From The Grave: The Prayer (Volume 1) Review

William Castle. That name should for most daily visitors of this site immediately conjure up late night TV viewings of cult classic films such as The Tingler, House on Haunted Hill, 13 Ghosts, and Mr. Sardonicus to name a few. William Castle himself was known just as well as his films thanks to intriguing gimmicks for his flicks. Like handing out $1,000 life insurance policies from Lloyd’s of London in case the customer were to die of fright while watching his 1958 film, Macabre. Of course having a hearse parked in front of your theater and nurses stationed in the lobby helped cause some uneasy feelings I am sure.

Joe Dante (Gremlins) gave a loving tribute to William Castle in his film Matinee, with John Goodman (Fallen) playing a showman named Lawrence Woolsey promoting his Sci-Fi Horror flick, Mant, during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

So a couple of weeks back I received an odd e-mail…from our friends over at Green Galactic asking if I would interested in reviewing a new book, a Young Adult horror tale that was written by William Castle. Now I was under the impression that the legendary Mr. Castle had passed on to his rewards back in 1977. So as a lark I replied back to the e-mail and almost immediately was sent this “photo”!

That obviously made me sit up straight and take notice…and just a day later the UPS man…who now that I think about it looked very much like William Castle dropped a package at my door. Opening it very quickly I was greeted with the cover to “From the Grave: The Prayer”.

This book among other things was the story of how the legendary director had returned from the grave (It’s plainly stated that everything in the book is true), I thought about it for a moment and realized that if anyone could come back and share more of the joy of horror it had to be either Vincent Price or William Castle!

The story itself takes place during the annual celebration of the Gypsies in the ancient village of Les-Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. William Castle it would seem visited there himself to have his personal wish granted by the patron saint of the Gypsies, Saint Sarah. But…it turns out Sarah is something of a Dark Saint and Mr. Castle learns too late you should be very careful what you might wish for. For 34 years after his death, William Castle was returned of sorts to the land of the living to aid four teenager who are about to find themselves thrust into a hunt for a little manuscript called…the Necronomicon. For if they do not find it a Secret Society will unleash the Ancient Ones upon the Earth to devastating effect, of course the Society is also after the kids.

The book does a very good job of throwing in the mix of the ill fortunes of those that were connected to Rosemary’s Baby, a film which William Castle produced and had a small cameo in. Being teenagers there are also references to certain other famous films featuring the Necronomicon. This is a very enjoyable book and I probably should have waited until Halloween to post the review…but to be frank, I hate waiting.

From the Grave: The Prayer will be available in October in print and EBook versions ($15.99 and $9.99) via Amazon, Kindle, NOOK, and iBooks through William Castle Productions. Make sure to visit William Castle’s Blog to see what the recently resurrected filmmaker is now up to!

Oh, and when you receive your book make sure to fill out that waiver in the book…because remember…William Castle knows where you are.

A big thanks to the William Castle Blog and Green Galactic for the photos above!


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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One thought on “From The Grave: The Prayer (Volume 1) Review

  1. Sage, you seem to have left out more detail on the “gimmicks” you claim that elevated William Castle in status to become a director looked on by most fans as playful with his audience, as much as Alfred Hitchcock even.

    When we ran 13 Ghosts which was billed as being filmed in “Illusion-O” at the Starlight Starbright, we handed out to our patrons a handheld “Ghost Viewer”, it contained strips of blue and red allowing the patron to see a Ghost or remove the image from their viewing if they felt it was too frightening.

    Of course we did show the Tingler but sadly unlike a movie theatre we couldn’t strap airplane deicers to the bottom of a patron’s car but when I chose Strait-Jacket I was pleasantly surprised to find a box of cardboard axes included with the film to be handed out to our patrons.

    Sadly when we showed House on Haunted Hill, we could not find a way to have the inflatable glow in the dark skeleton emerge at the climax of the film and float above the parked cars. We did however close the concession stand down long enough to run past the cars, slapping the windows, dressed in Halloween skeleton costumes.

    Good times.

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