The Tingler

Year Of Production: 1959
Running Time: 82 Minutes
DVD Released By: Columbia Tristar Home Video
Directed By: William Castle
Writing Credits: Robb White
Filming Location: Unknown

Starring: Vincent Price, Judith Evelyn, Darryl Hickman, Patricia Cutts, Pamela Lincoln, Phillip Coolidge

Tagline 1: When the screen screams you'll scream too...if you value your life!

Tagline 2: Fright-Filled SHOCK Thriller!

Alternate Titles:
I was unable to find any reference to alternate titles for this film.

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
This film was banned in Finland.
This was the earliest film to depict an LSD trip.
The seats in the theaters were wired to buzz and vibrate. This theater gimmick was called "Percepto" and was just one of William Castle's many theater gimmicks that he created over the years.

Interesting Bits of Trivia about Vincent Price:
According to Price, when he and Peter Lorre went to view Bela Lugosi's body during his funeral, Lorre, upon seeing Lugosi dressed in his famous Dracula cape, quipped, "Do you think we should drive a stake through his heart just in case?" Vincent was an avid gourmet chef. He wrote a number of cookbooks and produced a number of cooking shows for television starting in the mid 70's. Notoriously superstitious, he once joked that he kept a horseshoe, a crucifix and a mezuzah on his front door. He was a close personal friend of Cassandra Peterson who is better known to most fans as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Vincent was married three times. His last wife Coral Browne died in 1991. He was very tall, standing at an imposing 6'4". Born on the May 27, 1911, he lived a good long life until lung cancer caused his death on the October 25, 1993. His birth name was Vincent Leonard Price Jr., but he did have a couple of nicknames. One was King of the Grand Guignol, and the other was Bink.




Cast Of Characters

Dr. Warren Chapin: Yes it's the immortal and legendary Vincent Price playing a pathologist who's been researching the effects of fear with his assistant David for quite some time. What did he find out for all his research? Fear looks like a turd with feet and pincers. At least he lived through the end of the movie, which is more than I can say for Ollie and Martha. Although, Ollie did live right up to the end, so technically I guess he made it all the way through the film. Whoever wrote this film really screwed up though. They should have killed off his shrew of a wife, Isabel.

 

 

Oliver 'Ollie' Higgins: Ollie owns a theater with his wife that shows silent films. He's a very plain and soft spoken kinda guy. He's certainly not the kinda guy you'd think would be able to commit murder. I do have to hand it to him though, the way he scared his wife to death was pretty damn cool. Not like it took a whole lotta work to do that though. She was like a deer in the headlights from the very beginning of the movie.

 

 

Martha Higgins: She's deaf and she's mute. I know there's a lot of guys out there who wish their wife was at least the latter of the two. I feel your pain guys. Anyway, she's terrified of damn near everything and she's really obsessive about avoiding germs. I wonder how she feels about bugs, 'cause a really damn big one came out of her back. Good thing she was already dead, cause seeing something like that would have killed her.

 

 

Isabel Stevens Chapin: This is Dr. Chapin's wife and just about the biggest bitch under the sun. Beneath that horrible hairdo and underneath that hideously ugly dress, beats the heart of a true ice queen. She sleeps around with every guy she can get her hands on, she poisoned her father to get his money, and she attempted to kill Warren by drugging him and setting the tingler loose on him. Aside from all that, she's a real sweetheart. Gee, I wonder who's runnin' Hell while she's up here?

 

 

David Morris: Don't this guy look kinda like Dobie Gillis? Either that, or he looks like he belongs in a Disney movie or something. Anyway, this is David. He's Dr. Chapin's assistant and he's also Lucy's boyfriend. Unfortunately for Lucy, he seems to be more interested in hangin' out in the lab than he is in going out with her. But then again, he's the nerdy scientist type, so I guess it's understandable. If he's not gonna hang out with Lucy and give her the attention she deserves, then I'll bet there's a lot of other guys out there who'd be happy to.

 

 

Lucy Stevens: Lucy is Isabel's younger sister and also a total sweetheart. Warren has a real soft spot for her in a fatherly sort of way, and she's the type of girl that most guys dream of. She's sweet and loving and she doesn't do and say stupid things at all the wrong times. She doesn't really have a massive part in this film, but when she is around, she has a very nice screen presence. Now, if she could just find herself a guy who didn't smell like formaldehyde all the time, she'd be all set.

 

 

The Prisoner: I am not Japanese, but I do kinda look Japanese, don't I? Look at my fine Japanese teeth. I've spent many years watching Godzilla films so that I could learn the ancient art of Japanese teeth magic. These two guys are taking me to the electric chair where my body may die, but my fine Japanese teeth will live on. They will jump out of my mouth, and bite all of these bad people on the ankles. Then they will go out for dinner to eat some fine Japanese sushi. Mwa ha ha!!!***

Actually, this is just the prisoner that gets himself perished in the electric chair at the beginning of the movie. He's Ollie's wife's brother and he killed two women in cold blood. Other than that, he really had nothing else to do with this movie and at last report he's been seen hangin' out down at the homeless shelter where he's currently a resident. Apparently he fell on hard times after he squandered the $1.98 he made from his part in this film on cheap booze and even cheaper women.

