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The Tingler (1959) - Blu-ray Review

5 beers

Films like William Castle's are sorely missed these days.  Especially when the object of the terror winds its way into a movie theater. The Tingler is in the audience!  What fun!  Highlighted by a crazy scene in which a mute woman is targeted and nearly tortured in her own bathroom - where blood gushing into a sink and then filling a bathroom are in color (while the rest of the film is in black and white) become a neat trick, The Tingler remains one of William Castle's best known films.  It is frightfully unforgettable.   

A scream at the right time may save your life.  That is the advice we get from producer and director William Castle at the onset of The Tingler.  It is during his opening monologue, the one he filmed for audiences in 1959, taking his cue from the introduction to Frankenstein.  Known for his gags, this film was a first for audience interaction as some seats in the house were wired with buzzers, giving some filmgoers quite the tingle at certain times in the movie.  And those individuals just had to scream, causing all other patrons to do the same.

"remains one of William Castle's best known films. It is frightfully unforgettable."

A screaming audience meant big bucks for Castle.  No one who left this movie was disappointed.  At all.  And now, thanks to the horror hounds and ghostly ghouls over at Scream Factory, The Tingler lives on … in HD.  Castle’s film, looking all sorts of detailed and crisp, definitely lives up to the hype.  It is a charming cult classic of campy flicks that never once falls short in its efforts to entertain and thrill. 

Castle is not wrong either: people should scream.  The working theory of this movie, though, claims that if we don’t scream then we might just die of real shock.  And this psychochemical escape as Vincent Price describes it can produce a real monster.  This demented black and white thriller stars Price as  Dr. Warren Chapin, a pathologist who makes a huge discovery about the very nature of fear.  It turns out that fear – or just the right amount of it – produces something very real inside all of us.  And it can’t wait to kill us all. {googleads}

Co-starring Darryl Hickman, Patricia Cutts, Pamela Lincoln, this trek through back alleys in search of black cats is all about the search for a parasite that we all produce at times of total sock is all sorts of twisted.  And in Price’s hands, the research turns from charming to psychotic as only he can deliver.  Corpses and cowards surround him.  None of that stops him from having real compassion as he loses, with each passing day, concern for real people. 

His research is everything and when he discovers a series of broken bones in jailhouse cadavers, he is all the more convinced that fear is more than just a response.  There is something physical that is being produced in these moments of release.  That’s right; our tensions can actually kill but, in his hands – hands that aren’t afraid to point a gun at his unfaithful wife – his experiments take real lives.  And it is all to prove that something he calls “the tingler” is very, very real.

The Tingler (1959) - Blu-ray Review

And the parasite can be contained.  But should it be?  Crawling upon our spine column, this “tingle” is all sorts of crazy.  It is more dense than bone, visible by x-ray, and yet it is dormant until fear alone energizes it, giving it strength.  And it can only be dissolved by screaming.  This means that deaf mutes are quickly going to become the good doctor’s target.  Fortunately, he knows one.  Uh oh.  And, yes, death and destruction follows as a tingler in captivity becomes the name of his game – no matter the cost.

Willing to die for science?  The Tingler is your ticket to ride. 


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The Tingler (1959) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
82 mins
: William Castle
Robb White
Vincent Price, Judith Evelyn, Darryl Hickman
: Horror
Memorable Movie Quote: "So look out, the roof is going to fall in."
Theatrical Distributor:
Columbia Pictures Corporation
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 29, 1959
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 21, 2018
Synopsis: Vincent Price stars as an obsessed doctor who discovers that fear manifests itself as 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?


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The Tingler (1959) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- August 21, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English
English: DTS-HD Mono track
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

In typical low-budget fashion, the 1080p transfers on good within limits.  Scream Factory actually does better than Columbia did, though.  Levels are strong throughout, with black levels holding inky and shadows defined. Of particular note is the fact that the hi-definition upgrade in video and audio quality over the previous releases makes this release  easy to recommend, particularly when it’s available at such a low price for customers. Just don’t expect anything visually striking.  The film is presented in English language DTS-HD Mono track



  • There is a brand new commentary with Film Historian Steve Haberman.  You will be educated.

Special Features:

Scream Factory, in their round of Castle productions, do not disappoint.  Fans get lots of NEW supplemental material concerning one of Castle’s best films, including NEW interviews with the cast and crew.

• I Survived The Tingler – An Interview With Pamela Lincoln

• Unleashing "Percepto" – An Interview With Publicist Barry Lorie

• Scream For Your Lives! William Castle And "The Tingler" – Vintage Featurette

• William Castle's Drive-In "Scream!" Audio

• Original "Scream" Scene

• The Original 1959 Theatre Lobby Recording

• Theatrical Trailer

• Still Gallery


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The Tingler (1959) - Blu-ray Review