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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 »
The title on the book that Warren is reading as he is waiting for Isabel to come home from her date is on the back cover instead of the front cover. See more »
William Castle's 'The Tingler' is one of the most extraordinary horror movies ever made. Low budget, silly script, bad dialogue, uneven acting, gimmicky to the extreme (with or without "percepto"), but it STILL manages to amaze. It's a kind of trojan horse, being a cheesy b-grade thriller with a hidden core of surrealism almost worthy of Bunuel or Cocteau.
Memorable performances from horror legend Vincent Price as the scientist obsessed with explaining the strange phenomenon he labels "the tingler", and Judith Evelyn (who had a bit part in Hitchcock's 'Rear Window') as a bizarre deaf mute who owns a silent movie theatre, elevate this above most of Castle's overrated output. The classic acid trip scene (I think the first ever), the memorable short colour sequence, and the William Burroughs-like monster make this something really special. Not to be missed!
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