The Tingler

1959

The Tingler

Critics Consensus

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76%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 17

66%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,016
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Movie Info

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.

Cast

Vincent Price
as Dr. Warren Chapin
Philip Coolidge
as Oliver 'Ollie' Higgins
Darryl Hickman
as David Morris
Patricia Cutts
as Isabel Stevens Chapin
Judith Evelyn
as Mrs. Higgins
Pamela Lincoln
as Lucy Stevens
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Critic Reviews for The Tingler

All Critics (17) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (4)

Audience Reviews for The Tingler

  • Jul 22, 2011
    8.3/10 It's almost impossible to imagine that any horror fan would not find "The Tingler" to be a fun, admirably campy horror flick. It opens with a monologue of warning from its director, William Castle, who seems to be telling us of what a gift it is to be able to simply scream. Watching the film only helped me to realize, furthermore, what he meant by this. Castle made his movie for fans of the genre, and fans of science-fiction too. It combines the two genres like some sort of miracle; an ingeniously fun and stupendously absurd movie that might exist only for the sake of being quirky. But some movies can get around just by being strange, weird oddities; this is one of them. I thought it was quite spectacular; crafty, campy fun. And that's all it needs to be. I went crazy for this thing. The problem at the core of "The Tingler" comes from the ever-so-tempting curiosity of man. A pathologist (Vincent Price) discovers through much research that there is a parasite-like creature within all of us. It resides in our spinal area; feeding off of our fear, and controlled/restrained only by our screams. Price's character names his discovery "The Tingler". The creature has a good chance at killing its host, as it curls up slowly as it feeds off of our terror. That explains that "tingling feeling" in our spines when we are afraid, I suppose. Anyways, back to the story. The creature evades its captors many times, eventually finding its way into a theater full of people - young and old alike. So I've basically described the entire plot of "The Tingler", and without a spoiler warning. I didn't provide such an "essential thing" because there's really no way of writing this review without spoiling a good deal of the "story". It's not how the story is told and where it does, it is about the execution; and let me tell you, this film is unlike most of its kind. It isn't flashy, it has good-scene-after-good-scene, and Price is a creepy, eerie presence as always. My favorite scene in the film was one where one of the characters' mute wife witnesses a red hand rise from an equally red bath-tub. This film is remembered because the entire film, except for this sequence, is presented in black-and-white colors. This change-in-color gives the film a shockingly surreal feeling, and we all know how awesome surrealism is. In the end of the day, it's always welcome. But this is a monster movie, so I should be getting to its critter about now. If you're wondering whether the "Tingler" itself ranks amongst some of the best movie monsters, it doesn't. It's like a huge, somewhat deformed centipede; and it is admittedly creepy and icky, as it should be, but the only real problem is that there's only one of them; so it can't be all that scary. But maybe I shouldn't be complaining; this is a rather wonderful film. For its kind, it is flawlessly crafted, competently acted, well-edited, and so on and so forth. So I like the idea behind "The Tingler". I also liked the direction and execution. I also liked the self-aware silliness of the script. This is a film crafted with such charm, that it's impossible for a guy like me to resist its guilty-pleasures. It is a monster movie, made how I like them; discreet, nicely-crafted, and in black-and-white, which shall always be king. I recommend "The Tingler", as well as you're willing to suspend your disbelief and go along for the ridiculous ride. The film may indeed have many flaws, but I saw very few. It is what it is; does what it does, and for what it does, it does it well.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 17, 2010
    This is a absurd and fun film. Price is a doctor who believes people have a creature that grows inside of them every time they get scared, and he's right it's called The Tingler!!! The movie is entertaining, but with the gimmicks that William Castle added to the film turns it into a great movie theater experience. I saw this at the Film Forum in NYC with tingling chairs, psychedelics, flying skeletons, and planted actors in the theater to intensify the experience. If you watch it on TV it has some camp value and you will enjoy it, but if you get a chance to see it in the theater with PERCEPTO do not pass it up.
    cody f Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    This is one of those movies that you like because they're cheesy and silly. Castle's horror films were all gimmicky, and this one is no exception, but his gimmicks are fun and sort of give his films a cult status. I like this movie.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Jul 13, 2010
    Scientifically sound stuff here. As most of you are aware we all have a tiny bug inside us that grows when we are scared, the only way to stop it from killing us is to scream. Screaming reduces its size. This is the wonderfully bonkers plot of The Tingler. Produced and directed by William Castle, this is a film that was made with gimmicks in mind. Castle was the kind of man to send skeletons on zip-wires and pay people to scream. It's evidenced here by an introduction by Castle. So this doesn't have the effect of the cinema, though I'm sure that was hardly terrifying itself. The film has some nice twists I didn't see coming, and Price's performance is very serious and believable. He isn't camping it up here.It takes a while to get going, but the freak-out scene had some bizarre creepy moments like a beasts arm throwing an axe. It's more interesting than it had to be, considering the gimmicks it was created for.
    Luke B Super Reviewer

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