A search for a winning lottery ticket in his dead father's grave causes Sardonicus' face to freeze in a horrible grimace, until he forces a doctor to treat his affliction--with even more ... See full summary »
Dr. Warren Chapin is a pathologist who regularly conducts autopsies on executed prisoners at the State prison. He has a theory that fear is the result of a creature that inhabits all of us. His theory is that the creature is suppressed by our ability to scream when fear strikes us. He gets a chance to test his theories when he meets Ollie and Martha Higgins, who own and operate a second-run movie theater. Martha is deaf and mute and if she is unable to scream, extreme fear should make the creature, which Chapin has called the Tingler, come to life and grow. Using LSD to induce nightmares, he begins his experiment.Written by
You may recognize Judith Evelyn, who plays the mute, terrified silent movie theatre owner here - five years earlier, she had played James Stewart's romantically frustrated neighbor "Miss Lonelyhearts" in the Hitchcock classic Rear Window. See more »
At 36 minutes, as Dr. Chapin is dictating his experimental protocol into a tape recorder, he states that the average injection of LSD will be 50 micromilligrams. Experienced researchers would not use a double metric prefix of "micro-" (one millionth) plus "milli-" (one thousandth). They would simply combine them into "50 nanograms" for the overall 50 billionths of a gram being administered. See more »
Isabel Stevens Chapin:
I had nothing to do with my father's death, and you can't prove that I did.
Dr. Warren Chapin:
Would you like me to prove it isn't nonsense?
Isabel Stevens Chapin:
You can't prove it. Anwyay there isn't anything to prove.
Dr. Warren Chapin:
But you wouldn't like me to try. And you should remember this, organic poisons are like old soldiers, they never die, they just lie smoldering in the grave, and I'm not bad at autopsies either.
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Originally had a short sequence filmed partially in color. It was the scene when the deaf-mute Mrs. Higgins (Judith Evelyn), terrified by unknown forces, runs into a bathroom to hide and sees blood coming from the faucets of her sink and her bathtub filled with blood. Everything else in the scene is black and white except for the blood, which appears in garish red color - a typical William Castle gimmick. The USA home video release and the Turner Classic Movies print shown on Oct. 31, 2008 include the restored partial-color sequence. The short sequence is grainy and appears to have been inserted from an old deteriorated copy, or possibly a 16 mm print, as the rest of the movie's quality is crisp and sharp. Or possibly the image quality jump is due to an optical process or however the color was achieved, adding a generation of grain. See more »
reasonably well made for a cheesy B horror flick with a true gimmick
At the start of the Tingler, William Castle walks out and lets the audience know about being scared and screaming - and that this will be a case where it's more than just suggested, it's all but required for the audience (then shots of screaming teens pop up on the screen). Seeing as how I was watching the film by myself on a rainy day, it might be rather insane to just scream on my own, especially when it came time to actually see the Tingler creature itself. But the movie is a splendid concoction of scientific ballyhoo. If you are just getting into these kinds of "mad scientist does this" 1950s/60s movie, this is a good place to get acquainted.
And what better way than with Vincent Price? Price is such a good actor that he makes this doctor's hunt for capturing fear in human beings- and finding the weird organism that does it- into a quest, one that he even tries to propel from himself. The idea of the Tingler is something interesting more than the usual fare, anyway, because it's psychosomatic: instead of it being experiments creating a man or woman into a monster or beast or animal, it's a manifestation of something that's already there. In this case the tingler monster is like some weird centipede-lobster thing (compared to some of Corman's productions like 'Crab Monsters' it doesn't look or move to shabbily either), and it's extracted by Price from a deaf woman who can't scream and so all the tension built up by a fear drug causes the tingler to grow and not shrink down.
There's a lot of fun stuff here, and some solid scenes as well. Early on we see that Castle is at least competent in his craftsmanship if nothing too special, but the writing helps keep things moving in a professional manner; not much time is wasted, and the acting around Price is decent enough (my favorite would be his wife, whom he uses as his first test subject). But the "shocks" come with trippy scenes where Price thinks he sees skeletons come to life, and then with the deaf woman's visions in the bathroom, with tinted-red blood against black and white (why this is done aside from the gimmick I can't say, but it looks cool anyway), and then that ridiculous, self-conscious hoot in the silent movie theater where the wicked fear-beast (who can only be quelled by screams, by the way) slithers around the theater and all the way up to the projectionist, leaving his mark on the screen!
It would be advantageous, of course, to see this in a theater where Castle's gimmicks could be done. Maybe a step bellow (or above) smell-o-vision, but it doesn't detract from the fun within the material itself. It's goofy and silly, and by the end all you learn is never to get too scared that you won't scream. Oh, and you have a meddling creature on your back that is activated whenever you're frightened. Boo.
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