Search - The William Castle Film Collection (13 Frightened Girls / 13 Ghosts / Homicidal / Strait-Jacket / The Old Dark House / Mr. Sardonicus / The Tingler / Zotz!) on DVD

The William Castle Film Collection (13 Frightened Girls / 13 Ghosts / Homicidal / Strait-Jacket / The Old Dark House / Mr. Sardonicus / The Tingler / Zotz!)
The William Castle Film Collection
13 Frightened Girls / 13 Ghosts / Homicidal / Strait-Jacket / The Old Dark House / Mr. Sardonicus / The Tingler / Zotz!
Director: William Castle
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Horror
UR     2009     11hr 32min

Iconic horror director William Castle created a simple, but winning formula for his films: a little comedy, a lot of scares, a preposterous gimmick, and a clear sense that fright films should be fun. This even meant Castle...  more »


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Movie Details

Director: William Castle
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Horror
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Horror
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 10/20/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 11hr 32min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 5
SwapaDVD Credits: 5
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 25
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Sony releases some of the 60's horror in their catalog.
calvinnme | 05/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Some of my favorite 60's horror films show up in this boxed set due out this fall. William Castle always had a gimmick with his films. Sometimes these had him appearing onscreen himself such as in Mr. Sardonicus, and sometimes it involved theatre tricks such as wiring the seats to deliver a mild shock during the Tingler or issuing life insurance policies during Macabre. Eight of the films Castle made for the then Columbia Pictures are included here.

Homicidal (1961), begins with a woman paying a hotel bellhop to marry her and murdering the justice of the peace who performs the ceremony. She sucessfully flees the scene. She also just happens to work in a large mysterious house where there seem to be a multitude of family secrets, dominated by the late owner's obsession with obtaining a male heir.

Mr. Sardonicus (1961) is the tale of a 19th-century villager who obtained a fortune by retrieving a lottery ticket from the pocket of his dead father's vest pocket. Problem is, dad had been dead for some time and the sight of him shocked Sardonicus into having the same death grin himself. Now he'll stop at nothing to retrieve his normal facial expression.

Zotz! (1962) - A mild-mannered college professor finds an ancient amulet that can make people move in slow motion, and when enemy spies learn about it, a hilarious chase ensues.

The Old Dark House (1963), is Castle's version of the J.B. Priestley novel. It follows an American car salesman to a spooky old Welsh estate where the members of an eccentric family begin to get picked off one by one.

The Tingler has Vincent Price as a scientist looking for a live creature that he thinks is the basis for all fright and also has the power to frighten people to death.

13 Ghosts (1960) - Has a penniless man inheriting a mansion from his late uncle. It turn out that it is inhabited by 12 ghosts which special glasses enable the family to see. It also turns out that Uncle Cyrus left his fortune somewhere in the house.

13 Frightened Girls! (1963) - A bunch of priveleged teenagers at a boarding school intersect with a tale of espionage. Silly but fun stuff.

Strait-Jacket (1964) - Twenty years ago Lucy Harbin (Joan Crawford) found her husband with another woman and did them both in with an ax. After being locked up for twenty years she is now free and supposedly sane. However, strange occurances begin that make it look like Lucy has gone over the edge again. Joan gives a great performance here. Well, let's face it, she never gave a bad one regardless of the movie itself.

Several of these films have been on DVD before, and when they were released several came with featurettes, so I'm hoping at least that much gets carried over into the new boxed set. Specifically there were short featurettes on the original Sardonicus, Homicidal, 13 Ghosts, Tingler, and Strait-Jacket.

Now if only whoever it was who owned the rights to the 1958 Castle film Macabre would issue a DVD release."
Worth watching? Absolutely. Worth buying? Not on your life!
Robert Buchanan | Wisconsin | 11/18/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Sony's latest attempt to cash in on the king of gimmick-driven theatrical showmanship is a quality effort, but its title is misleading; perhaps "The Columbia Castle Collection" would have been more appropriate. Then again, although Columbia distributed all of these titles, the famed studio only produced one of the films in this set (the incomparably silly "Zotz!"), while the rest were products of William Castle Productions.

