KIT# 451

KIT# 452

Original Kits
Issued: 1966


Another interesting, but not particularly successful Aurora partnership was made with William Castle, the notorious
"B-Movie" king of the '50s and '60s.
Ironically, though he was a dubious master of suspense and thrills, his two creations for Aurora, The Frog and The Vampire are both rather silly. They still remain prime examples of "kitsch" and fetch a pretty price on the auction block. These kits were not exactly major sellers for Aurora in their day, and as such are very scarce indeed.


"THE FROG"

ORIGINAL SPECS:

KIT # 451
SCALE: ?
PLASTIC: Lt. Green
BOX SIZE: 13"X5"X2"


Finding a kit in any form, whether built up or MIB, is a rare feat of "hobby archaeology." If one were to obtain an MIB kit in the box, it would be a difficult decision whether to leave it unassembled for its obvious collector's value, or build it and enjoy the goofy results.



These kits were never re-issued, and likely never will be. I did find this resin recast on eBay.
I may just pick it up...

"THE VAMPIRE"

ORIGINAL SPECS:
KIT # 452
SCALE: ?
PLASTIC: White
BOX SIZE: 13"X5"X2"

 
 
So, Who WAS William Castle?

Of the multitude of "schlock theatre" producers of the Drive-In Era, none was as ingenious as William Castle, the Barnum of B Movies. Although his films were usually just thinly disguised rip-offs of popular thriller pictures of the day, often suffering from low budgets and wooden acting, what his pictures lacked in quality, they more than made up in sensationalism.

A master of self-promotion, Castle often introduced his own pictures, warning his viewers of the fears they were about to face, and clueing them into the film's gimmick.To pull in viewers, and perhaps to draw attention away from the meager production values, nearly every Castle film featured some sort of gimmick. A few of his more memorable "innovations" were:
 
 
 
Macabre (1958)
"Fright Insurance": $1,000 policy issued from Lloyd's Of London.
 
House on Haunted Hill (1959) "Emergo": Paper skeletons on wires soared over the audience.
 
The Tingler (1959) "Percepto": Electrified theatre seats simulated an attack of the title beast.
       
   
13 Ghosts (1960)
"Illusion-O": Special viewing glasses revealed screen spectres.
 
Homicidal (1961)
"Fright Break":
A "Money Back Guarantee" allowed cowards to flee the theatre.
 
Mr. Sardonicus (1961) "Punishment Poll": Audiences voted to kill or spare the villain.
       
   
Zotz! (1962)
Magic "Zotz" coins
(which did... absolutely nothing! )
  Straight Jacket (1964)
Plastic bloody axes, plus, the immortal slogan: "Keep telling yourself, it's only a movie, it's only a movie..."
  I Saw What You Did (1965) Theatre seats rigged with seat belts for the frightened.
         
 
 
Rosemary's Baby (1968) Several well publicized "mysterious illnesses", including Castle's own:
Bug (1975)
Million dollar cockroach insurance policy for star "Hercules" the cockroach:
       
Matinee (1993)
"In Joe Dante's film , John Goodman plays a William Castle-esque film producer, previewing his new, gimmick-laden horror film (Mant -- “Half Man, Half Ant, All Terror!”) in Key West, up against the admittedly stiff competition of impending nuclear catastrophe..." A fun film, and a definite "must-see" for fans
of Classic Monsters and the '50s B-Movie millieu.

Read Review Here

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Despite their well-earned status as B-Grade schlock, many of Castle's films have been remade and found whole new audiences to amuse on both the large and small screen. Among the film revisitations are I Saw What You Did (1988), House on Haunted Hill (1999) and most recently Thir13en Ghosts (2001). The most recent remakes are by Joel Silver's Dark Castle Entertainment, which is currently in preproduction for a remake of Macabre. Looks like the ol' "schlockmeister" has some life in him yet!
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R.I.P. Big Guy!
Download the trailer for 13 Ghosts Here
     
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