***Note: The Japanese teeth magic joke started in my review for Godzilla vs. Monster Zero. I thought it was funny, so I used it again here. I just love recycled humor!

 

 

The Tingler: Well here it is in all it's glory. Ugly little spud isn't it? This is the little beastie that caused all the fuss in this movie. It comes into being when someone is completely terrified, but can't scream to release that emotion. It appears along the spinal column, which it then crushes given enough time. So if you ever get scared and feel a tingle up your spine, now you know what it is. Doesn't that make you feel better?

 

 




The Plot

Dr. Warren Chapin has been studying the effects of fear on the human body for a very long time. While doing an autopsy on a prisoner who had just been executed in the electric chair, he discovers that the man's spine was crushed by some unseen force. Eventually, through a long series of events, Dr. Chapin discovers that the tingle you feel up your spine when you're scared is an actual creature that comes into being attached to the spinal column during intense moments of fear. When Oliver Higgins scares his deaf and mute wife Martha to death and she is not able to scream in fear to cause the dissipation of the creature, Dr. Chapin is able to extract a living tingler from her dead body during the autopsy. What will happen when the tingler gets loose in a crowded movie theater? Let's read on and find out.




What The Hell???
1. To start this off, I'd like to let you all know that I haven't been ignoring Vincent Price all this time. In fact, I have had plans for a long time now to review some Vincent Price movies, but I wasn't sure how I was going to go about it. I had originally planned to have Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine be the first of a series of reviews I did of Vincent Price films. This plan changed however when I realized that this was in fact my 50th review. I knew I just had to do something really special for this one, so I chose The Tingler. In the conclusion of this review, I'll fill you all in on the my first experience with this film way back in 1987. Back then, I could never have realized the importance that this film, as well as many others of it's ilk, would have upon my life in the future. So without further adieu, let's get on with the film.

2. The movie starts with William Castle walking out in front of a blank movie screen. He starts talking about how certain people in the audience will feel, for the first time in motion picture history, the same sensations that the actors on the screen are feeling. Basically what he's talking about here is one of his more notable theater gimmicks called "Percepto" where the seats in the theaters were wired with jumbo joy buzzers in order to make the patrons jump out of their seats at the proper moments. Anyway, he says that at any time you are conscious of a tingling sensation, you may obtain immediate relief by screaming. He goes on to say that a scream at the right time, may save your life. Once he's done talking the screen goes black, and we get this totally hilarious shot of three screaming heads that come floating in out of the darkness. Oh man that was funny. I can just imagine how the theater goers must have felt when they were seeing this movie for the first time back in 1959. Times were so much simpler back then. People were scared so easily by this kind of stuff that I'm surprised no one actually had a heart attack or anything when the buzzers in the seats went off. Then again, maybe they did. Might have been more than a few messed pairs of drawers in the theater too. God, imagine how bad that would stink. Then again, imagine how funny it would be if someone got so scared that they wet their pants and then got electrocuted by the joy buzzer attached to the seat. That'd be enough to make anybody scream!

3. So now the actual movie starts and we see this guy in a jail cell. He's absolutely terrified beyond all reason. A couple of guards come to take him for a drag down the hall towards the electric chair. He's throwin' a killer freak out here. He's screamin' and yellin' and showin' us his teeth. And what fine Japanese teeth they are too! The weird part is, he's not even Japanese! More draggin' and more screamin' and then as they take him through the doorway...hey wait a minute? Wouldn't that doorway be considered death's door? Ok so it's a bad joke. So sue me. Anyway, while they're in there making him not alive anymore, we're taken to the autopsy room where we see the man himself, Vincent Price! So this guy comes into the examination room and Dr. Chapin asks him who he is. He says he's nobody, and then shows the doctor his pass to be in there. The doctor relaxes a bit at that point and he and the man start having a conversation about the electric chair which you can see in the best quote down below. My god that was funny. Anyway, Oliver asks Dr. Chapin why he's doing the immediate autopsy, and the doctor tells him that he's never found it necessary, but it happens to be the law. The doctor has the patient opened up on the table, and he comments on how the patient's vertebrae are cracked and nearly splintered in two. Oliver thinks it was the electricity, but the doctor goes on to explain that he's seen this phenomena in many patients who were deathly frightened just before they died. There's a force in all of us that science knows nothing about. The force of fear. That it's strong enough to shatter the spinal column we know, but what it is, what causes it to appear and disappear we don't know, and that someday he hopes to find out. Oliver says that maybe it's the force that makes your spine tingle when you're scared. Dr. Chapin says that he's ben experimenting with this force for years, but he never had a name for it. Now he think's he'll call it the tingler. He goes on to explain that fear causes great tension in the body, and it only makes sense that if that tension becomes great enough and can't be released, that it could eventually become so great that it could kill you. The doctor's been experimenting with fear for a long time now. As he's filling out the death certificate, he marks down that the patient died of heart failure due to an induced electrical shock. Once he's done with that, he offers Ollie a ride back into town, which Ollie accepts. I guess Ollie's mama never told him not to take rides from strangers.

