We head back into the gimmick-laden world of scaremaster William Castle tonight on MeTV- with the double dynamite of a film featuring the great Vincent Price- and a creepy creature that supposedly lies in wait inside us all, patiently dormant until we are given a strong fright- which can unleash the power of- “the Tingler”!
This 1959 horror introduces us to Price as Dr. Warren Chapin , a pathologist juggling his research on the effects of fear on humans with his stressful interactions with his unfaithful, scheming wife. He finds comfort in his warm relationship with his wife’s young sister and her boyfriend , who helps him in his work. The doctor does the autopsy on a man who went to the electric chair- and is shocked (not like the victim) to find his spine has been shattered- electricity wouldn’t do that. Chapin theorizes that something tied in with fear itself makes that happen- and playing off the fact that one’s spine tingles in such situations-he has named that something “the Tingler”.
He has met the executed mans’ brother- Ollie- a weird little man who runs a theatre specializing in silent films. Ironically, Ollie’s wife is also silent- a deaf mute- and while the doctor is visiting and accidentally cuts himself, the woman faints at the sight of his blood! Chapin theorizes that she does so as a release from her fear- and that, her being unable to scream- perhaps it’s screaming that diminishes the Tingler’s power. He heads home, only to observe his wife cheating with some other man- and, stages a confrontation that will trigger fear in the horrid woman. He then x-rays her, which shows him that some bizarre centipede-like creature grows on the spine as fear sets in- he has discovered the actual Tingler!
Chapin, eager to learn more about fear, subjects himself to an LSD trip ( the first ever depicted on film!)- to no avail- but quite the opposite happens at the apartment of Ollie and his wife- when she awakens to all sorts of unexplainable ( or are they?) horrors- and the poor mute woman dies of fright! Ollie brings her body to Chapin, who performs an autopsy- and finds the now-enlarged Tingler on her spine. He removes it and , after some slight turmoil, imprisons it in a box. Of course, the Tingler ends up on the loose again and again- eventually in the silent movie theater, where Chapin’s theory that the only defense against the creature is to scream is put to the ultimate test!
This is another film that Sven fans have asked to see- and both those familiar with Castle’s films and first-time viewers will enjoy the exploitative horror. Just as we explained the gimmick used in “13 Ghosts”, we also explain how Castle’s presentation of “Percept-o” worked- introduce you to our cast, and offer you a home tutorial that will tickle your tonsils- as well as bringing you a new song! We also discuss the appearance of some color in the black and white movie- about which there are all sorts of theories, some incredibly far-fetched.
"The Tingler” starts tingling tonight on MeTV at 8 pm eastern/pacific, 7 central, or if you’re unsure of when we run in your area, check time and channel in your local listings or at www.metv.com . MeTV reminds you- if you join the legions of Sven fans live-Tweeting during the show on Twitter, always use the hashtag #svengoolie. In the Chicago viewing area, "Gargoyles" takes flight, one last time, at 11 am on WCIU, the U.
Still for sale in our store, along with the “so much sleeve” long sleeved Sven tees, are the Sven costume t shirts- suitable to wear even outside the Halloween season! A special piece of merchandise could be looming on the horizon as well…maybe…possibly….
Get set to feel a sign in your spine tonight on MeTV- and be ready to scream for your life!