The Tingler

The Tingler ★★★

This is a pretty good sci-fi horror from the 50s. At its best, it is unconventional and surprising. At its worst it sidesteps inevitable behavior and circumstances for the sake of forcing ahead the prescribed plot. The story seems to include no fewer than three murderous characters, including the lead (Vincent Price), although Price's character is ultimately let off this hook. This is a welcome alternative to the typical singular villain. The red color in the film is completely unexpected and a very effective manifestation of horror. I also like how the creature is used to give physical form to fear itself. However, while I like the classic Doctor Who-style cheesy special effects for this fear incarnate, its threat is slight. All it takes to paralyze it is to scream. The marginal details are more interesting to me than the main plot—that Dr. Chapin's adulterous wife murdered her father, that Dr. Chapin himself has it in him to do whatever is required for science, and that Ollie follows in the footsteps of his brother-in-law to become a murderer. All in all, it's more than a one-note story and a lot of fun.

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