65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
William Castle was reknowned for his gimmicky films. For THE TINGLER he had "Percepto," and it was a lulu: randomly selected seats in the theatre were wired with a small motor, and at a peak moment in the film these motors came to life and literally gave your bottom a buzz! But unless you happen to have a really warped sense of humor plus some mechanical apptitude, you'll have to forego the "Percepto" effect and settle for one of the most weirdo stories to come down the street.
A doctor (Vincent Price) is studying the effects of fear. In the process, he finds that fear causes a nasty, worm-like creature to grow inside the human body along the spine. Release your fear by screaming, and the creature is destroyed; if for some reason you cannot scream, however, the creature merely grows larger and larger and kills you by crushing your spine. What the good doctor really wants, of course, is to lay his hands on one of these critters--and when a man murders his deaf-mute wife by scaring her to death, Dr. Vince gets his chance. Eventually "The Tingler" escapes into a movie theatre, and the seat-buzzing begins!
Price and company give it their all, and the film is as enjoyable as only schlock horror can be. Fans of the genre will hoot over the murder, Vincent Price's LSD trip, the scenes where the tingler escapes into the theatre--not to mention at the monster itself, which looks like a cross between an overweight centipede and a lobster. And yes, you really can see the wires! The DVD edition also includes lots of fun extras, including a short documentary on the film. Castle fans will get a kick out of it, but all others are warned away!
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
I admit it! I am a sucker for old Black and White horror films. They are quite tame by today's buckets of bloody special effect big budgets ones, but they hold a fun all their own. Especially when the ringmaster is the oh so talented Vincent Price. He was always the odd mix of silky mannered menace, with that sprinkle of humour that set him apart from so many actors. It was that devilish twinkle in his eye that always told you he enjoyed what he was doing.
The Tingler is another of the Castle low budget treats. Price plays a mild mannered doctor/research scientist married to a rich wife who is a floozy. She runs around on Price, cares little that he knows it, controls her younger sister's life, but Price is not a man you push too far. Obsessed with discovered the results fear has on the body, he finds out there is a critter that increases in our bodies when we are frightened, the more fear the bigger and stronger it grows and the only thing that can destroy it is screaming. Feed up with his wife's wicked ways, he convinces her he is going to kill her so he can X-ray her trying to prove the existence of the Tingler.
Price gets mixed up with Olly, a husband of a theatre owner who is a deaf-mute. She goes bonkers and passes out when she sees blood. Price wonders what would happen in her, if the Tingler is unleashed, but she cannot scream. Later, someone deliberately scares her to death, and Price operates and removed the Tingler. But then, wife tries to use the Tingler to strangle Price...all in good loving fun, mind you. The pesky beastie dashes off and heads to the theatre to menace everyone there.
One note, though the film was shot in Black and White, the sequence where Olly's wife is driven to death was shot in colour emphasize the red of the blood scaring her.
Great fun and it's a bit of a walk down memory lane! A must for any fan of Castle or Price.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2007
At the writing of this review there were 38 other synopses of this film, "The Tingler". With that in mind, I won't waste the reader's time with another boring plot summary. Instead, let me just say that if the reader of this review is a fan of Vincent Price and especially, Director William Castle, then you will want to go get the "40th Anniversary" copy of this film. The extras, especially the short film on Castle, his films, and the promotional gimmicks that he used to sell them is great. But, back to this film....
"The Tingler" is one of those great old black and white films from the '50s that many Baby Boomers grew up with. Price is terrific as always and is surrounded with a solid cast of method actors. As mentioned by other reviewers, the "Tingler-animal"(?) is certainly hokey (and has it's exposed wires for propulsion in plain view), but that's ok. Castle's gimmick with "The Tingler" is called "Percepto" and unfortunately, viewers of the film won't get the effect that moviegoers got unless they want to hook themselves up to a battery or two. In theaters, "Percepto" was actually the act of hooking up movie seats with old motors that gave the viewer a small charge or vibration everytime someone screamed on the big screen.
The film does have a few actual thrills and chills throughout the movie. In particular, the "blood scene" used to scare one of the actors to death giving Price his chance to discover The Tingler is particularly memorable because the blood is colorized for the scene in brilliant scarlet.