4. We find ourselves outside of a movie theater now. The marquee on the theater says, "Silent Movies Now Showing Tol-Able David" whatever that means. Dr. Chapin and Ollie come driving up in his car and stop right in front of the theater. Ollie starts commenting on how there aren't very many theaters like this left anymore. He and his wife run the place. He walks over and signs to his wife, who's a deaf mute, that he's going to take the doctor upstairs for some coffee and that he'll open up the theater later. So up in the apartment above the theater, Ollie makes the coffee and they have some small talk about the theater and silent films. His wife Martha comes in at that point and goes to their safe that's in the corner of the apartment and opens it up to put the ticket money into it. From the looks of it ticket sales have been good, because there's a whole bunch of money in the safe. As soon as she get's done putting in the money, she locks it up and runs into the kitchen ignoring everyone and everything her her path, just so she can go to the sink and wash her hands. When she's done doing that, Ollie gets her attention and introduces her to Dr. Chapin. He explains to the doctor that she's deaf and dumb, but she can read lips if you talk directly to her. To be honest, I can think of a lot of guys who wish their wives were mute. But that's a whole different story altogether. The doctor introduces himself to her, but she won't shake his hand because she just got done washing. Now what would be the first word that would pop into your head if someone did that to you? I know what the first thing I'd be thinkin is. BITCH! I know that's what most of you would probably be thinkin' too so don't even try to deny it. Anyway, she starts signing an explanation about why she won't shake hands and Ollie fills in the good doctor on the reason. Ollie hands the doctor some tea and he accidentally drops the saucer and breaks it. He cuts his hand and when Martha sees the blood, she does a pretty stupid lookin' mute freak out and then passes out. The doctor uses some smelling salts to bring her back around, and the first thing she does is run to the safe and open it to make sure all the money's still there. Man, what a psycho bitch from hell! She looks at her watch and then signs to Ollie that they have to open the theater. He tells her to go down and do it and that he'll be down in a few minutes. She wiggles her hands some more and then Ollie explains to the doctor that she won't leave anyone alone with the safe. So the doctor thanks him for asking him up and then apologizes for causing so much trouble. After that he just says his farewells and then leaves. Nothing overly funny or intriguing yet, but I don't want you all to think that the lack of action up to this point means that this movie isn't just cool as hell, because it is. Just hang in there. Things pick up once he discovers the tingler.

***Note: I am adding this note in about a week after this review was first posted. The silent movie that's being shown is actually called Tol'Able David and I have just now discovered that it was a silent American action film and that it's available on DVD. I wasn't aware of this when I was writing this review, so I thought I'd let you all know.

5. Dr. Chapin is home now. He walks in and then a pretty girl in a nice dress comes walking down the stairs. Her name is Lucy, and he asks her where his devoted wife is. In response, she asks him where David is. David is her fella and also Dr. Chapin's assistant. Apparently David spends a lot of late nights at the lab working on some project that they've been doing together. Now, this I just don't understand. This guy David has this really sweet girl at home and he's out working in some stuffy old lab. You know what that says to me? David would probably make a better interior decorator than a scientist if you know what I mean. Maybe that's why he's hangin' out with big Warren at the lab all the time. Or maybe not. Anyway, not only is Dr. Chapin's wife a total shrew, but she's interfering in Lucy and David's relationship, which is totally not cool. It's been a while since I've seen this movie, and I had forgotten what a serious beeotch Dr. Chapin's wife is. Seems that she's constantly going out with other men and Lucy's ashamed of her. The whole thing going on with her and Lucy is that Isabel is Lucy's guardian, and if Lucy doesn't do everything she says, then she doesn't get her share of the inheritance. After some more conversation, David shows up at the house. He greets Lucy and then he tells Dr. Chapin that he got a cat like he had asked for. He had to chase it down an alley, but he finally got it. He also got him the prescription he asked for. It's actually LSD. The doctor is planning on using it in his fear experiments. From what I hear, that's probably a good idea. People see old ladies climbin' on the celing and lamps that talk and all kinds of weird stuff when they're having an acid trip. Anyway, Dr. Chapin tells David about Martha Higgins and about how she's a mute and has a blood terror. She can't express her fear verbally, so she faints. David thinks it would be great if they could get her in front of a fluoroscope and show her some blood. Lucy pipes in at that point and tells David to forget it for now because they're going to dinner. Dr. Chapin starts shoving them both towards the door merrily telling them to go out and have a nice dinner, but then at the last second, he pulls David back in and starts talking about how the farther they go, the more he feels that it must be something tangible. Something you can feel, something you can touch. The only way to tell for sure is to catch someone at the exact moment of absolute terror. David agrees, but Lucy reminds him that he won't be able to discover anything because he'll die of starvation first. So off they go to dinner...finally! And now after all this, things start gettin' good.

