In 1972, William Castle's production company took to TV with a horror anthology series called Ghost Story. Airing on NBC, the show was similar to Night Gallery, telling weird tales of the paranormal that usually ended with a twist. Sebastian Cabot played host Winston Essex and introduced each week's tale from the Mansfield House Hotel, relating the stories as having happened to unfortunate guests.
Each episode would open with the elegant Winston Essex greeting the viewer and delivering a segue into a story which would feature ghosts, vampires, witches or just supernatural weirdness. I haven't watched all of the series yet but here are a few memorable episodes:
"The New House"
: The pilot episode concerns a young couple that moves into a house which is haunted by a woman's spirit that has designs on their newborn daughter.
"The Concrete Captain
: The ghost of a sea captain encased in concrete and his wife haunt a vacationing couple in the hopes of having their love live on through them.
: Karen Black plays a young widow being stalked by an unseen man and receiving weird phone calls that appear to be from her dead husband.
"Elegy For A Vampire"
: A vampire is preying on female students on a college campus.
Does anyone remember this show? It's slightly before my time(I would've been 2 in '72) and I only learned of it by looking into William Castle's work. I do enjoy 70's TV and horror so I figured I'd give it a try. I am enjoying it. It is very reminiscent of Rod Serling's Night Gallery
, a show I remember sneaking peeks at when I was little, most likely when in syndication. The twist endings do seem right up Castle's, and Serling's, alley, but I doubt Castle had that much to do with content.
My favorite scene so far is the ending to "The New House". I've read reviews online where people a little older than me express how this episode scared the heck out of them as kids. I can see why! It was really terrifying! Other ghosts, like The Captain, are pretty good but don't bring the fright as well as this one from the pilot.
Hal Lindon plays the vampire in "Elegy" and does a fairly good job.
My biggest criticism, besides the expected low budget, would be that characters often act in ways that move the plot but don't seem realistic enough. They're not as wowed by what's happening, not as inquisitive, as they should be. Where the show shines is in portraying the relationships between characters. Whether husband and wife or two college professor friends, for the most part, the emotions were subtle but believable.
The scares are up and down as some episodes are better than others, but most that I've seen have at least one creepy moment or a good twist ending. I intend to watch more.
Ghost Story intro
Apparently, the show had such low ratings that at mid-season, Cabot was ditched and the title was changed to Circle Of Fear
. Including the pilot, there were 14 episodes under the Ghost Story
title and 9 episodes for Circle Of Fear
. The later episodes were less supernatural and more thrillers.
Directors and writers on the show included Richard Matheson(The Shrinking Man
), Richard Donner(Superman
), Jimmy Sangster(Hammer Horror
) and Robert Bloch(The Night Walker
Familiar faces that appear in the show include James Franciscus(Beneath The Planet Of The Apes
), Karen Black(Trilogy Of Terror
), Hal Lindon(Barney Miller
), Mike Farrell(MASH
), Carolyn Jones(The Addams Family
) and Angie Dickinson(The Norliss Tapes
William Castle died in 1977 at the age of 63. His last movie was Bug
(1975) which he wrote and produced.
You can watch the Ghost Story
The New House
I believe the rest of the episodes are available on Youtube as well.