RECOMMENDED FOR VINCENT PRICE AND WILLIAM CASTLE FANS, IN PARTICULAR!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2004
The DVD version of _The Tingler_ is the way to go for horror buffs. It includes priceless footage of the legendary William Castle promoting the film, as well as interesting comments by co-star Darryl Hickman. Hickman seems somewhat apologetic for his role in the film. I was thinking, "Are you kidding? This turned out to be one of the biggest cult classics of all time."
Also hilarious is the drive-in scream sequence, which dealt with the problem of the tingler being loose in a drive-in rather than a theater.
Great film, Castle's campy best. Vincent Price is memorable--he goes on the first LSD trip ever on film--in 1959! Judith Evelyn is remarkable as Ollie's deaf-mute wife. The famous bathroom sequence is as good as it gets.
Sharpen up your suspension of disbelief and enjoy!
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 1999
Not bad. Another in William Castle's Ed Wood-like attempts to be the Alfred Hitchcock of Horror (I refer mainly to his cutesy "host" duties).
The story centers around a coronor's attempt to discover why he finds spinal cord injuries in people who are scared to death. Turns out there is a microscopic organism that rapidly grows around the spine when people get scared. Only screaming can prevent the amazingly strong creature from crushing the vertabre. Once you scream, the creature reverts to it's microscopic size. This is what explains the "tingle" in the spine when you're scared, hence the name of the creature, the "Tingler".
In the course of his experiments, Vincent Price removes a Tingler from a victim and it gets loose in a movie theatre. This is the perfect opportunity for Castle to ask movie patrons to scream... literaly.
This movie was the one whereby Castle had movie theatre seats "wired" to a device that would give electric shocks to viewers when the Tingler was on the rampage.
Entertaining '50s camp with Vincent as a hero instead of a villian.
****NOTE: The movie the patrons of the theatre are watching is a silent film called "Tol'able David", a well renowned 1921 film about a young lad who takes up delivery of the mail, and meets up with evil crooks.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2002
Two horror masters are at work here. William Castle presenting one of his most outlandish and original films and Vincent Price at his least hammy best as a doctor who discovers "the fear factor". The "factor" being a slimy looking centipede-like creature that grows on peoples' spines when they become frightened. If the person doesn't scream (destroying the creature) they will die. The doctor even experiments with LSD in a bizarre sequence to induce fear in himself. The most memorable sequence is still the color one. In a subplot, a theater manager with a mute wife who suffers from OCD plans to kill her for her money by scaring her to death. The wife (a great Judith Evelyn) is alone in the apartment and is assaulted with ghoulish horrors like an axe being hurled at her, her death certificate on the bathroom medicine cabinet, the bathtub filled with blood with a bloody hand and arm reaching out of it for her, the taps running blood, etc. This is done in color for maximum effect and the poor wife dies from fright because she cannot scream---being mute. This is where Price discovers "the tingler". Impulsively, he does an illegal autopsy on the woman and finds the creature attached to her spine and removes it. It later escapes into the theater filled with people and Price gets on the horn and exhorts them to "Scream! Scream for your lives! The tingler is loose in this very theater!" Of course this is where Castles' gimmick of "Percepto" came in. The seats in theaters showing "The Tingler" were wired to produce mild shocks to patrons at key horror moments. How can you top that? "The Tingler" is great fun from start to finish. Pure entertainment and Castle at his morbidly lurid best.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
PT Barnumish producer/director William Castle hit his stride in this 1959 classic. In theaters, he used a gimmick called PERCEPTO, which would send a little shock through selected seats in the theaters, causing some real frights to unsuspecting moviegoers.
The movie is really hard to believe, but it's done with such panache and Vincent Price is at his excellent hammiest best, it rates as a real horror classic. THE TINGLER is a physical embodiment of fear that looks like a centipede with claws and snaps the spinal cord of the victim IF they don't get to scream. Price is joined by Judith Evelyn as a deaf mute whose nerdy husband (the excellent Phillip Coolidge) decides to use this tingler effect to scare her to death and run off with her fortune. The movie has a classic sequence in which the tingler gets loose in a movie theater and he tells everyone to scream for their lives!