6. It's later in the evening now and Dr. Chapin is sitting alone in the dark reading a booklet entitled, "Fright Effects Induced By Injection of Lysergic Acid LSD25 - A Preliminary Report". He looks down at his watch and sees that it's now one o'clock in the morning. He heads on over to the window and looks outside, only to see his wife Isabel out there playing tonsil hockey with her dude d' jour. Warren walks back over to the desk and takes out a gun. He cocks it, and then after he shoves it into his coat pocket, he stands behind the edge of the wall that's next to the desk and waits for his complete bitch of a wife to come traipsing in through the front door. Once she's in, she starts walking up the stairs, and he comes around the corner and says, "Good evening." She says that she wishes that he wouldn't sneak up on her like that, and then he confronts her about what was going on outside. Their conversation is dripping with venom, and after some very nasty words, Isabel decides she wants a drink, so she walks into the other room, gets herself a drink, and sacks herself out on the couch. Warren confronts her about Lucy and David and she says that those two will get married over her dead body. Warren tells her that that's an unconventional option, but quite possible. After some more harsh words, Isabel gets up and tries to leave. Warren flips the man switch at this point and tells her to sit the hell down and listen to him. He tells her what an evil and shrewd woman she is, and that she's gonna give Lucy half of her money and allow her and David to get married. She goes into full on bitch mode at this point and tells him that everything he has is because of her and that she can take it all away with just a turn of the key. He asks her where she got all her money and she says it was her father. Now this is where it gets good. He says that her father was a nice man and that it was a pity that he died so suddenly. She immediately goes on the defensive and says that she had nothing to do with her father's death and that he can't prove a thing. He's all, "But you wouldn't like me to try would you? And you should remember this too darling. Organic poisons are like old soldiers, they never die, they just lay smoldering in the grave. And I'm not too bad at autopsies either." GO VINCE GO! GO VINCE GO! Woohoo!!!!! Now at this point, he pulls the gun on her and walks her into the laboratory. She's starting to freak out at this point, and he tells her that she has a choice. She can either give Lucy half her money and leave her and David alone, or she can commit suicide right now. She's all, "Suicide? You mean murder," and he's all, "When I finish arranging things, it'll look like suicide." She says that she's not going to give Lucy anything so he can just put the gun away, and he tells her that that pistol can put a hole in her the size of a medium grapefruit. She really freaks out at this point, and heads for the door. He shoots, and even though the gun was only loaded with blanks, she faints in sheer terror. He grabs her quickly and puts her on the x-ray table and takes three x-rays of her spine before he finally brings her back around. He tells her that she's all right and that it was only a blank. Man, is she pissed off. He thanks her for assisting him in his experiment and tells her that she played her part beautifully. She says that when her time comes, and it will, it won't be an experiment. Man, if I was him, I wouldn't be eating at home anymore. I'd probably hide all the guns and sharp objects too.

7. It's the next day now and Dave shows up at the house. He brought a dog to scare the cat with, but Warren tells him that it's not necessary. He takes David into the lab and shows him the x-rays. The pictures clearly show a tingler attached to the spinal column. They have a conversation about what it could be and where it could have come from, and then they start talking about how screaming and releasing the fear might somehow weaken or even kill it. Warren says that if they could just find someone who could stand the intense pain without screaming until the moment of death, that it might possibly give them a tingler that they could actually work with. Now I guess my initial reaction would be, "Are you freakin' nuts???" I mean, look at that creepy thing! Not only is it ugly, it's strong enough to crush the bones in your spine! Why the hell would you want to yank one out to play with? I mean morbid curiosity is one thing, but jeez. They did do a good job on the x-ray though. That's why I stuck it in here to show you. You know what the tingler really reminds me of is that thing in Star Trek TNG that was controlling people's minds. It was like a parasite and it was smaller than the tingler, but it looked very similar. I haven't ever heard anything to support it, but I've always wondered if that creature was just a knock off of the tingler. The world may never know.

8. Oh boy! It's tea time now, except they're actually drinking coffee. Lucy just poured David some and then they both commented about how nice Isabel is being to them today and how much it's creeping them out. Warren comes in at this point and joins them for a cup of coffee. He starts talking about how he's been trying to scare himself, but nothing works because he's too grown up. He's thinking that the only way to scare himself enough to make the tingler appear is to make the fear real. David asks him why he wants to do that since they already have an x-ray showing the tingler. He says it's because he wants to feel the true power of the tingler for himself, and if he can do it in a controlled situation, then maybe he can learn the things about it that they need to know. He sets his coffee down and then tells David that he should take the night off and take Lucy to a movie. They agree, but then after he walks out, they start talking about how he's leaving them out of something and they both start getting worried. Being the natural busybodies that they are, they move quickly to the laboratory door. It's locked! But David looks in through the window in the top of the door like a great big snoop and tells Lucy that he sees Warren locking the other door as well. In the lab, Warren walks over to his desk and starts his tape recorder. He pulls out the LSD and reads off the package that the recommended dose is fifteen micro milligrams. He says into the tape recorder mic that he's going to inject himself with one hundred micro milligrams in a solution. Man, he's about to go on one hell of a trip!!! Woohoo!!!!! Let's all get aboard the freak out train!!! Warren keeps talking into the microphone. He starts off by saying that he feels a sharp stinging sensation. Then his vision starts to blur a bit, and then the room starts spinning. After that he begins to feel apprehension. He starts freakin out and talking about how the room is closing in on him. He starts pushing against the walls trying to stop them, even though they're not moving. Lucy wants to go in and help him at this point, but David says that they can't and that the drug has to wear off naturally. If he tries to stop it or use some sort of an antidote, it could kill him. Well now Warren is trying to open a window that's already open and yelling about how it won't open and about how it's barred. Then he backs away from the window and bumps into the skeleton that was hanging behind him. Man he really freaked out when that happened. He's staring at the skeleton and it's getting all blurry. At this point, David finally decides that they have to get in there. Warren is trying desperately not to scream, and he's even biting his hand to try and stop it, but finally the pain becomes too great and he screams like a little bitch. Right after he screams, he passes out on the lab table.

