The Tingler

1959 William Castle science fiction horror movie

Rating: 14/20

Plot: Dr. Chapin's been experimenting with the source of human fear for a long time, sacrificing his relationship with his wife and maybe even his credibility. He's able to capture x-ray images of a creature that moves along the spine when somebody is scared, a creature whose only weakness is the human scream. Chapin stumbles upon an easily-frightened deaf woman and gets the opportunity to further study the Tingler.

This is considered a bad movie, but I just don't see it. It's got a great role for Vincent Price as the doctor, it's stylish, the story is original and interesting, there are some really creative visual effects including an innovative use of color, it includes a depiction of an LSD trip, and it's called The Tingler. I like the dynamics between the characters, and there's some good dialogue between Price's character and his wife. The soundtrack is also very strong even as it seems plagiarized from Hitchcock's films. Are there some goofy moments? Sure. I guess the schlockiest thing about this is the Tingler itself, sort of an indestructible centipede thing that bounces along the floor clumsily. And there's also, of course, the gimmickry. Castle planted screamers in the audience and used electrical shocks to give theater-goers a more multi-sensory experience. There's a really cool moment when the screen is completely dark and the only soundtrack is Vincent Price's voice and lots of screaming. I wouldn't try to argue that it's not cheesy, but at the same time, it's entirely possible that it's the greatest moment in the history of cinema. It's been a while since I've seen a Vincent Price movie. Every time I see one, I'm reminded that he is one of the greatest talents of all time. Anybody who can, without even the slightest giggle, say the lines he had to say during his film career deserves special recognition.

1 comment:

winter rates said...

yeah I thought this was a genuinely awesome flick as well... i wish i saw it in one of those theatres they wired up with electrical tinglers....