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The Tingler

William Castle

American director and producer William Castle charmed Hollywood horror audiences throughout the '50s and '60s with his fun, kitschy delights. We’re delighted to be screening what is possibly his best known film, The Tingler, in celebration of its 60th anniversary, just in time for Halloween.

"Classic American Halloween entertainment..."

The legendary Vincent Price plays Warren Chapin, a pathologist who discovers the shocking truth about how human beings experience fear – in short, that chilling sensation you feel is actually due to a small creepy-crawly called (wait for it) a Tingler, which attaches itself to the spine of human beings. Appropriately, the only way to stop the millipede-like creatures from growing stronger and killing their hosts is to let rip and scream. Despite its ludicrously schlocky premise, this film is decidedly adult, boasting a tone somewhere between amusingly spooky and genuinely nasty, as well as a cast of duplicitous, self-serving characters, and bizarrely enough, a scene which is recognised as one of the first onscreen depictions of an LSD trip.

In keeping with his wonderful sense of gimmickry and showmanship, Castle developed a technology for this film which he named Percepto!, where cinema seats would vibrate along with the onscreen action, mimicking the physical effects of a Tingler, as well as hiring actors to pretend to faint during certain screenings. While we can’t quite offer the same novelty here at DCA, The Tingler is still classic American Halloween entertainment best enjoyed with an audience, with handsome black and white photography, a riotous, self-aware finale set inside a cinema and of course, Price gleefully hamming it up.