Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ghost Story aka Circle of Fear: William Castle Does TV Horror

We've been talking quite a bit about William Castle with our look back at the Sony Choice Collection. Well tonight's entry into the near retrospective of this work is a TV show, like the Twilight Zone or Night Gallery or other variety thread program. This entry comes from 1972-73, and I'm afraid didn't have more than a season of episodes. Ghost Story was its first name. Mid-season it was changed to Circle of Fear.  Initially the presentation starts out with a narrator though not William Castle and that also changed mid-season. I suppose things just weren't working on in the ratings game. Today we're hear to talk about Ghost Story/Circle of Fear.

The series spanned 23 hour long episodes. Normally this kind of thing is exactly what I want to watch. It's like chicken soup for the horror movie lover's soul, but unfortunately Castle's produced program is kind of... well... boring. These hour long episodes needed to be shorter. That's the best way to some up the problem with the series because for all other intents and purposes this release should be on par with any Serling produced work. It has the star power with pretty much everyone making an appearance and even acting well. Jason Robards, Helen Hayes, Melvyn Douglas, Gena Rowlands, Jodie Foster, Angie Dickinson, Geraldine Page, Partricia Neal, Martin Sheen, Stella Stevens, Karen Black, Rip Torn, Carolyn Jones, Mariette Hartley, William Windom... isn't that every living TV star or up and coming actor during 1972? How do you fail when Richard Matheson is writing your material (though not all of the material).

Perhaps the closest "relative" to Circle of Fear/Ghost Story is Hammer's House of Horrors (we're going to leave out Chiller or Night Gallery because that would imply an overall conception of quality). Neither lasted long, had episodes that felt moderately long-ish (though Hammer's House of Horrors is more palatable and usually made up for the lengthy stories with exquisite, well thought out punchlines. The introductions by Winston Essex are blah, boring and feel phony. Castle should have done them.

I love this credit music.

I don't want you to believe that this series is completely without merit. The stories would be much better, shorter and without the introduction so that's a great way to watch them. Skip Essex and watch them passively while making out with your significant other. Try to make it past the first few episodes.

The package comes with traditional artwork and is a six disc DVD set.

You can pick up Ghost Stories aka Circle of Fear now.

-Doc Terror

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