Macabre (1958 film)

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Directed by William Castle
Produced by William Castle
Written by Robb White
Theo Durrant (novel)
Starring William Prince
Jim Backus
Christine White
Jacqueline Scott
Susan Morrow
Music by Les Baxter
Cinematography Carl E. Guthrie
Edited by John F. Schreyer
Distributed by Allied Artists
Release dates
October 1958
Running time
72 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $90,000 (estimated)
Box office $5,000,000 (USA) ( January 1970) (sub-total)

Macabre is a 1958 thriller film directed by William Castle, written by Robb White, and starring William Prince, Jim Backus, Christine White, Jacqueline Scott, and Susan Morrow. Some critics call this a suspense film, rather than a horror film, having established a "racing against time" plot-line.[1]

It involved one of Castle's first forays into using the promotional gimmicks that later made him famous.[2] A certificate for a $1,000 life insurance policy from Lloyd's of London was given to each customer in case he/she should die of fright during the film.[2][3] Some showings also had ushers dressed in surgical garb with an ambulance parked outside.


Doctor Rod Barrett's (William Prince) young daughter has been kidnapped by a mysterious maniac who has buried her alive "in a large coffin". The doctor has five hours in which to find and rescue her before her air runs out and she suffocates. The maniacal killer apparently, also murdered Doctor Barrett's wife and sister.

Various family members and friends become potential suspects as they help in the search, wandering through dark graveyards, crypts, thunder and lightning, and red-herrings. The somewhat muddy plot leads to a surprise conclusion that reveals the guilty party and the motive. At the film's end, a narrator requests that the audience not reveal the unexpected ending to others.


Castle mortgaged his house to make the thriller independently.[2] Filming took place from August 15 to 23, 1958.




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