Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story (2007)

Genres - Film, TV & Radio  |   Sub-Genres - Biography  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Donald Guarisco

B-movie fans are in for a treat with this detailed, affectionate look at a master of the form. Spine Tingler!: The William Castle Story works as a well-rounded documentary because it hits just the right combination of light and dark in its portrayal of its subject: it captures the giddy mix of ballyhoo and inventiveness that defined his films but also does a fine job of chronicling his personal frustrations over how his employers never allowed him to "rise beyond his station" and do more artful work. Director Jeffrey Schwarz pulls this balance of moods off by structuring the film like an old-fashioned Hollywood melodrama that gives the narrative of Castle's life of breathless feel full of changes in fortune and mood. Spine Tingler! is also a very charming piece of work because it truly allows the viewer to feel the presence of Castle, both through fun clips from the promotional work for his films and fond reminisces from his family and friends -- all of whom portray him as a good-hearted charmer who triumphed over adversity and made plenty of friends along the way. In short, Spine Tingler!: The William Castle Story not only offers the tales of kitschy filmmaking one might expect but does so with a lot of heart. Even those who aren't b-movie fans might enjoy this engaging true-life tale.