ x 11″ (21.59 x 27.94 cm)
Cover Art by Charlie Largent