The Tingler

The Tingler ★★★★

So much damn fun. The Tingler is so far my favorite William Castle film along with Strait-Jacket, and easily my favorite of his in-theater gimmickry endeavors. Maybe it's because I've been starved of the theatrical experience, but seeing so much enthusiasm for transforming a movie into a multi-dimensional affair was like a Cupid's arrow to my heart. Because television was kicking cinema's ass in the 1950s, we got this narrow window of 4D events that were designed to revitalize the theater business. And to see it today when theaters are once again in need of revitalization (although for some it's already too late), it feels profound and triumphant, tacky as it may be. It's bending over backwards to be interactive, which totally undoes its post-release longevity in terms of functionality, but is ultimately so watchable for its novelty and charmingly dated ambition.

Plus, there are so many layers to The Tingler beyond that lumpy little monster, like the toxic relationship between Vincent Price and his diabolical wife, or the fact that there are actual twists and turns of the whodunnit variety. It kind of outdoes itself.


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