GHOST STORY pilot from 1973 (William Castle)
GHOST STORY is a pilot from 1973 which later lead to a full series in 74 or 75. The first season was called GHOST STORY and had Sebastian Cabot of FAMILY AFFAIR fame introducing stories of the strange and unexplained but mostly featuring ghosts. The second season didn't have him or his strange hotel (haunted of course) but was called CIRCLE OF FEAR but contained many ghosts as well and was not as successful but had some good stories anyway (one about a witch cult was particularly scary and trippy as they summon a woman in her car...across a lake and over rollar coasters!).
In any event, this story scared the heck out of me when I was 7 or 8. Or 9 or 10. Yet watched today, the first half of the 44 minutes or so is still pretty atmospheric and scary. It's slow moving and the build up is the scary thing. With minimal effects, camera angles, an old New England-ish town, zoom in and zoom outs, and other implied scares (shadows, sounds) and not so implied (a laugh, a mirror that shows the hanged 18 year old woman) and sound effects and good acting from Barbara Perkins, we get a few scares. Unfortunately, the second half, which really scared me...has its moments but isn't as scary as it used to be in these days of SHOW IT ALL and unlimited gore and real life serial killer type movies.
Yet for its charm and color and excellent capture of the era (its like the end of the 60s and the full on beginning of the 70s--just look at the car Barbara drives) and for having Sam Jaffe (of the original---the 1950s DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL) this is interesting to see. It's on the WILLIAM CASTLE COLLECTION with MR. SARDONICUS. Go figure. Ioffer.com has the entire series GHOST STORY and CIRCLE OF FEAR with the pilot.