A classic 50s horror film from cult director/producer William Castle. Vincent Price stars as an obsessed doctor who discovers that fear manifests itself as a parasitic creature, which grows on the spinal cords of terrified people. If they scream, the Tingler can be destroyed. If they don’t, it will sever the spinal column and kill them. He successfully isolates and removes the Tingler from a deaf mute who has been scared to death by her devious husband. Once captured, the Tingler escapes and runs amok in a crowded movie theater. In some theaters, that scene was enhanced by seats wired with motors that vibrated and caused chaos in the audience as they joined in screaming with the actors in the movie theater depicted in the film.
Original release 1959
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA
Starring: Vincent Price, Judith Evelyn, Darryl Hickman, Pamela Lincoln
Director: William Castle
What a fun flashback to the 50s when ace showman William Castle was scaring audiences with a whole series of gimmicked movies that were made for very little money but were box-office hits.
Castle’s first gimmick was ‘Emergo’ in the movie House on Haunted Hill. At the right moment, in theaters equipped for the gimmick, a skeleton flew over the audience on a pulley. Audiences were either scared (few were) or they were throwing popcorn boxes at the skeleton as it glided across the theater. Silly or not, everyone talked about it, and word of mouth filled the theaters to see the spectacle.
In The Tingler, Castle gave us ‘Percepto’, where in some theaters seats were wired with motors that vibrated the patrons, just as the on screen characters were announcing that “The Tingler was loose in the theater!”.
The plot of the film is silly… a creature hidden on our spines comes to life and can kill a person when they become scared, unless they can scream and subdue the creature. When we finally see the Tingler, it looks like an enlarged, rubber centipede, and if you look more closely you can see the string that is pulling it along.
No matter, Vincent Price gives one of his best performances selling the ridiculous plot, but most people won’t be able to take their eyes off the screen.
Expect a good time, and get an idea how kids and their parents were entertained in the 50s.
Recommended, especially when seen with some friends over. Sadly, unless you wire your furniture, you won’t be able to enjoy ‘Percepto’.
This film looks quite good in this first Blu-ray release. The picture is razor sharp, and it doesn’t look like the original print was digitally enhanced or fooled around with. There’s a short section of the movie which is a bit soft, but that’s because a special color effect was added to the black and white movie. I won’t say anymore, so I won’t spoil the surprise. I’m sure that even in theaters, the extra optical effect blurred that section of the movie back in 1959.
The audio is mono, but dialog is clear.
- NEW Audio Commentary by author/historian Steve Haberman
- NEW I Survived The Tingler – an interview with Pamela Lincoln
- NEW Unleashing “Percepto” – an interview with publicist Barry Lorie
- Scream for Your Lives! William Castle and “The Tingler” – vintage featurette
- William Castle’s Drive-In “Scream!” audio
- Original “Scream” Scene
- The original 1959 theatre lobby recording
- Theatrical Trailer
- Still Gallery