Dr. Warren Chapin is a pathologist who regularly conducts autopsies on executed prisoners at the State prison. He has a theory that fear is the result of a creature that inhabits all of us....
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Dr. Warren Chapin is a pathologist who regularly conducts autopsies on executed prisoners at the State prison. He has a theory that fear is the result of a creature that inhabits all of us. His theory is that the creature is suppressed by our ability to scream when fear strikes us. He gets a chance to test his theories when he meets Ollie and Martha Higgins, who own and operate a second-run movie theater. Martha is deaf and mute and if she is unable to scream, extreme fear should make the creature, which Chapin has called the Tingler, come to life and grow. Using LSD to induce nightmares, he begins his experiment. Written by
William Castle toyed with other ideas to frighten audience members, in addition to 'percepto'; among them: rolling bean bags to brush against the legs of audience members, speakers mounted at different areas that would give a 'screech' when the tingler appeared, and possibly even using 'shills' to operate some type of mechanical device to tickle the legs of the audience members; but the only viable way of doing it was by attaching buzzers in select seats to coincide with the appearance of the tingler- 'percepto'. See more »
When the Tingler is breaking out of the cage you can see a wire at the bottom pulling it open. See more »
Remember, if you scream at just the right time, it might just save your life.
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I was very young when this movie was originally released and my first encounter was when I switched on the TV (no remotes in those days, so I was right in front of the set) and a woman's face suddenly appeared, screaming right at me! It scared the living hell out of me --- and that was only a *commercial* for THE TINGLER! It was years before I saw the actual film and while it wasn't as scary as I imagined (nothing could have been) it had, as William Castle's films frequently do, an unsettling feeling of dread about it. Of course it's also absolutely ridiculous. The whole premise is insane, and the plot twists keep getting more and more loony, but that only adds to the fun! The titular creature itself is a mixed bag, crudely done (even for its day) but somehow effectively disgusting. The acting is uniformly good and the dialogue pretty intelligent. The only weak point for me was Judith Evelyn as the deaf mute wife, who overacted like hell but never seemed genuinely terrified by any of the bizarre goings on. The DVD contains an excellent short called SCREAM FOR YOUR LIVES including (among others) co-star Darryl Hickman, now in his seventies, looking incredibly fit and happy and seemingly unable to talk about making THE TINGLER without constantly cracking up. Who can blame him????
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