William Castle

William Castle (April 24, 1914 – May 31, 1977) was an American film director, producer, screenwriter, actor and writer. Castle was known for directing films with many gimmicks which were ambitiously promoted, despite being reasonably low budget B-movies. Castle's official website is www.williamcastle.com. Castle was born William Schloss in New York City to a Jewish family. Schloss means "castle" in German, and Castle probably chose to translate his surname into English to make it easier to pronounce. He spent most of his teenage years working on Broadway in a number of jobs ranging from set building to acting. This stood him in good stead when he became a director, and he left for Hollywood at the age of 23, going on to direct his first film six years later. He also worked an as assistant to director Orson Welles, doing much of the second unit location work for Welles' noir classic, The Lady from Shanghai, based on a novel If I Die Before I Wake that Castle found and shared with Welles. Castle began directing films in the early 1940s, and later television, before moving on to his favorite genre, horror films. Five of these were scripted by Robb White. Two of his films have been remade, House on Haunted Hill in 1999, and Thirteen Ghosts in 2001 (the latter retitled Thir13en Ghosts). He also produced, and had a brief non-speaking role in, Roman Polanski's film Rosemary's Baby (1968). Castle is the grey-haired man lurking outside the phone booth while Mia Farrow is attempting to get in touch with the obstetrician. According to Castle's autobiography STEP RIGHT UP!...I'm Gonna Scare The Pants Off America (now back in reprint), Castle had wanted to direct the film as well, but the studio insisted on hiring another director. Promotion and marketing was in Castle's blood. For his films, Castle often employed gimmicks to entertain his audiences: • Macabre (1958): A certificate for a $1,000 life insurance policy from Lloyd's of London was given to each customer in case they should die of fright during the film. Showings also had nurses stationed in the lobbies and hearses parked outside the theater. • House on Haunted Hill (1959): Filmed in "Emergo". An inflatable glow in the dark skeleton attached to a wire floated over the audience during the final moments of some showings of the film to parallel the action on the screen when a skeleton arose from a vat of acid and pursued the villainous wife of Vincent Price. The gimmick did not always instill fright;...

Producer

Director

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