BOOK REVIEW: Step Right Up! (2010)

I'M GONNA SCARE THE PANTS OFF AMERICA

MEMOIRS OF A B-MOVIE MOGUL

By Woofer McWooferson

Step Right Up! Cover 1 new

Author: William Castle; Publisher: William Castle Productions; ISBN: 978-0-5780-6682-0; Media: Paperback; Length: 276 pages; Genre: Autobiography; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2010

Emergo! Percepto! Illusion-O! Fright breaks, Coward's Corner, life insurance policies, punishment polls, and cardboard axes! Fans of horror movies in the 1950s and 1960s know these terms well as they are signature gimmicks of the consummate showman and director: William Castle. Even as a young child, Castle knew that he wanted to scare audiences to the same extent that he was scared during The Monster, a horror play that he attended with his father when Castle was the tender age of six. He was hooked on horror, and he knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life.

Step Right Up! I'm Gonna Scare the Pants off America: Memoirs of a B-Movie Mogul is Castle's autobiography and a captivating journey through the life and mind of the man John Waters called, "...my idol. His films made me want to make films.โ€ Originally published in 1976. Step Right Up! contains musings and recollections that are colorful, entertaining, and educational, his descriptions weaving a tapestry that makes readers feel as if they are sharing a brandy with Castle himself in his den. With Castle as our tour guide, we accompany him backstage to meet Bela Lugosi, whose difficulty in pronouncing Castle's surname, Schloss, instantly convinced the young man to adopt the name Castle, the English version of Schloss. We watch as a young Castle bluffs his way into a meeting with Orson Welles, eventually earning the right to take over Welles' Mercury Theatre. And we thrill as a chance encounter with Vincent Price completely changed the direction of Price's career, eventually establishing him as one of the greatest horror actors in the US.

Though Castle's success undeniably sprang from his ability to sell his films as a multimedia experience โ€“ a heretofore relatively rare tactic in filmmaking. Step Right Up! gives readers an unparalleled ride through Castle's life and career at a pace that never flags and that keeps the reader entertained, wondering what will next inspire the genius that was William Castle.

Not sure if Castle is your cup of mead? Check out some of these titles at the Internet Movie Database:

Bug (1975)
Shanks (1974)
Circle of Fear (1972 - 1973)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Project X (1968)
The Spirit Is Willing (1967)
The Busy Body (1967)
Let's Kill Uncle (1966)
I Saw What You Did (1965)
The Night Walker (1964)
Strait-Jacket (1964)
The Old Dark House (1963)
13 Frightened Girls! (1963)
Zotz! (1962)
Mr. Sardonicus (1961)
Homicidal (1961)
13 Ghosts (1960)
The Tingler (1959)
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Macabre (1958)

If you like horror, step right up to check out Step Right Up! You will not be disappointed.

Bonus Fact: The character of Lawrence Woolsey (John Goodman) in Joe Dante's 1993 film Matinee is based on William Castle.

10/10 claws โ€“ don't forget your "Illusion-O" handheld ghost viewer

Posted by Alan Smithee

We want to hear your thoughts!