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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 Tingler" (1959 - 82 minutes - B&W), is a classic of horror and science fiction produced and directed by the remarkable master William Castle, who was known for setting tricks in the cinema rooms in fifties and sixties in order to interact the audience with the film. (In "The Tigler", Castle placed an equipment, the "Percepto", inside the cinema armchairs so that, when the audience shouts during the movie, they felt a shock).
In this masterpiece, Vincent Price is Dr. Warren Chapin, an obstinate doctor of legal medicine who discovers that fear causes the "tingler effect" with the growth of a parasitic creature near the vertebral column. Chapin could isolate and remove the creature of a deaf and dumb woman (the actress Judith Evelyn) but the "thing" escapes and runs away to a full cinema. A way to defeat the creature is to shout loud. According to John Waters, of the "Film Comment", the film shows the first citation of LSD of the cinema. The writer Robb White had heard about the lisergic acid from Aldous Huxley, he went to the UCLA to try the drug in himself (before it became illegal) and then he introduced the drug in the story.
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