At the very least, this can't really be THE William Castle Film Collection without "Macabre" and "House on Haunted Hill," and while the former has never been released on any home video format to my knowledge, the latter is widely available in well over a dozen low-budget DVD editions, some of which are of very good quality. "House" belongs on the same disc as "The Tingler" - Castle signed Price to a two-picture deal for both, and shot and released them back-to-back. As a result, they retain a common zeitgeist, and as two of Castle's best pictures, it's absurd that one is included without the other. Sony has some of the deepest pockets around; why couldn't they obtain a good print of "House," which has been in the public domain for years? Nonetheless, this does include Castle's adaptation of "The Old Dark House" and "Zotz!" While "Zotz!" was at least granted a VHS release some years ago, "The Old Dark House" has never been released on any home video format until now. This is a film that's never received the respect it deserves: it's been unjustly dismissed in comparison to both the novel on which it's based and James Whale's superior adaptation released over thirty years prior; furthermore, it wasn't actually released to theaters until 1966 - four years after it had been filmed. Not a great picture by any means, it's still a fun and intriguing alternate take of its much more famous predecessor.

Anyhow, the audiovisual quality of the features in this set is uniformly excellent. Despite a few rough sequences (most notably, the especially grainy colorized scene that seems to be endemic of all existing copies of "The Tingler"), picture and sound alike have been remastered as well as could be expected. Scene selection menus for all of the features are comprised of 12 untitled thumbnail film stills spread over three screens. Despite the lack of titles, these are very easy to navigate.

All of the featurettes and trailers of the previously-released Sony DVDs are included on their respective discs, and while "13 Frightened Girls!," "Homicidal" and "The Tingler" enjoy the wealth of special features, all of these pictures' over-the-top trailers are enclosed. For Castle fans, the featurettes are a treat - comprised of interviews with cast and crew members, Castle enthusiasts and film historians, footage from the movies and plenty of publicity photos, they convey quite a lot about Castle's promotional hijinks and immersive, ludicrous brand of entertainment. However, they also further emphasize the absence of "House on Haunted Hill," which deserves the same treatment! All four alternate opening scenes for "13 Frightened Girls!" are included, as is the very silly alternate "scream" audio for "The Tingler," some of which was recorded specifically for drive-in theaters!

It should be noted that the multitude of subtitles and alternate dubbed language tracks on the DVDs are not available on this set.

Another particularly interesting inclusion is "Graveyard Shift," a 1973 episode of the short-lived "Ghost Story" TV series. Highlights of this episode starring John and Patty Duke Astin (who appropriately play a husband and wife) include the aged Castle performing a small role as a weathered old film producer and the Royal Warlocks: the oldest, most dapper gang of teen thugs ever provided by Central Casting! While this cheesy episode does has a place in this set, I have no idea why it's included as a special feature for "The Tinger."

So, is it worth fifty to eighty dollars? Certainly not, especially for those who own at least some of the individual DVD editions of the films in this set. Fortunately, you won't have to pay that much to see it, anyway - all of these discs are available via NetFlix. Enjoy!"
Mark Turner | 10/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"William Castle wasn't simply a film maker. William Castle was a showman. So much so that going to the opening of one of his films was an event as opposed to going to a movie. Special stunts were what Castle was noted for and several of these films featured those. While audiences can't appreciate the shows he put on in theaters these days, they can find enjoyment in his films on DVD with the release of THE WILLIAM CASTLE FILM COLLECTION from Sony.

This collection may not include all of his films but it does include a number of his better pictures as well as several never before released to DVD. And those that have already been released are given a well deserved treatment here by including them in this collection. So what's in it? Eight movies for young and old.

First off is 13 FRIGHTENED GIRLS. The catch here was Castle's search for girls from around the world to portray the members of an all girl boarding school who get involved in spy shenanigans. Light on scares and big on chuckles, the film is a low dose of Castle.