9. Time passes, and David and Lucy are in with him now, and he's recovering from his little trip. He knows that he screamed, and he's all bummed out about it. Things were pretty foggy, but he can remember thinking to himself that he should not scream, but he couldn't help it. He doesn't think that anyone could keep from screaming because of the intense pain and the fear. He doesn't think that anyone could keep from screaming, unless... He says goodnight and walks out. Lucy asks Dave, "Unless what?" and he says to suppose that a person couldn't possibly scream. Lucy says that everyone can scream. David's all, "A deaf mute can't." Now we get to go back to Martha folks. This is where things start getting really exciting. Warren pulls up in front of the theater and starts talking to Ollie. He asks Ollie how Martha is doing and Ollie says that he's worried about her and that ever since she saw that blood, all she does is hang out in the apartment and won't really do anything. He says that she won't even work in the theater box office anymore. Warren asks him if he'd like him to go up and have a look at her. Ollie says he would, and then Warren asks him which drug store they use. Ollie says that they use the discount one down on the corner. Warren thanks him and heads on up to the apartment. Now at this juncture, I could make some joke about Warren going up there to play doctor with Martha. Unfortunately, that's not gonna happen. I can't make that kind of a joke because it just wouldn't be believable. I mean, well...look at her. She's not a handsome woman by any means. Then on top of that, she walks around the house all the time in this absolutely hideous bathrobe that looks like it came from Mu Mu's-R-Us. I mean really...ick! Lucy's about the only attractive woman in this picture, and she's already taken. So I guess the only bones the doc is gonna get in this movie are the ones he's got hanging up in his lab.

10. Warren's in the apartment now. It's all dark because the lights are off. Funny how those two things seem to go together now isn't it? Anyway, he's creepin' around in there and suddenly Martha comes out from around the corner and they both get a good spook when they see each other. He calms her down right away though. She turns on the light and Warren talks directly to her so she can read his lips. He tells her that Ollie asked him to come up and have a look at her to see if she was ok. He asks her if it's all right if he examines her and she agrees. They go in the bedroom and in the next cut, he's telling her that she's ok but he's going to give her a shot to relax her, and then he's going to give Ollie a prescription for some barbiturates for her. She doesn't know what those are, so he explains to her that they're just sleeping pills and they won't hurt her. Sp he gives her the shot and then tells her that all she needs is rest and sleep. She signs to him, "How much?" and he says that he'd just take a couple of passes to their theater. She lays down to rest and he takes off. Warren goes outside and talks to Ollie now. He tells him that she's resting and writes him a prescription for the pills. Ollie says he'll go get it filled and then asks Warren if he has time for a beer. Warren says that he does and then Ollie asks Warren if he would like to join him. Warren says no because he still has some work to finish up. Yeah, I guess if you wanna call creeping the hell out of Martha work, then I guess he really didn't lie now did he?

11. We go into the apartment now. Martha is sleeping on the bed, but wakes up suddenly when the lights go out. She sits up, and then watches as the window closes all by itself. She sits up now, and watches as the rocking chair in the corner starts rocking all by itself, and then the door closes as though it were pushed by unseen hands. Whoooooooooo, scary stuff! Then Martha looks over at the bed under the window. There's someone on it under the covers. She gets up and goes over to it. Can you feel the tension? I know I sure can! Anyway, she throws the blanket back and this man with a horribly disfigured face rises up and spins around to face her. I included a screenshot here just so you can see what she saw.

 


Harry! Have you been bobbing for french fries again???

 

Anyway, she jumps back and he gets up and starts walking towards her. Oh no! He's got a machete lookin' knife too! Whatever will poor Martha do? Well, she leaves the bedroom in a fright and closes the door behind her. Now if it was me, I'd have kicked the snot out of the guy and then given him a machete enema. But since she's not me, you'd think the very least she'd do it get the hell out of the apartment at light speed and go get help. Does she do that? No! She just kinda meanders casually through the apartment with this scared look on her face. Every time she gets near a lamp, it turns off. So the place is totally dark now, and she's got her back up against these double doors. Slowly, one of the doors opens, and this hairy monster hand comes down slowly through the opening holding a hatchet. She backs the hell away over to the opposite wall, and as she watches the hand, it tosses the hatchet at her, which lands and sticks in the small table next to her. The hairy monster arm slowly pulls back into the darkness and the door closes. So now what does she do? Does she leave the apartment yet? Hell no! She runs into the bathroom! The word idiot keeps rolling over and over in my head at this point for some reason. Anyway, she turns around and sees that the water is running. Yep, the water's running all right, only it's not water. It's blood!!! Now this is not only a really slick effect, but it was also an extremely cool one. The blood that's running out of the faucets is actually colorized so it's red!!! How cool is that? Wait, you don't have to guess how cool it is, because I'm gonna show you!

