The Tingler (1959)

The Tingler
Director: William Castle
Writer: Robb White
Cast: Vincent PriceJudith EvelynDarryl HickmanPatricia CuttsPamela LincolnPhilip Coolidge
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 23.9.2017

Warren Chapin (Vincent Price) is a pathologist and his area of research is fear. He has a controversial theory that fear is actually a parasite that lives in all of us – and that if we can’t act on our fears by screaming, that creature will run wild and free. To prove that theory, he hopes to be able to extract that fear creature – he calls it the Tingler – somehow. When he meets Ollie (Philip Coolidge) who tells him of his wide Martha (Judith Evelyn) who scares easily, but can’t scream because she’s deaf and mute, Warren believes to have found the perfect subject for his experiments.

The Tingler may seem antiquated in many things, but it’s a movie that rocks, especially when you see it in a full cinema with the intended participatory elements. Fortunately the /slash Filmfestival made all of that possible.

The Tingler is made for a special movie experience. That includes vibrating seats and some theatrical elements, both of which the /slash organized. I was lucky enough to get one of the vibrating seats and even though I knew that I hade one of them and that at some point during the film, the thing would go off, it still worked like a charm.

But even had I been without the seat, the film would have really drawn me in. Even if the “science” is, of course, ridiculous from today’s point of view (I assume it wasn’t quite that laughable 60 years ago) and generally some things were funny that I don’t think were intended to be funny. It’s also uncomfortable to watch the experiments on a disabled woman who is (forced to be) passive for most of the film, but it didn’t feel like the film made light of that fact.

But most of the film was absolutely great. For one, there’s Vincent Price who is simply a joy to watch. Charming and creepy and really amazing. But there are also some very clever elements in the filmmaking in general (like how they deal with blood). It’s simply a very well-made film. Even though it’s designed to be a spectacle, I’m sure that watching it at home, alone, it’s still a great experience.

Summarizing: Fantastic.

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