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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
The coroner and scientist Dr. Warren Chapin (Vincent Price) is researching the shivering effect of fear with his assistant David Morris (Darryl Hickman). Dr. Warren is introduced to Ollie Higgins (Philip Coolidge), the relative of a criminal sentenced to the electric chair, while making the autopsy of the corpse, and he makes a comment about the tingler-effect to him. Ollie asks for a lift to Dr. Warner, and introduces his deaf-mute wife Martha Higgins (Judith Evelyn), who manages a theater of their own. Dr. Warner returns home, where he lives with his unfaithful and evil wife Isabel Stevens Chapin (Patricia Cutts) and her sweet sister Lucy Stevens (Pamela Lincoln). Dr. Warner, upset with the situation with his wife, threatens and uses her as a subject of his experiment. When Martha dies of fear, Dr. Warner makes her autopsy and finds a creature that lives inside every human being, feeds with fear and is controlled by the scream. Once Martha was not able to scream, the tingler was not rendered harmless and became enormous. When the living being escapes, Dr. Warner and Ollie chase it in a crowded movie theater.
"The Tingler" is very hilarious and cheesy B-movie, but with a great potential of cult-movie. I can imagine the behavior of the real audiences with the instructions of the character of Vincent Price ordering in the dark to scream in the movie theaters to save their lives, while he is looking for the tingler on the screen, and a device installed underneath their seats is vibrating in the scene. The flawed screenplay is silly but also very, very funny indeed. There are two great moments along the story: the ahead-of-time acid trip of Dr. Warren Chapin (in 1959); and the red colored bathtub full of blood, the unique colored scene along the whole black and white film. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Força Diabólica" ("Evil Force")
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