 


Roto Rooter, that's the name you just flush that blood right down the drain.

 

Anyway, you know what happens to her when she sees blood. She freaks out, and then she passes out. Well my friends, she doesn't pass out quite yet. She does get all queasy though, and after bumping off the bathroom door and staggering a bit, she looks down at the bath tub and sees...well, I'm not gonna tell you what it was. I'll just show you.

 


Man, I'd sure hate to be these people's plumber.

 

Again, it's an even cooler effect because the rest of the surroundings are still in black and white. Now you'd really think that seeing this would just totally drive her over the edge, but you'd be wrong. Because the whole tub thing gets even better. Check this out!

 


Well no wonder the tub's all backed up. There's a body stuck in the drain!

 

Yes folks, that's an arm coming up out of the tub. Again, William Castle took a really cool effect and made it even cooler and definitely a whole lot scarier. Now again, you'd think seeing this would push her over the edge, but not quite yet. She has one last thing to see. The medicine cabinet door opens, and tacked to the inside of the door is a death certificate. The information on it is pretty general, but check out the cause of death.

 


It's kinda like the period at the end of a sentence, isn't it?

 

She reaches out to touch the death certificate, and then finally passes out and hits the floor. Now I have so many questions about this whole scene, but I think my two biggest ones are why the hell didn't she just get out of the apartment, and why didn't she faint dead away when she saw the blood running in the sink? I mean, it only took a few drops to make her keel over earlier in the movie. Why'd it take so long this time? I guess the simple answer to that is that they needed more time to use their nifty blood in the black and white movie effect. Anyway, that's the end of the scene. Pretty cool huh?

12. Warren's back home now. He walks in and the phone is ringing. He picks it up, but there's no one on the other end, so he sets it back on the hook and then notices that there's two half empty glasses of booze on the table. He picks them up and looks at them as Isabel comes strolling on in. At this point, we have what was probably the funniest exchange in the whole movie. You can read it down in quote #2 below. Anyway, after that he makes the comment that there's nothing like a two fisted drinker. She asks him how he knows that she didn't make the two drinks for them. He reaches down and picks up a gold tie clip off the table and says, "It's a pity I'm not the type for gold tie clips." After a little more sarcastic banter, Ollie shows up at the door. He comes in lookin' all worried and starts telling Warren about his wife. Warren says they can go see her right away, but Ollie tells him that he has her with him out in the car. The two of them go out and grab her and take her into the lab so Warren can examine her. Ollie says that when he found her on the bathroom floor, she was so cold that he thought she was dead. But then when he picked her up, she moved. Warren examines her and then tells Ollie that she's dead. Ollie starts talking about how he wasn't much of a husband to her and says that now there's no way he can make it up to her. Warren says he's really sorry and asks Ollie if he feels up to helping him with some details so he can fill out the final death report. Ollie says he feels ok, so Warren asks him to tell him as closely as he can the circumstances in which he found her. Ollie fills him in on everything, and then when he's done, Martha's body, which is now covered with a blanket, sits up, and then lays back down slowly. Naturally this freaks both of them out. Warren rushes over, uncovers her, and listens for a heart beat. He tells Ollie she's dead and she has been for over an hour. She died of fright. Ollie's all, "But she moved." and Warren asks him if he minds if he tries to find out why. Ollie tells him to do whatever he needs to do. Warren gets his apron on and rolls up his sleeves. Now he's putting on the rubber colon check gloves, and he moves a curtain over between himself and Ollie who is now sitting down. Isabel is listening at the door as Warren begins the autopsy. Sinister music starts to play as Warren cuts into Martha. Once he gets her open, we see a silhouette through the curtain of him removing the tingler from her back. It's actually bigger than I remember it, and it's totally cool lookin'. Warren calls Ollie over as he comes out from around the curtain. Ollie sees the creature in Warren's hands and instantly recognizes it as the tingler. It's a bit of a stretch that he would just instantly know that that's what it was, but no biggie. Warren tells Ollie to bring over this glass tank for him to put the tingler in. Ollie brings the tank, but Warren wasn't careful how he was handling the creature, so it latched onto his arm with its big pincers. Ollie is just standing there like a big dork holding the case and watching it all. Man, the tingler is really latched on good. At least it was until Warren screamed. Then it dropped off like it was in shock or something. Isabel comes in at this point. She sees the tingler and also finds out what it can do. She gets this smug look on her face, and in all the confusion, she also grabs a little bottle off the counter. Not sure what it was, but it was probably either some poison or the LSD. Warren puts the creature in a strong box while Isabel goes out and drugs his drink with that little bottle that she stole from his lab. Ollie insists that he be allowed to take Martha home and he tells Warren that he'll call the police in the morning and report her death. He didn't want Warren to have to wait up for the coroner's wagon to come. Warren agreed and Ollie took Martha's body home. Isabel comes back in right after he leaves and she's all being like fake-nice to him. She lures him out into the living room and offers him some scotch. He tells her he'd rather have the other glass. He doesn't trust her you see, but it seems that he should have. She knew he'd do that, so she offered him the good glass first. After questioning him about the tingler as he kept getting more and more drowsy, the phone rings, and it turns out to be Ollie on the other end. He just called to let him know that everything was all right. As he's talking, Warren passes out and drops the phone. Isabel grabs it and hangs it up. And let this be a lesson to you folks. Always take the glass you're offered when you know the other person knows that you're going to ask for the other glass. That way you'll never be drugged like our poor old passed out friend, Warren.

