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2 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
William Castle

Written By:
Ray Russell

Ronald Lewis, Audrey Dalton, Guy Rolfe, Oskar Homolka, Vladimir Sokoloff, Erika Peters, Edith Atwater, William Castle, Lorna Hanson, Constance Cavendish, Albert D'Arno, James Forrest, David Janti, Annalena Lund, Mavis Neal Palmer, Charles H. Radilak, Franz Roehn, Tina Woodward, Ilse Burkert

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Movie Review by BillyBob
December 28th, 2010


Favorite Movie Quote: "A ghoul, as I'm sure you know, is a disgusting creature who opens graves and feeds on corpses."

Well-well - Chock up another horror-movie gem from the "King of Gimmick" - Mr. WILLIAM CASTLE, himself.

Originally (due to pressure from this film's producers), CASTLE was required to shoot an alternate ending to MR. SARDONICUS. And - Yes. It was, of course, a "happy-ever-after" type ending, to boot. (Sheesh! Can you believe it?)

At this films' theatrical release back in 1961, each member of the audience was initially given a special "glow-in-the-dark" card which pictured a thumb-up, or a thumb-down on it. This little gimmick allowed the audience to be the ones to determine the fate of the thoroughly nasty character, Mr. Sardonicus, as this film's traumatic finale came to a close.

As legend has it - No audience ever-ever offered mercy to the sadistic brute, Sardonicus. So, (thankfully) the original ending remained as the only ending.

Set in the 1880s (in the fictional European country of Gorslava), MR. SARDONICUS' story takes place at the ultimately sinister and forbiddingly remote castle-home of the reclusive Baron Sardonicus.

Ever since a truly horrifying experience in his youth, Sardonicus' once handsome face had suddenly been completely transformed and frozen into one of the most hideous leers imaginable. Thankfully, for the sake of politeness, and all, Sardonicus kept his grotesque mug covered with a mask.

London doctor, Robert Cargrave, is sent for, in hopes that he can come up with some sort of reasonable cure for Sardonicus' frickin' ugly puss.

While the doc is busy working away on a "quick-fix" cure for the baron's totally fukked-up face, a scream in the dark of night soon reveals to us the things that go on behind closed doors in the Sardonicus castle.

All-in-all - MR. SARDONICUS is a fairly entertaining B-Grade Fright Flick that, when it comes to production values, and so forth, contains all of WILLIAM CASTLE's most familiar trademarks, and such.

Trivia note -

Actor GUY ROLFE, who played the hideously disfigured Sardonicus, was required to wear 5 seperate facial appliances as part of his overall make-up. These appliances were so uncomfortable for ROLFE that he couldn't tolerate wearing them for more than an hour at a time. As you can well-imagine, this significantly slowed down this film's production, over, and over, again.

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Mike Thomas
Dec 29, 2010 2:17 AM
I LOVED this one!

Castle STOPS the movie just before the end to do his gimmick! That had to be one of his BEST bits!

....I mean beside the thumpers installed in the sears for The TINGLER. I just finished watching SPINE TINGLER - The WILLIAM CASTLE STORY. It was entertaining, but there was little I didn't know before I saw the movie.
Dec 29, 2010 9:11 AM
Yep. This one was pretty good.

CASTLE sure had a gift for gimmick and that's what made his films so unique and entertaining.

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