I have a lot of love for the work of Joe Dante. Not just Matinee of course but Gremlins, The Howling, Explorers, Innerspace, and The ‘Burbs to name just a few of the films he has directed. Now though his 1993 film Matinee, which is an ode to the movies of William Castle is getting a Blu-Ray release by Shout Select!
Joe Dante has always worn his “Monster Kid” badge with pride. Growing up with the likes of Forrest J. Ackerman’s legendary Famous Monsters of Filmland helped to shape his love of horror and sci-fi films. As well as being a teenager during the Cuban Missile Crisis must have certainly left a mark. Which might indeed make Matinee a little more autobiographical as these elements naturally are the focus of the film.
“It’s 1962, and fifteen-year-old fan Gene Loomis (Simone Fenton) can’t wait for the arrival of Woolsey, who is in town to promote his latest offering of atomic power gone berserk, Mant! But the absurd vision of Woolsey’s tale takes on a sudden urgency as the Cuban Missile Crises places the real threat of atomic horror just 90 miles off the coast. With the help of Woolsey’s leading lady, Ruth (Cathy Moriarty), the master showman gives Key West a premiere they’ll never forget. Anything can happen in the movies, and everything does in this hilarious tribute to a more innocent (and outrageous) time in American cinema.”
I will of course be sure to give a review of the Blu-Ray for Matinee when I get my hands on a copy. However Shout Factory is already letting us know what we can expect on the Collector’s Edition when it is released on January 9th, 2018.
Master Of The Matinee – An Interview With Director Joe Dante
The Leading Lady – An Interview with Cathy Moriarty
MANTastic! The Making Of A Mant
Out Of The Bunker – An Interview With Actress Lisa Jakub
Making A Monster Theatre – An Interview With Production Designer Steven Legler
The Monster Mix – An Interview With Editor Marshall Harvey
Lights! Camera! Reunion! – An Interview With Director Of Photography John Hora
Paranoia In Ant Vision – Joe Dante Discusses The Making Of The Film
MANT! – The Full Length Version Of The Film With Introduction By Joe Dante
Vintage Making Of Featurette
Behind The Scenes Footage Courtesy Of Joe Dante
Deleted And Extended Scenes Sourced From Joe Dante’s Workprint
Now remember that if you pre-order Matinee through Shout Factory. You not only get a free 18″ X 24″ poster featuring the brand new artwork. But in addition you get the Blu-Ray two weeks before the release date as well!
To get you in the mood for Matinee. Why not listen to Joe Dante discuss the merits of William Castle’s 1964 film The Night Walker?
Our first prize, a DVD copy of the 1959 William Castle helmed classic, The Tingler goes to Dex! A mighty congrats to you, friend! You’ll soon be enjoying the movie where Vincent Price goes toe to toe with a deadly parasite that feeds on fear!
For our copies of From the Grave: The Prayer, give a round of applause to Christopher Tupa and Shawn Robare! For the FearMaker: Family Matters books we have SacredSpud and Dan Schoening as our winners! Everyone who entered though gets a little treat though from our kind friends that I’ve mentioned above.
I’ll be in touch soon with you winners and stay tuned as we still have our winner for the Night Terrors: Phase 7 DVD giveaway later tonight!
As always I want to give a huge thanks to our friends over at Green Galactic and William Castle Productions for this press release announcing the release of the 1959 screenplay for the classic House on Haunted Hill, it is annotated and includes an introduction by none of other than legendary director, Joe Dante! Being published on Oct. 31st means it will make that perfect last minute stocking stuffer for the Halloween Holidays! What? You guys don’t hang stockings for treats and toys by the fireplace for Halloween?! Weird…
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 – October 6, 2011 – 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 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 a print version of 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.”
But there is still more news concerning William Castle (Who has been able to come back from the dead to promote his new book, The Prayer) and his daughter, Terry Castle!
EVENTS – Book Readings/Signings For All 3 Titles & Film Screenings:
Some in-person events include… a blood-making demonstration of the Castle family secret recipe.
Thanks to our friends over at Green Galactic and William Castle Productions for sending us the heads up on this spectacularly spooky upcoming Halloween treat for those readers in the Los Angeles area!
“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 – September 21, 2011 – 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 Tweens/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 7:30pm (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.
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.
A big thanks to William Castle Productions for the awesome photos of the legendary film director you see above!
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!