13. Back at Ollie's place now, and he's just cleaning up a few odds and ends while his wife is laying on the bed covered up in a sheet. What was he cleaning up you may ask? Well, it was nothing really. Just things like a rubber mask and a small machete. Oh and now he just went and grabbed the hairy monster arm and some other stuff. So just in case you were wondering, she wasn't on an acid trip and she wasn't just plain ol' crazy. Our little milquetoast friend Ollie has been up to some nasty shenanigans, and now he's just going about cleaning up the mess. I never thought the wimpy little bugger had it in him.

14. Back at the Chapin household now, where we find Warren all sacked out on the couch while his sweet, wonderful wife brings in the strong box that the tingler is locked up in, and sets it down on the floor near the couch. She opens up the lid and bails outta there real quick. That was probably a good idea too, because the tingler, assisted by a plainly visible wire, just climbed out of the box and is now being pulled by those same said wires up onto Warren's unconscious body. Don't let the fact that you can see the wires put you off though, because the whole look is still cool as hell. It's on his chest now. It's mandibles just locked around his throat and it's choking him to death. Just then, Lucy comes walking in, and hearing him choking she comes running into the living room. She sees what's going on and she screams really damn loud three times. The tingler falls off of Warren and hits the floor. Disaster averted. Woohoo!

15. It's the next day now. Warren and David are in the lab now. They just got done trying to burn the creature, and like their other experiments on it, the fire had no effect. Warren explains to David why he's not going to release his findings in any medical journals or anywhere else for that matter. It's because the tingler is an ugly and dangerous thing that we can't destroy because we've removed it from it's natural place. Warren is surmising that if they put it back where it came from, it may either shrink back up to nothing and disappear, or it'll just die. Outside of the body that created it, it cannot be destroyed. He tells David to call Ollie so they can find out where his wife is buried. While David is trying to make the call, Lucy comes in and tells him that Isabel has packed her things and left. No big loss there now is it? You can tell he's really broken up about it too. About as broken up as an exterminator is about killing a cockroach. David can't seem to get a hold of Ollie, so he calls the police and the hospital. Neither one had even heard a report of her death. Warren heads over to Ollie's apartment with the tingler to put it back where it came from. Once he gets there, he confronts Ollie and discovers the stuff that Ollie used to scare his wife to death. He then goes into the bedroom and finds her body. Ollie tries to explain why he did it, but while all this is going on, the tingler breaks out of the box and escapes though a loose floorboard. Where does the hole in the floor lead you may ask? Why, it leads down into the theater of course. Where the hell else would it lead?

16. Down in the theater, there's a crowd in there watching a silent film. I'm not sure what the film is, and I can't find any reference to the title they used for it on the marquee on IMDB, so I'm almost wondering if it was just something they made for this particular film, or if it's a real silent movie. Doesn't really matter I guess, but it would be kind of interesting to know. Anyway, the crowd is happily enjoying the movie, and one guy is even trying to get frisky with his girl while they watch. He tries to put his arm around her three different times, but she keeps pushing him away. Finally she gets up and moves one seat away so he'll leave her alone. The tingler is actively walking through the theater at this point looking for an unsuspecting victim. The silent film that plays during this part is shown quite a bit and it's actually quite funny. Uh oh! The tingler just tried to climb up that prude girl's leg and she screamed and it fell off. I'd fall off too as shrill as that scream was. Warren turned off all the lights in the theater and made an announcement that a young lady had fainted and that she was being attended to by a physician. Then he told everyone to remain calm and seated before he turned the power back on and the movie continued. Now I can't imagine that the chick would have fainted after all that screaming, and even if she did, she wouldn't be out for all that long. She would have had to tell someone at some point what had happened. Doesn't really matter though. They just found out where the tingler is. It's up in the projection booth. How did they find that out? Well the film breaking and a silhouette of the tingler wiggling across the screen was probably a pretty good clue. The lights all go out at this point and Warren starts yelling at everyone to scream for their lives and that the tingler is loose in the theater. Now this was the part in the movie where the joy buzzers in the seats would kick in and everyone in the real theater watching this movie would start screaming like they were insane. I would have loved to have been able to experience this live. Everyone's screaming now and finally Warren tells them that they can stop and that the tingler has been paralyzed. They go running up to the projection booth at that point. In the projection booth, the tingler has the projectionist around the throat, but he manages to scream just at the last second and paralyze it. It falls to the floor just as Warren and Ollie come rushing in. They grab a metal film canister, stuff the tingler in it, and then they head straight back to Ollie's apartment.