13 GHOSTS tells the story of down on his luck father who inherits a house from a rich uncle, only if he stays there. Too bad that this same uncle made a habit of collecting ghosts, 12 of which can be found there now. And the 13th? Watch to find out. The trick here was a set of glasses with blue and red lenses, one to allow you to see the ghosts, the other to block them out.

HOMICIDAL was Castle's answer to Hitchcock's PSYCHO. The film opens with a brutal murder of a justice of the peace by a young woman who returns home to care for an invalid woman. Hateful to her employer's sister as well as the woman she watches over, what is the secret that is revealed only in the last minutes of the film? For those too afraid to find out we have the countdown clock that permitted patrons to leave the theater and retreat to the coward's corner in the lobby.

STRAIGHT JACKET features an aging Joan Crawford as a woman sent to prison 20 years earlier for the axe murder of her husband and his lover. Now free, some strange goings on are affecting her life and those of the people around her. Has she gone insane?

THE OLD DARK HOUSE is a remake of a classic Universal horror film, here played for laughs. Tom Posten is the flat mate of a man now deceased, invited to spend the weekend at the family retreat. Too bad this family is far from normal and one after the other gets bumped off as the night progresses.

MR. SARDONICUS, my favorite, tells the story of a doctor who receives a note from his ex-fiancé. Now married to a cruel landowner, she requests he come to her husband's aide in a cure for what it the most terrifying case of paralysis ever seen. If he succeeds, she is free to leave. If not? The face of Mr. Sardonicus gave me nightmares for years!

THE TINGLER features Vincent Price in a role that gives him a chance to make even some of the lamest dialogue sound Shakespearean. As a scientists who discovers that fear gives birth to a creature that literally squeezes your spine unless you release that fear by screaming, Price is fantastic. The great gimmick here was in select theaters that had certain seats with vibrating mechanisms placed under chairs. At one point in the film, in a theater, the screen goes black and Price calls out that the Tingler is lose in the theater you are in! If you feel it you should scream, scream for your life! Of course this was when the mechanisms would buzz, scaring theater patrons.

Lastly is ZOTZ! again starring Tom Posten. This time around Posten is a language professor whose niece receives a medallion from her boyfriend on an archeological dig. An ancient language is found on the medallion and Posten deciphers it to discover that by pointing at someone he can cause internal pain, by saying zotz he can make them move slowly and by doing the two together he can cause death! When the government doesn't pay attention to him the Russians do and attempt a kidnapping.

Included in this collection are several episodes of Castle produced TV shows, behind the scenes featurettes on the movies and a great documentary about Castle himself. The master showman took to appearing in most of his films and getting a kick out of the fans reactions to them all. Many fans have gone on to become star film directors in their own right.

This collection might be a bit pricy, but to purchase each film on its own would cost more. If you love good old fashioned scare films, if you have fond memories of these titles, then you'll want to add this boxed set to your collection. And what better time to give these movies a viewing than now at Halloween? Anyone up for a good scare?
5 stars for films 2 for packaging
T. Parker | Indaenhyle,USA | 12/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Retro rules! Well, most of the time, but not when it comes to cheap packaging!This review is not for the films as William Castle is a genius , this is for the packaging.Gave the packaging 2 stars because at least they aren't flippers, yippeeeee! But for the money i shelled out on this set,,,they could have at least been in thin cases! Don't even care that they slapped on 2 movies to a disc,,,but this gatefold cheap plastic glued to backing for a case ,is a retro( normally Warner Bros dvds ) style that must go,,,anyone who owns these knows that unless you are lucky,,,the glue comes undone over the years and then where do you put the dvds? In another case that's where, when it would be so much nicer for them to just DO IT RIGHT!Then they do that crap i really hate where they put one dvd overlapping the other , i mean if this was a $[...] dollar set that would be understandable,,,but this was no bargain."