Sunday, October 21, 2012


   Considered to be a camp cult classic, The Tingler is a 1959 black and white horror/thriller. Written by Robb White, The Tingler is the third of five movies he made with William Castle such as 1959's House On Haunted Hill. Staring horror legend Vincent Price along side Darryl Hickman, Patricia Cutts, Pamela Lincoln, Philip Coolidge, and Judith Evelyn. Gimmicks were used to help sell the movie by the producer. They used a  gimmick called Percepto.

"I am William Castle, the director of the motion picture you are about to see. I feel obligated to warn you that some of the sensations—some of the physical reactions which the actors on the screen will feel—will also be experienced, for the first time in motion picture history, by certain members of this audience. I say 'certain members' because some people are more sensitive to these mysterious electronic impulses than others. These unfortunate, sensitive people will at times feel a strange, tingling sensation; other people will feel it less strongly. But don't be alarmed—you can protect yourself. At any time you are conscious of a tingling sensation, you may obtain immediate relief by screaming. Don't be embarrassed about opening your mouth and letting rip with all you've got, because the person in the seat right next to you will probably be screaming too. And remember—a scream at the right time may save your life."-William Castle's on screen warning to the audience at the opening of the flim

   The Tingler tells the tale of a scientist named Dr. Warren Chapin, who is played by Price, who discovers that when a person gets extremely scared with fear they will have a tingling in there spine. Since there is a tingling of the spine, Chapin names it The Tingler. The tingling is from the growth of a parasite every person has living them attached to there spine. When a person is struck with extreme fear the parasite will curls up, grows, and feeds. It becomes stronger the more the person is afraid and can crush the person's spine if it curls up longer enough. The only way a person can weaken the parasite when this is happening is by screaming, which weaken and stops its from curling.

   Chapin goes to see a friend Oliver Higgins, who owns a movie theater that he lives above with his deaf and mute wife Martha. As Chapin and Higgins are talking over a up of coffee, Chapin cuts his hand on some broken glass. Martha sees the blood on Chapin hand and faints. Chapin tells Higgins that she must of fainted in reaction of not being able to make noise when scared or upset. He looks over Martha and heads back home.
   After some deep thought, Chapin comes up with the idea that he would only be able to see The Tingler when someone is at that one moment of fear, not before and not after, he comes up with a plan. He scares his cheating wife with a gun, making her think he was going to shoot her. She passes out and he quickly puts her on the X-Ray table in his lab. After he takes a couple of pictures, he wakes up his wife telling her the gun only had blank bullets. The next day Chapin shows his assistant the X-Rays. The X-Rays shows The Tingler, which looks like a centipede with a hard shell.

   Chapin would then lock himself in a room and injects himself with a drug to make him hallucinate in hopes that he can scare himself so he can experience The Tingler. He tries to hold on for as long as he can until he can't help but scream. When its all done, Chapin tells his assistant that he fells that if a person could not scream when scared, that The Tingler could kill you.

   Chapin then heads over to see Higgins and to see how Martha was doing. Chapin then tells Higgins about his finding about The Tingler. After that he goes and checks on Martha who has been having trouble with eating and sleeping after she passed out from the sight of blood. After a quick check up, Chapin gives Martha a shot of something that he says will make her sleep. He then gives a prescription to Higgins for sleeping pills and leaves.

   Martha wakes up and sees the windows starting to move up and down,while the door to the bedroom shuts all by themselves. She then walks over to Higgins bed to wake him when he sits up. The sheet falls off and it's not Higgins but some kind of creature with a machete. She runs for the front door which is locked and she can not get open. Then the door opens with a skeleton hand with a hatchet. It throws it at Martha and she runs and locks herself in the bathroom. Just then the sink starts running with blood coming out of the spout of the sink. She then turns to see the bathtub full of blood with a bloody hand reach out from the bottom of the tub. The cabinet above the sink opens to a death certificate with Martha's name on it with the cause of death being fright. She then falls to the floor dead.
   Higgins shows up to Chapin's house with the body of his dead wife. Chapin brings her to his lab to check her. He pronounced her dead, covers her, and walks over to write down some notes. As he is doing this Martha sits straight up and lays back down. Confused and shocked, Chapin runs back over and checks her again. He tells Higgins that she is dead and does a autopsy. He opens her up and pulls out the large Tingler that latches to his arm. It squeezes so hard that it made Chapin scream in pain weakening it and making it fall off. He grabs it and puts it in a box as Higgins takes his wife back home.
   Chapin then has a drink with his wife who spikes his drink. Once Chapin passes out, she runs and gets the box The Tingler is in and leaves it open by Chapin. As Chapin's wife ran upstairs, The Tingler slowly crawls to the unconscious Chapin and started choking him to death. Unable to scream, he made loud struggling noises that alarted his sister in-law who just walked into the door. She walked in to room and screamed at the sight of The Tingler and it fell off Chapin's throat.

   Back in his lab with his assistant, they try finding away to kill The Tingler. Realizing that they can't, Chapin thinks if he puts it back in Martha it might die since it's host is dead. He heads to Higgins's home to find him loading up a suitcase with money. Also in the suitcase was mask and a machete. Chapin realizes that Higgins scared his wife to death for to be free of the burned of a deaf and mute wife. As Chapin tells him after he puts The Tingler back in Martha he is going to call the cops, he see that The Tingler has escaped it's box and headed down to the movie theater below.

   Once in the theater The Tingler starts to squeeze a woman's leg until she screams. Chapin then shuts off the lights in the theater telling everyone to scream and they will be fine. The Tingler leaves the and heads to the projecting room where Chapin captures it and puts in in a metal case. He heads back upstairs and put its back in Martha. Higgins puts a gun on Chapin which does not fade him. He leaves with The Tingler problem behind him and to call the cops. Standing in the room with his dead wife, the windows start moving up and down and the door shuts and locks. Martha then stands up and stares at her husband. Higgins gets so scared that he can not scream as the screen fades out and there is a sound of someone falling to the floor ending the movie.
   The producer used a gimmick for the movie called Percepto where they use electrical buzzers attached under the seats of the movie goes in the theater. The buzzers were left over vibrators left over from World War II. At the end of the movie the screen went all white and it was made to look like The Tingler crawled across the projector like in the movie theater scene. Vincent Price's voice come over the speakers and tells the audience, "Ladies and gentlemen, please do not panic. But scream! Scream for your lives! The Tingler is loose in this theater!" The buzzers underneath the seats would all go off giving the viewers a unexpected jolt. They also hired some people to be fake screamers and fainters in the the audience to make the movie more scary. Fake nurses would come in to check them and carry them out to a planted ambulance outside where they were taken away.
   I personally love horror movies. Now a days people think the only way they can get a scare is with gore or to have to watch things unfold through the eyes of the characters. Watching this old movie was not all that scary, but you really see masters at work for all the things they did to get a scary out of there audiences. Even the twist of making you think that Chapin injected Martha with the same drug that made him hallucinate in order to see what happens to someone who can't scream, just to find out her husband killed her to be free of her using the knowledge of The Tingler. And even though the movie was in black and white, they used red color when the blood came out of the spout of the sink and in the bathtub with the bloody hand. If your a fan of classic horror movie, and who ain't a fan of Vincent Price, this a great movie to check out.

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