Directed by William Castle
Written by Robb White
Cinematography: Wilfred M. Cline
Film Editor: Chester W. Schaeffer
Music by Von Dexter
Cast: Vincent Price (Dr. Warren Chapin), Judith Evelyn (Martha Higgins), Darryl Hickman (David Morris), Patricia Cutts (Isabel Stevens Chapin), Pamela Lincoln (Lucy Stevens), Philip Coolidge (Oliver Higgins)
If there’s a single movie that made me a hardcore devotee of the whole B movie thing, it’s probably this one. Everything about it is perfect, from Vincent Price’s hateful glamour-puss wife to the laboratory right off the living room to injecting LSD to the Tingler itself — all of it delivered with a ghoulish glee by the wonderful William Castle.
I’ve seen The Tingler so many times, it’s more like visiting an old friend than watching a movie. And with this new Blu-Ray from Scream Factory, that old friend’s holding up a lot better than I am.
So there’s this weird, slug-like thing (kinda like a cross between a lobster and a centipede) that hangs out along our spines, and it feeds on fright. That’s the Tingler. We get scared, it gets bigger and more powerful. When we scream, we release our fear and the Tingler is stunned — it shrinks and awaits the next time we get scared. Coroner/scientist Vincent Price discovers the Tingler, removes it from a corpse, then chases it down when it gets loose. There’s also a murder, an attempt at another one, an execution and an LSD trip. Something for everyone.
And that’s all leading up to the big finish, when the Tingler runs amuck in a movie theater, the very one you’re sitting in! You see, back in ’59, theaters were equipped with little motors attached to the seats, and at the proper time, these motors created a whirring sound and vibration in each seat — prompting the audience to scream to ward off the Tingler. “Scream for your lives!” It was called Percepto, and it was pure genius.
Scream Factory has outfitted The Tingler beautifully for Blu-Ray. First and foremost, the movie itself looks really terrific. The grain and contrast levels are exactly where they need to be. It’s perfect, and the simple, effective color sequence fits in nicely. (In the theater, the cut to color film stock was jarring and looked like crap.) The extras are everything you’d want, from the drive-in version of the loose-in-the-theater sequence to all sorts of promo material to various video pieces.
The Tingler is a real favorite, and Scream Factory has given us the kind of presentation fans have always wanted. It does William Castle proud, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Essential.