It’s difficult to watch Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story without a smile. A documentary traversing the career of a legendary producer and renowned architect of moviegoing gimmicks, the feature takes viewers back to premium era of theatrical exhibition, where a cigar-chomping man could make a splash dreaming up ways to deceive his audience, creating a sensation everywhere he went. Though lacking a truly in-depth analysis of Castle’s private life, the doc achieves a distinct tone of nostalgia, goosed by interviews from an impressive assortment of admirers and employees, generating an affectionate atmosphere befitting a man who loved to entertain.
When Ben and Kate Powell (Sid Caesar and Vera Miles) rent a haunted New England house by the sea, their son Steve (Barry Gordon) gets blamed for the destruction caused by three unruly ghosts. Another of ‘exploitation king’ William Castle’s supernatural films, this one is studded with familiar character actors including Harvey Lembeck, Mary Wickes, John McGiver, Doodles Weaver, Jesse White and John (“Gomez Addams”) Astin.
A 12-year-old orphan (Pat Cardi) who has just inherited a fortune is trapped on an island with his uncle (Nigel Green), a former British intelligence commander who intends to kill him. A young girl (Mary Badham) is the boy’s only ally against the sarcastic uncle, who uses hypnotism, a pool of sharks, fire, and poisonous mushrooms as weapons.
When two teenagers make prank phone calls to strangers, they become the target for terror when they whisper “I Saw What You Did, And I Know Who You Are!” to psychopath Steve Marek (John Ireland) who has just murdered his wife. But somebody else knows of the terrible crime that was committed that night, the killer’s desperately amorous neighbour Amy Nelson (Joan Crawford).
A wealthy woman is terrorized by recurring dreams regarding her jealous, blind husband who supposedly burned to death in a recent fire. She tries to convince her attorney that the nightmares are real.
Lucy Harbin has been in an asylum for 20 years after axing her husband and his mistress during a crime of passion, witnessed by her young daughter, Carol. While trying to renew ties with Carol, who is now a young woman about to be married, heads begin to roll again. Is Lucy repeating her past?
An American who sells cars in England receives a mysterious invitation from an old, excentric millionaire to visit his house in which he lives with his twin brother.
TV actor Tom Poston stars as Prof. Jonathan Jones in this early feature-film appearance, a standard comedy-fantasy oriented to the youngsters. The good professor has come into possession of “zotz,” a coin that has three magical properties. It can either cause intense pain if its bearer points an accusing finger at an intended victim or it can make things move in slow-motion, with the right command. If the accusatory finger and the command are used simultaneously, the victim dies. Naturally, just about everyone wants this coin. The hapless professor is soon involved in problems at school, at the Pentagon, and worse yet, with a group of commie agents who have their own designs on the coin.
A search for a winning lottery ticket in his dead father’s grave causes Sardonicus’ face to freeze in a horrible grimace, until he forces a doctor to treat his affliction–with even more grotesque results! The audience gets an opportunity to vote–via the “Punishment Poll”–for the penalty Sardonicus must pay for his deeds…
The story centers around a murderous scheme to collect a rich inheritance. The object of murder is Miriam Webster, who is to share in the inheritance with her half brother Warren, who lives with his childhood guardian Helga in the mansion where Warren and Mariam grew up. Confined to a wheelchair after recently suffering a stroke, Helga is cared for by her nurse Emily, a strange young woman who has formed a close bond with Warren.
Reclusive Dr. Zorba has died and left his eerie mansion to his penniless nephew Cyrus Zorba and his family. Along with the house, the Zorba family has also inherited the occultist’s collection of 12 ghosts, who can only be seen through Zorba’s special goggles. The family members, their lives at risk upon the discovery that Dr. Zorba’s fortune lies hidden somewhere in the house, receive aid from unexpected quarters as the threat to their lives is revealed.
After much hard work, a pathologist discovers and captures a creature that lives in every vertebrate and grows when fear grips its host. “Scream for your lives!”
Five diverse people are invited to a ‘haunted house’ party. They are offered $10,000 each by an eccentric millionaire and his wife to spend the night in a house with a murderous past.
A small-town doctor (William Prince) gets caught up in a revenge plot when his small daughter is kidnapped and buried alive as he is given a few short hours to find her before she suffocates. To cover the risk of a heart attack while viewing the film, Producer-Director William Castle provided each member of the audience with an official certificate issued by Lloyds of London to insure them for $1,000 against death by fright. The gimmick worked and Castle was on his way to movie exploitation stardom!