Film Review: The Tingler (1959)

Release Date: July 29th, 1959
Directed by: William Castle
Written by: Robb White
Music by: Von Dexter
Cast: Vincent Price, Judith Evelyn, Darryl Hickman, Patricia Cutts, Philip Coolidge, William Castle

William Castle Productions, Columbia Pictures, 82 Minutes


“Ladies and gentlemen, please do not panic! But scream! Scream for your lives!” – Dr. Warren Chapin

The Tingler was another William Castle picture that relied on the viewer watching it in a gimmicked movie theater with chairs that shock you and things that fly towards you from the screen. As with all gimmicky Castle pictures, the original theatre experience must have been really fun.

However, watching this sixty-two years later on a television doesn’t quite do the film justice or come close to what Castle crafted. But he probably didn’t envision streaming services in 1959 or VHS, DVD and Blu-ray for that matter.

Still, this is a fun, kind of bonkers movie. Being that it stars horror icon Vincent Price, makes it worth watching, even if the film’s full effect can’t be experienced.

The story is about this creature that lives along your spine in your lower back. The actual creature is way to big to be on your spine undetected, though. So one has to severely suspend disbelief there. However, this creature is strong as shit and can actually break your limbs or crush your throat if it feels like it. The only defense to this seemingly invincible parasite is to scream.

So the film really leans into the screaming gimmick. If you’re in the theatre and your seat gives you a little shock, you’re supposed to scream as loud as possible. Granted, I’m not doing that in my condo with my asshole neighbors next door and above, as old Floridians like to tattle tale about every minor thing they perceive as disrupting their vegetative state of living. Actually, they could probably benefit from a William Castle production but now I’m on a tangent.

Anyway, the movie may be a gimmick that I can’t fully experience but it’s still an amusing relic that’s an entertaining watch for those who like stuff like this.

Rating: 6/10

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