Interview with writer/director Ben Stassen
Regarding "Haunted Castle"
By Ross Anthony

Ben StassenRA: Ben, I spoke with you a year or two ago about "Encounter in the Third Dimension" which was very enjoyable. You screened it at CalSci Center, which is located right at USC where you graduated.

BS: Yes.

RA: So I asked you at that time if you invited any of your old professors...

BS: Yes, I remember the question. And I said, 'No, I should have, but I didn't.' And you know what? I didn't again. (chuckles)

RA: Well, then, let's get right into the issue with "Haunted Castle," I've read the letter sent to theaters strongly recommending skipping this film, due to the violence and scenes of torture ... now did they send you that letter first?

BS: No, actually, we have to put that in context. We had pre-licensed the film to 30 or 35 theaters and we showed the film in November ... and we invited the people who owned and operated IMAX® Haunted Castletheaters because they had pre-licensed the film. Upon seeing the film the exhibitors had 5 days to pull out if for some reason they didn't like the film. I fully respect the IMAX® decision not to license our film. That's their right. By the way, IMAX® was the only one who pulled out of the deal, everyone else took the film. So what really wasn't acceptable what they did was, from a private screening ... they then decided to send a letter not as owned and operator division but as a manufacturer of the projector to all the theaters worldwide, they didn't censor the film, but as far as they could go in writing without really trying to censor the film. It's been a very good thing because now everyone's talking about it ... so in fact they handed us on a silver platter a way to market our film. And the great thing is all the exhibitors have shown great support. Exhibitors don't want to be told what to license.

(This is only an excerpt from the that interview, check this page in the following weeks, we'll have much more posted.)

[Review of Haunted Castle]   [1999 Stassen Interview]   [More interviews]

Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Wednesday, 17-Mar-2004 15:36:45 PST