Monday, September 28, 2015

DVD Review: William Castle Horror Collection


William Castle Horror Collection
Director: William Castle
Cast: Rosemary DeCamp, Glenn Corbett, Tom Poston
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Retail: $14.98
Running Time: 7 hours 18 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Buy Link: Amazon


Just in time for the Halloween Season is the two-disc DVD release from Mill Creek Entertainment, titled William Castle Horror Collection, featuring five films from the director William Castle. The films are 13 Ghosts, 13 Frightened Girls!, Mr. Sardonicus, Homicidal and The Old Dark House.

While the 2001 remake was full of gore, the 1960's 13 Ghosts is more of a family-friendly ghost story about a family that inherits a mansion from a rich uncle, Dr. Plato Zorba. They quickly realize that the house is haunted by 12 terrifying ghosts - a lion with it's headless tamer, an executioner with a severed head, a wailing lady, a pair of clutching hands, a floating head, a skeleton,an chef that keeps murdering his wife and her lover in the kitchen and Dr. Zorba.

The 1963 flick 13 Frightened Girls! is less horror and more of a teenage movie in the vein of Gidget. Set in a Swiss boarding school for girls, the films centers on a sixteen-year-old that develops a crush on an intelligence agent, which leads her to uncovering the mystery behind the death of a Russian diplomat.

William Castle once stated that the 1961 Mr. Sardonicus was one of his favorites that he had produced. The plot centers on a greedy man that digs up his father's corpse just so he can get the winning lottery ticket that was in the coffin, but recovering the lottery ticket comes with a frightening cost - his face is now permanently fozen into a hideous grin.

Also released in 1961 was the Hitchcock-style thriller Homicidal. Set in the small town of Solvang, the plot involves around the nurse of a wheelchair bound stroke victim that gets caught up in a murder mystery. This is one of those movies that you don't want to give away the ending to, so I'm not going to go into any more details about the film.

The Old Dark House (1963) is the remake of the 1932 film of the same name. It stars the late Tom Poston (Newhart) as Tom Penderel, an American car salesman in London, whom find himself delivering a car to a mansion late at night, but gets trapped there along with it's residents, The Femms. It seems the family there can't leave the house due to an ancestor's will. It received bad reviews upon it's original release, but it's actually my favorite on this release.

If you're looking for straight-up horror, you're not going to find it here as these five films are a mixture of horror-comedies, thrillers and mysteries. To me William Castle was more of a lighthearted horror director, who used more gimmicks than thrills to entertain his moviegoers. Overall, all five films on the William Caste Horror Collection are fun to watch.

*Disclaimer - I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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