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Classic filmmaker’s ‘showmanship’ honored in new book

“Showmanship: The Cinema of William Castle” by Joe Jordan
“Showmanship: The Cinema of William Castle” by Joe Jordan

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The mastermind behind 56 feature films, including House on Haunted Hill, Strait-Jacket and The Tingler is now the central figure in Joe Jordan’s new book “Showmanship: The Cinema of William Castle,” which provides production background to some of Castle’s most infamous stunts.

Castle could perhaps be coined as the father of marketing gimmicks, as he presented quirky ideas into his work. In his feature film “The Tingler,” for instance, Castle attached a vibrating device attached to theatre seats during the movie’s creepiest moments. The filmmaker even had skeletons flying inside theatres during his film “House on Haunted Hill” and provided “Illusion-O” glasses for patrons watching his “13 Ghosts” movie.

Jordan’s book arrives just in time for the Academy’s centennial tribute to the prolific filmmaker, which is being every Friday in September at the Bing Theatre at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

What are some of your favorite William Castle films? How does Castle’s legacy live on in contemporary film and marketing plans?


Joe Jordan, author of “Showmanship: The Cinema of William Castle”