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.
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.
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.