Castle was known for his gimmicky showmanship, evidenced in such films as 13 GHOSTS (with its 3-D glasses) and THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (with a skeleton flying through the theater audience), and in THE TINGLER he gave us horror fans exactly what we wanted--a good scream!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
William Castle was the king of gimmick horror, juicing up his sometimes-great-sometimes-really-hokey horror flicks with everything flying skeletons to two-tone glasses.
For "The Tingler," it was a buzzer in the seat called Percepto, which would be a shock to anyone watching the movie. The movie itself was a rather uneven but original idea, with Vincent Price playing a borderline doctor who discovers the very roots of human fear. It's entertaining, but has some big flaws.
Dr. Warren Chapin (Price) is performing autopsies at a local prison, where each dead man died in the electric chair -- and something crushed their spines. To further his research, he frightens his nasty wife and X-rays her, and finds something that appears when afraid, and vanishes when the victim screams. He tries taking acid to frighten himself, but the experiment fails.
Then the deaf-mute wife of an acquaintance is frightened to death by some ghastly visions, and Chapin extracts an enormous, centipede-like worm from her spine -- the "Tingler." After Chapin's wife almost kills him with it, he decides that some borders should never be crossed. But before he can return the Tingler to its dead host, it escapes.
All B-movie goodness, complete with a rubber worm and deliciously vitriolic dialogue. While the idea of a spinal parasite fed by fear is a really hokey idea, Castle plays it so straight that the audience doesn't really have an opening for scoffing. Like a good fantasy story, it creates its own reality.
Castle was at his best when he was doing nasty dialogue, and he's in good form here ("There's a word for you." "There's several for you!"). He builds up a sense of rising tension throughout the straightforward plot, which is only broken when the movie ends. And despite tubs of blood and giant worms, Castle also shows his talent for the understatedly creepy when Chapin takes acid.
In fact, "The Tingler" would be a great B-movie if it weren't for two very hokey scenes. One is of a black screen, with Price's voice exhorting, "The Tingler is in the theatre! Scream for your lives!" Very awkward. The other is the final scene, which makes absolutely no sense, and has nothing to do with what comes before it. I guess Castle just needed a shock ending.
It must have been nice for Price to play a non-villain for once -- his Chapin is obsessed and a little twisted, but he isn't insane or nasty, and by the last act he's realized that science isn't the end-all. Patricia Cutts and Philip Coolidge give good performances too, as David's toxic wife and as a sweaty theatre manager who isn't as timid as he seems to be.
"The Tingler" is a fairly entertaining cult horror movie, with good acting and a big rubber worm. If only it weren't for those two scenes.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2000
I saw this movie on TV when I was about 6 years old and it scared the hell out of me. Horror movies haven't really scared me in a long time but I still think this one is way cool. The premise of this film is completely absurd, yet wildly original. I almost want to call it surrealistic. Vincent Price is at his very best in this one as he switches from being the kind, gentle voice of reason to the witty, sarcastic, vengeful husband of a cheating, cold-hearted woman, and the calmly deranged doctor who is obsessed with the phenomenon of being scared to death. Price makes the many facets of his character's personality blend smoothly, giving him the quality of a very subtle madman. Fans of Vincent Price know exactly what I'm talking about because nobody can do this as well as he could. There's something about the combination of William Castle and Vincent Price that really clicks. My two favorite Price films are this one and House on Haunted Hill, which were both directed by Castle. It's a shame they didn't work together in more films. I really can't say enough about Vincent Price or this movie. If you're into this kind of stuff, you need to have this one in your collection. You will want to watch it again and again.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2002
THE TINGLER begins with an amusing intro by director William Castle with Castle imploring viewers to scream to control the Tingler. A brilliant concept and gimmick which suprisingly became a pretty good movie.
Price plays coroner William Chapin who discovers that fear causes a parasite to grow on people's spines, which he calls "The Tingler". The creature, which resembles a giant lobster, can only be destroyed by its host's screams, so Price decides a deaf-mute woman who works at his local movie theater is the ideal subject to use for his experiments.
This is the infamous movie in which some seats in theatres were rigged with joy buzzers (Percepto) to give viewers mild electric shocks when the "Tingler" was loose in the theater. One memorable sequence is partially in color. A must see for cult movie buffs and fans of Vincent Price who is his usual wonderful hammy self.