The Tingler

The Tingler ★★★

Wonderfully entertaining "B" movie from Columbia deals with a silly subject but director Castle and star Vincent Price pull it off and deliver one of the most memorable horror films from this period.

Price plays Dr. Warren Chapin, a man who discovers that everyone has a small creature on the back on their spine, which he eventually calls The Tingler. This creature, when the person is scared, is what might lead to death unless they can scream loud enough to paralyze the thing.

What's so entertaining about this film is the actual thought of a creature on your spine. That sets up for a campy movie and most films would have played it for camp value but Price and Castle instead play it straight and that's what makes this film hold up after all these years. A lot of movies from this era are just downright silly and they come off as being such. That's not the case here because of Price's wonderful performance and he's so good that you really don't care how silly the story is because he makes you believe in what you're seeing.

I love the way Price delivers his line with the best example coming when he's trying to get his wife to sign over some cash to her sister. Another memorable sequence is Price's LSD trip, which was a first for mainstream cinema. We also have the famous death sequence, which had a few color scenes added to it. These scenes still remain rather effective, which is just more credit for the director. The supporting players deliver some nice performances but there's no question that the film belongs to Price.

I think he did the horror genre a great service because he was an incredibly talented man who, luckily for us, got put into this genre and really delivered some of its most memorable roles.