Blu-ray Review: THE TINGLER

THE TINGLER was produced and directed by William Castle from a screenplay by Robb White and stars Vincent Price, Judith Evelyn, Philip Coolidge, Darryl Hickman, Patricia Cutts and Pamela Lincoln.

In The Tingler, Vincent Price stars as an obsessed doctor who discovers a parasitic creature which grows on the spinal cords of terrified people. If they scream, the Tingler can be destroyed. If they don’t, it will sever the spinal column and kill them. He successfully isolates and removes the Tingler from a deaf mute (Judith Evelyn) who has been scared to death by her devious husband. Once captured, the Tingler escapes and runs amok in a crowded movie theater. Terror is loose, but can it be stopped?

The Tingler is legendary horror director William Castle’s magnum opus. After the success of House On Haunted Hill, Castle devised a new gimmick called “Percepto.” Participating theaters would wire seats so that random moviegoers would get a tangible electric shock during climactic moments in the film. Another novelty used to maximum effect is the short color sequence depicting blood pouring from a faucet and filling a bathtub. Castle went on to direct more cult classics like Homicidal and 13 Ghosts and later produced the mainstream hit Rosemary’s Baby.

This 1959 chiller follows Dr. Warren Chapin (Vincent Price) who makes a shocking discovery that the spine-chilling sensation that people get from fear is due to a parasite that he calls – The Tingler! The good doctor thinks he’s found a way to extract the creature from a person and this is where Oliver Higgins (Philip Coolidge) comes in because he’s terrified his mute wife to death. The poor woman becomes the doctor’s new test subject where he’s able to separate the creature from the body but he realizes that keeping it secure is the hard part. The Tingler ends up being a menace and the only thing that can stop it are loud screams. It even escapes down into a theater full of moviegoers but Dr. Chapin is hot on the trail and is able to wrangle up the creature and get it back to his laboratory before it does any more damage. He’s able to replace The Tingler back on the body of the deceast and in the end Oliver Higgins gets his own terrifying dose of karma when his dead wife is reanimated courtesy of – The Tingler.

The front of the packaging features the classic artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features an image from the movie. The Blu-ray disc also features some of its own individual artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for the high-definition disc were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio for this release.

Bottom line is, The Tingler was another first time watch for me and I had a blast with this cheesy William Castle horror classic. Scream Factory has cranked out a lot of Vincent Price movies over the years with those three awesome box sets and now we’ve gotten another slice of cinematic classic gold with The Tingler. This is one of Castle’s gimmick movies that would get the audience involved and it also reminds me a lot of Matinee that Shout! Select released last year. This movie not only gets the audience involved but Castle even included a little rare color in this black & white feature. As cheesy as the movie and its creature is, it’s Vincent Price who puts on a show and makes everything believable. The over-the-top story about where this thing actually comes from and that everybody has one inside of them is just flippin crazy but it’s part of the charm.  The practical effects are about as cheap as it gets because this thing is nothing more than a rubber lobster/insect looking thing that gets dragged around by a string – and I love it! As cheesy as this movie is it is also so much fun and I so glad I got the opportunity to check it out. The Tingler will make its Blu-ray debut on August 21st.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 82 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: Good Stuff! The extras include some new audio commentary, two new interviews and some bonus content that’s been imported over from previous home video releases.

  • NEW Audio Commentary by author/historian Steve Haberman
  • NEW I Survived The Tingler – an interview with Pamela Lincoln (04:10)
  • NEW Unleashing “Percepto” – an interview with publicist Barry Lorie (02:58)
  • Scream for Your Lives! William Castle and “The Tingler” – vintage featurette (15:38)
  • William Castle’s Drive-In “Scream!” audio (00:50)
  • Original “Scream” Scene (00:45)
  • The original 1959 theatre lobby recording (02:39)
  • Theatrical Trailer (02:23)
  • Still Gallery (05:53)


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