There never was a movie mogul like William Castle. "The poor man's Alfred Hitchcock" wasn't so much a gifted director as a brilliant showman, a horror huckster of the first order who made his cheesy B-movies "events" by finding gimmicks and milking them for all they were worth.
Jeffrey Schwarz's Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story, a loving and playful tribute to the man who wired select theater seats to give people a jolt at certain moments in The Tingler, who floated skeletons suspended on wires above the crowd, who took out life insurance policies from Lloyd's of London against people who "might drop dead of fright" at Macabre.
John Waters, Joe Dante, John Badham, Roger Corman and John Landis are among the filmmakers, fans and former colleagues who pay amused tribute to Castle, an impresario who spent his career on the B-list and longed to be on that elusive A-list, making prestige pictures.
You'll laugh at the wacky promotions, the nurses placed in theaters to take care of "plants" who fainted at showings of his movies, at the cheerful innocence, the chutzpah and sheer ballyhoo of it all.
Screening at: Saturday, March 29, 9 p.m.–10:40 p.m. at Regal; Thursday, April 3, 4 p.m.–6 p.m. at EnzianCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun