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Marketing Macabre

The B-movie director/producer William Castle was famed for his over-the-top promotional stunts. HORRENDOUS! MALIGNANT! posters declared of Macabre (1958). THE MOST BLOODCHILLING HORROR SHOW EVER FILMED IN HOLLYWOOD! At the films's so-called "screamiere," many theaters offered life insurance: SO TERRIFYING WE INSURE YOUR LIFE FOR $1,000 IN CASE OF DEATH BY FRIGHT! Other theaters employed models dressed as nurses to stand beside medicine chests in the lobby and offer "nerve-steadying pills" to anxious patrons. Others posted signs reading: ATTENTION DOCTORS! PLEASE LET A THEATER A'END ANT KNOW WHERE YOU ARE SEATED. YOU MAY BE NEEDED DURING THE SHOWING OF MACABRE.

"Of course it would be an awful thing if somebody actually did die in the theater," Castle once agreed, before adding: "The publicity would be terrific though!"

[Among Castle's legendary gimmicks? The "Tingler" -- a vibrating device attached to theater seats.]

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