17. Back at the apartment, Warren puts the tingler back into Martha and then tells Ollie that it's time for him to go to the police, and that he's going to go with him this time. Ollie's trying to rationalize the murder since he didn't actually kill her with a knife or a gun or anything. He asks Warren if he think's they'll electrocute him. Warren tells him that he's neither judge nor jury, and then tells him that it's time for them to go. Ollie pulls a gun out of the drawer and tells him that he's not going. Warren leaves to call the police even though Ollie has a gun pointed at him. He trusted in Ollie's inability to commit cold blooded murder, and it paid off, because Ollie didn't shoot him. Warren walks out of the building, and then the scene cuts back to Ollie in the apartment. Suddenly the window closes and the door slams shut Martha stands up and Ollie backs against the wall with a complete look of terror on his face. She comes closer, and we see him again, terrified beyond all comprehension, and then...the movie ends. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened to Ollie though now does it?




Best Quotes

Ollie: "Does it always kill them...in, in the chair?"
Warren: "I've never heard of it failing."
Ollie: "Well in the chair...does it hurt them?"
Warren: "Not if it's done properly. At least I don't think so."
Ollie: "Even a slight shock hurts."
Warren: "Try putting an electrode soaked in saline solution on your head and another one strapped to your leg and then slamming two thousand volts between them. If it hurts let me know."



- Oliver asking Warren about the electric chair and it's effects. - (Reviewer's Note: Uh, no thanks doc. I'll just have to take your word for it on that one.)

 


 

Warren: "Did you hear what the little husband said to the big wife?"
Isabel: "Is this another one of your oblique jokes?"
Warren: "He said why does the back door slam every time I come in the front door?"



- Warren inquiring about his wife's social activities that she partakes in while he's away. - (Reviewer's Note: Damn dude! I just love intensely witty sarcasm!)

Video Clip
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The Tingler
Ever had something that looked like a cross between a turd, a lobster and an earwig attached to your arm? Well Vincent Price has. And let me tell you, it wasn't very pleasant.



The Conclusion
Ok, I've been working on this review for well over three weeks now because I've been going though some serious burnout and I just haven't felt like doing much of anything. I apologize that the What the Hell??? section is not up to my usual standards, but I did my best with it considering how I've been feeling. I'm starting to get over my burnout, so hopefully the next review will come out better.  Now, since this is my 50th review, so I really wanted to do something special for it, and what could be more special than a Vincent Price movie?

I first saw this movie when I was sixteen years old and I was working at a fantasy convention. They showed the movie on a smallish screen in a small auditorium area at the convention. Everyone goofed on it and a good time was had by all. They even had a remote control tingler that they ran through the audience during the movie theater scene. That was really cool, but it was only a shadow of how cool it must have been to actually be in a theater where William Castle had wired up the seats with giant joy buzzers. I really wish I could have been alive when these kinds of theater gimmicks were used in the theaters. I mean really, what do we have nowadays that even remotely compares to the great theater gimmicks that William Castle came up with for his movies? Not a damn thing, and that's the problem. It's not fun to go to the movies anymore. What do you get when you go to the movies nowadays? Overpriced snacks, commercials before the film...and that's about it. Where's the fun in that? And for that you have to pay eight or more bucks, which is why I rarely ever go to the movies anymore. I have a lot more fun watching these old classics from the comfort of my own living room than I ever have watching big budget Hollywood flicks in some overpriced theater.

So what makes this movie so special? Well it's a lot of things actually. The acting in this film was quite good, and Vincent Price was amazing as usual. The rest of the cast did a really great job as well with the singular exception of Judith Evelyn who played Martha Higgins. Her acting was horrible, and the only saving grace in the whole thing is that she played a mute and we didn't have to listen to her giving a line delivery that matched up with the completely unbelievable way she played her part as a deaf mute. She was like the turd in the punchbowl, and I really believe they could have found a better actress to play this role. Did it detract from the greatness of the movie? No, not really, but she didn't really add to it either.

The creature was seriously cool looking and even though you could clearly see the wires at times, it didn't detract from it in the least. In fact, it only served to make the movie even more fun than it already was. Now why was I able to spot the wires that were attached to the tingler? I spotted them because the quality of the film transfer was really nice. I think my only complaint about this DVD, and it's not really that much of one, is that they used a noise gate when they were mastering the sound, which means that every time there was a sound, the gate would open and you'd hear the white noise come to the surface. As soon as the sound would stop, the white noise would stop. At various points, there was only a minor sound, but it was enough to kick the gate and suddenly the hiss would come back up. You probably won't really notice this unless you've got the sound turned way up. Aside from this one minor thing, the DVD is great with a lot of great extras.

The Tingler has a class and a style that makes it stand out amongst classic horror films. This movie isn't as goofy as some of the other movies that are similar in plot and story, but it does have a certain quality that fills you with a really special feeling when you watch it. It really makes you feel like you're sharing in a real piece of cinematic history.

I knew before I even started this review what rating I was going to give this film. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that I'm giving this movie a very heart felt...

B-Movie Central's Rating: 5 Bees!

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