The Tingler

The Tingler ★★★★

Man, I would have fucking LOVED to have seen this in a packed cinema back in the day. Castle appeared to have been an absolute master at manipulating an audience and even from my loftier position of over 50 extra years of cynical and jaded cinematic experiences, I reckon I'd have been well and truly suckered in by his magically OTT theatrics.

But lets forget about all the showmanship of electrified chairs to jolt the audience, lets just look at the film. An insane mix of urban '50s melodrama (cheating wives, husbands at the end of their tether), jet black comedy (the husbands think nothing of murderous intent to ease their marital strife....don't we all?) and scientifically inaccurate creature feature (all humans have a microscopic organism in them that grows when they're scared and only the act of screaming shrinks these beasties back down to size...….erm 'kay), this was an utter fucking hoot.

Coming across like a blend of atomic age sci-fi beastie flick and Price's Corman gothic-ness, we get some lovely set up (introduction to a deaf mute who can't scream......see where this is headed????), hilarious setpieces (Price off his fucking face on LSD is a joy to behold) and some genuine real cinematic inventiveness (the psychedelic visions of the mute, including a very unexpected and incredibly realised splash of colour).

But first and foremost its narrative insanity heaped on top of narrative insanity - the first scene sees the brother in law of a just executed prisoner wonder in to his autopsy and strike up a lovely conversation while watching his dead relative being hacked up.....and this kind of illogical randomness cuts across the whole damn film.

Throw in some joyously meta winks to both previous creature features (did Price really just make a fucking gag about his arm feeling like it was caught in a hydraulic press????? Genius) and to cinema (fourth wall breaking ahoy with the beastie loose in a cinema at the end!) and this was 80-odd minutes of joyous 50s creature feature. Forget the tricks, this film worked hugely well without them thank you very much.

Although if I could just get some car batteries hooked up to my sofa's and get the wife to watch I may be on to something...…. :)

Mark liked these reviews