Often described as ‘the Master of Gimmicks’, William Castle is best known for the outrageous publicity stunts that characterised his genre films in the 1950s and ‘60s, including offers for an insurance policy against death by fright, vibrating seats, a skeleton that flew over the audience, and a ‘punishment poll’ to determine a film’s conclusion. But far from being ‘the world’s craziest filmmaker’, Castle was also a dependable studio director who made more than 50 films between 1944 and 1974, and who produced films for Orson Welles and Roman Polanski. ReFocus: The Films of William Castle assembles fourteen essays on the full sweep of Castle’s career, including his horror films, westerns, film noirs and more. With an influence felt on directors like Joe Dante, Robert Zemeckis and John Waters, this volume reappraises Castle’s legacy as an innovator as much as a showman.
About the author
Murray Leeder is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at University of Calgary. He the author of Horror Film: A Critical Introduction (Bloomsbury, 2018), The Modern Supernatural and the Beginnings of Cinema (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), and Halloween (Auteur, 2014), as well as the editor of Cinematic Ghosts: Haunting and Spectrality from Silent Cinema to the Digital Era (Bloomsbury, 2015) and ReFocus: The Films of William Castle (Edinburgh University Press, 2018).