“Remember: if you scream at just the right time, it might just save your life”
When researching the effects of fear on the human body, Dr. Warren Chapin (Vincent Price) discovers the presence of a creature he names “the Tingler”, which lives in our vertebrae and is rendered harmless by screaming.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Mad Doctors and Scientists
- Mutant Monsters
- Science Fiction
- Vincent Price Films
- William Castle Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this “pretty good William Castle chiller” features “one of the weirdest (though not one of the best) monsters in horror-film history,” and Vincent Price in yet another deliciously “hammy” Mad Scientist role. The scenes involving a deaf-mute woman (Judith Evelyn) who is “incapable of screaming away her deadly fears” are, as Peary notes, “genuinely creepy”; and while much of the film belongs squarely in campy B-movie heaven, you’ll nonetheless find yourself surprisingly freaked out by the story’s premise. Indeed, many of David Cronenberg’s later films (i.e., The Brood and Shivers) — which base their horror on the notion of unwelcome creatures nesting in our bodies — owe a debt to this earlier movie.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Vincent Price as the cuckolded “mad doctor” who gets his revenge in the end
- A truly strange-looking “mutant monster”
- Clever use of a deaf-mute woman as a plausible plot device
- Some moments of genuine terror
- An amusing theatrical gimmick — “Percepto” — “whereby, at scary moments, motors would make theater seats “tingle’.”
Yes, simply for the notoriety of its corny “theater gimmick” — but chances are you’ll enjoy the film on its own merits, as a uniquely campy B-thriller.
- Cult Movie
- Historically Relevant
- Important Director