William Castle

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The House On Haunted Hill (1958) Review


Very Good
Not to be confused with The Haunting, this Castle classic, a campy horror flick, has my great uncle Vinny (Price, a distant relation of mine) as a wicked host, wherein the survivors of a night spent in a haunted house will each receive $10,000. Giddy and fun... and scary if you're in the right mood.

I Saw What You Did Review


Very Good
William Castle pulled out all the stops for I Saw What You Did, an effective -- if not entirely "scary" -- thriller based on a timeless idea: What if you randomly crank-called a guy and said "I saw what you did" when her really did just murder his wife? It's a hokey version of Rear Window, complete with all of Castle's usual parlor tricks. This is one terror tale that is strangely still suitable for all ages. Lots of fun.

Rosemary's Baby Review


Excellent
Hopelessly trapped in its late-'60s look, Rosemary's Baby is nonetheless a watershed movie in the horror genre. It takes an eternity to get moving, sure, but once this story of Mia Farrow's possessed belly gets moving, watch out, for there's no stopping the horror, the horror. The faces of cinema legend (Ruth Gordon, Ralph Bellamy) dot the movie throughout, but it's the smarmy John Cassavetes who steals the show, beating out even Farrow as the ultimate soft-spoken housewife who gets caught up in a world of hell. Er, literally.

Dillinger Review


Good
The famed bank robber gets his life story told in a spare 70 minutes. While his origins as a petty thief are quite compelling, his bank robbery hijinks are less so. The story's been told countless times, and this one's worth a peek for history buffs. Lawrence Tierney's first major role came as the title character.

Strait-Jacket Review


Excellent
One of William Castle and Joan Crawford's respective greats, this campy horror classic isn't just a showpiece for Crawford's maniacal performance, it's also genuinely scary. She's just out of the loonie bin after serving 20 years for murdering her husband and his lover (oops, the kid was watching). She returns home to live with her daughter (Diane Baker), and the body count swiftly resumes again. Harrowing, with a fun twist at the end.

The Old Dark House Review


OK
William Castle "horror" movies don't get much more harmless than this, a simplistic and good-natured romp starring Tom Poston (of Newhart fame). Poston stars as an American in England, invited to visit an eccentric man's mansion, where other eccentric characters quickly find themselves killed. Goofy humor and really cheap fright gags abound. You'll forget it the moment it's over, though it should go without saying that you can never have too much Robert Morley in a movie.
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