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"The Tingler" is the name that Vincent Price's likable scientist
character gives to the creature that apparently is responsible for the
sense of spine-tingling fear we all experience at some point in our
lives. If we scream, The Tingler is rendered harmless. If we do not,
The Tingler will get us!
This is classic William Castle gimmick stuff. When this black and white masterpiece of schlock was originally shown in theaters, devices would be rigged up underneath theater seats which would "tingle" during a certain scene. The film would then seemingly stop, and the audience would be encouraged to scream! Scream for their LIVES! Of course, the audience was happy to oblige and the Tingler would be defeated. Man, how I regret having missed those days of cheesy ballyhoo.
This film has some really nifty stuff in it. Highlights include Vincent Price's "acid" trip (reportedly the first acid trip ever seen on the silver screen), and a cool hallucinatory color sequence with a deaf mute woman menaced by a bathtub full of blood, among other things. The plot is clever and actually pretty well thought out for a B flick, and Vincent is superb, as he always is. This is an absolutely hysterical film that should not be missed. I can't say enough good things about it - it simply has to be seen to be appreciated. It's campy, seedy, bloody good fun!
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!
The Tingler marks the second teaming for horror's greatest actor -
Vincent Price, and horror's greatest showman - William Castle. This
film was released later in the same year that their first venture -
House on Haunted Hill - was unleashed upon audiences across the world,
and the film sees the two men deliver more of what they did with their
first feature. House on Haunted Hill was much loved then - and now -
for it's ludicrous plot line and hammy performances, and The Tingler
marks another successful fusion of these elements. The plot line is
even sillier this time round, and it follows Vincent Price's scientist
as he conducts his experiments into fear. He discovers that when we get
frightened, a thing, which he called 'the tingler', manifests itself on
the spinal column and the only way to rid oneself of this 'tingler' is
to scream. Deaf mute's cant scream, however, and soon after discovering
that his friend's wife suffers from that condition, and has an acute
fear of blood, Price gets to work on attempting to isolate and remove
William Castle shows his flair and passion for entertaining his audience throughout this film, with the whole film being, basically, a metaphor for the horror genre on the whole. Castle uses several different methods of getting his audience to scream, and while this film isn't very scary by today's standards - watching this master of entertainment weave his magic is always delightful. Another thing that's delightful about this film is the fact that Vincent Price is in it. Price has an amazing ability to command to the screen, and while this movie doesn't feature his best performance - he's always entertaining, and it's always a pleasure to see him on screen. Castle's special effects are hokey, with the central monster - the tingler - looking rather silly, but that adds to the fun effect of the movie and if the effects had been terrific examples of how good special effects can be - the film wouldn't have been nearly as fun as it is. The Tingler is silly throughout, and it gets really ridiculous towards the end, but if you watch knowing that this isn't to be taken seriously, you'll enjoy yourself just like Castle intended.
Directed and hyped by William Castle. Proof he is a master. Vincent Price
a pathologist that discovers that, when in a state of extreme fear, an
organism grows along a person's spine enlarging up to the neck. The only
thing that will stop the growth is the sound of screaming.
Along with Price are Darryl Hickman and Pamela Lincoln. This is a real gimmicky film, but still effective. Well acted by Price, one of his very best. Still creepy after all these years.
"Ollie" was my favorite person in this movie. What a strange dude! He
was full of surprises, including reactions to things, comments he makes
and, of course, deeds he commits.
Yeah, Vincent Price proves again what a fine actor we was, and is the star of the film, but I really enjoyed Philip Coolidge's (Ollie) performance. As for Price, watching this other day made me scratch my head and wonder how such a good actor could play in so many cheesy films?
Whatever, those two along with Patricia Cutts (the tramp wife), Judith Evelyn (Ollie's deaf-mute wife), Darryl Hickman and Pamela Lincoln all did a pretty nice job, although Price's acting talents stand out among the cast.
It also would have fun to see this in the theater 50 years ago when they rigged the seats to tingle during certain scenes! That really happened! Director William Castle really tried everything to get the audience. He even stopped the film and asked the audience to scream! It must have been hilarious. You have to give it to the man for his effort to promote his "horror" films.
The movie begins slowly so one has to have patience with this story. Once it kicks in though, it's very good with some shocking scenes (including a color scene or two) and some interesting twists. However, to be fair, there are a lot of holes in this story and really, really corny things......but that's part of the fun. It's like Ed Wood films - so bad, you have to laugh.
The DVD looks good. This is a nice transfer, which is important with all the lights and shadows. You can see some alternate scenes, too, which are interesting.
William Castle was a great filmmaker. Many people would disagree because no one Castle film stands out as being great. Yet Castle was a great innovator that made going to the movies more than just a way to spend time to an experience. His gimmicks, although not usable today, are not what his movies are about. His films are about stories, pretty good ones at that. The Tingler is no exception. It is a tale of horror and science. It concerns itself with a doctor trying to prove that each of us has a tingler within us that gets bigger when we are in a state of fear and is repelled by our screaming. Although the scientific merit of this story seems somewhat implausible, Castle makes it seem very credible through his story-telling techniques. Some scenes in the movie are just wonderful. Vincent Price is excellent as the doctor questing for answers and then faced with a moral dilemma as to what should be done with his newly found knowledge. If you like science fiction, Vincent Price, or just a good old-fashioned horror yarn....The Tingler is for you!
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????
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")
"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
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.
...because the person in the seat next to you will probably be screaming
You've got to love this campy cult classic from William Castle. Vincent Price is great as always, but the supporting characters are really good also, which can sometimes be hard to find in this kind of movie.
The opening 'screaming' sequence can be a little annoying, but it's all in keeping with the fun you have watching this classic.
Be ready to laugh!
8 out of 10
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