Sebastopol author Joe Jordan vividly remembers the day he found out about the work of classic low-budget horror film director William Castle.

“The date was Oct. 31, 1999. ‘House on Haunted Hill’ was being aired on television as part of a Halloween showcase. Two days earlier the Geoffrey Rush remake had been released in theaters nationwide,” Jordan said.

Jordan went on to study Castle’s colorful career, which including directing 56 mostly low-budget films between 1946 and 1975.

On Saturday, March 21, you can see what Jordan found so fascinating about Castle, known his potent mixture of shock and schlock, and his shameless promotional gimmicks.

The Rio Theater in Monte Rio will open a salute to Castle’s career at 2 p.m. with clips from “The Tingler” followed by a full screening of “House on Haunted Hill,” starring Vincent Price, both originally released in 1959.

Jordan also will talk about his 2014 book about the director, “Showmanship: Showmanship: The Cinema of William Castle.”

“In 2010, I began teaching a William Castle film appreciation course to young adults,” said Jordan, 41. “I was amazed at how well my students responded to the films. It was only a matter of time before I came up with the idea for my book, which took four years to research and write.”

Castle was famous for his wild ideas for promoting his films, from installing buzzers in theater seats for “The Tingler” to sending a skeleton with glowing red eyes along a wire over the heads of the audience during “House on Haunted Hill.”

Admission: $5. Information: 865-4190,

You can reach staff writer Dan Taylor at 521-5243 or

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