Insane with pleasure over the contents of Powerhouse Films’ first William Castle box set, I gladly ponied up for the second. Covering three of Castle’s more obscure films from the early 1960s (and one absolute blockbuster), Volume II makes up for what may be viewed as less desirable titles with immaculate transfers and terrific bonus materials that make it a MUST BUY.
The set includes the films Zotz! (1962), 13 Frightened Girls (1963), Castle’s remake of The Old Dark House (1963), and axe murder classic Strait-Jacket (1964). Also included on each disc is a wealth of supplementary material that is both entertaining and endlessly educational.
I have fallen in love with Stephen Laws and Jonathan Rigby because of their work on these Powerhouse special editions. They both obviously love the films they are introducing and fill their short pieces with insight, affection, good humor, and FACTS. Kim Newman, who I was familiar with through his reviews at the late, lamented Video Watchdog magazine, gives a zesty talk on the career of Ray Russell (who wrote the screenplay of Zotz!) that could be the highlight of the entire box set. It’s simply amazing. What a life this obscure writer led! (I mean Russell, not Newman.)
non-Sleepaway Camp) commentary tracks I have ever heard. Deighan methodically lays out a case for the film, suggesting that Castle was portraying female protagonists in the 1960s in a manner that simply wasn’t being done by other major studio filmmakers. It’s the rare commentary track that makes you want to watch the film again immediately after it concludes. Kat Ellinger, Diegan’s co-host on the Daughters of Darkness podcast, provides a similarly impressive commentary for Zotz!
You know that you do…
I would love to see the William Castle-directed Rosemary’s Baby. What on earth would have been his theater gimmick for THAT one?
Also, I implore Powerhouse to put together ONE MORE Castle box—we’ll call it William Castle: Alpha Omega. ARE YOU LISTENING, POWERHOUSE GANG? We desperately need one more William Castle box set, with transfers and extras that are up to the high standards of the initial two sets. This third box should include Macabre, Castle’s first gimmick horror film from 1958; The House on Haunted Hill from 1959, my favorite Castle film (no need to include an inflatable skeleton so home viewers can re-enact Emergo!—if they’re buying this box, chances are they already OWN an inflatable skeleton); I Saw What you Did from 1965; and Let’s Kill Uncle from 1966. Samm Deighan mentions the last two films in her 13 Frightened Girls commentary, and what she says about them has me dying to see them. Let’s get a Kickstarter going for this! Where can I send my money?
Powerhouse, GET ON IT!