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The Tingler (1959) – Episode 5 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Ladies and gentlemen, please do not panic! But SCREAM! SCREAM FOR YOUR LIVES!”  Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era’s Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Erin Miskell, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – as we get all touchy-feely with The Tingler and find out exactly what all the screaming is about. Don’t forget to bring your date and watch them TINGLE!

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 5 — The Tingler (1959)

Some films cannot be denied and 1959’s The Tingler is just such a film. With William Castle at the helm and Vincent Price as the lead, you can’t go wrong, right? But what about the implausible plot, you wonder? Or the ridiculous creature effects? And who can believe Ollie’s (Philip Coolidge) scared-to death plot that ends in a literal bloodbath. Our response to such queries? WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU?! This is William Castle and Vincent Price! What do plot and special effects have to do with anything? By the way, we see nothing implausible about a microscopic creature that lives in your spine, feeds and grows on fear, has the power of a “hydraulic press,” and is thwarted by and shrinks at the sounds of your screams. At least, that’s the way it works most of the time.  All things become possible with William Castle.

Yeah, yeah, you’ve seen The Tingler a dozen times. But have you really SEEN The Tingler? How did Castle’s House on Haunted Hill (1959) inspire Robb White’s writing of the screenplay for The Tingler? Do you know what real world creature The Tingler is modeled after? It might be even more horrific than the film’s titular worm.  What influence did Aldous Huxley have on the story told in  The Tingler? What cinematic first is found in The Tingler? (It has do with a drug that’s not a drug – nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)  Why would Darryl Hickman take a part in this film without pay? What’s the connection between Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954) and The Tingler? Is it even possible that Alfred Hitchcock drew inspiration from William Castle?  What’s the connection between The Tingler and the animated productions, Woody Woodpecker and Gumby?

And which of us made these memorable comments:

  • – “We need a monster arm, boys! A monster arm!”
  • – “He found these war surplus motorized vibrators.”
  • – “Did he have the little, scare-’em-to-death fairies working for him?”
  • – “Let’s throw this in at the end boys, get one last scare out of them!”

We plan to release a new episode every other week. Our upcoming schedule includes It! (aka Curse of the Golem, 1967), The Thing from Another World (1951), Freaks (1932), and The Queen of Spades (1949).

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! After all, without you, we’re just four nutjobs talking about the movies we love. Send us an email  (chadhunt@gruesomemagazine.com, erinmiskell@gruesomemagazine.com, jeffmohr@gruesomemagazine.com, or josephperry@gruesomemagazine.com) or leave us a message, a review or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, the Horror News Radio App, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you, a great big “THANK YOU FOR LISTENING!” from each of us!

Jeff Mohr
Jeff lives smack dab in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa and is a long-time horror fan. His first remembered encounters with the genre were The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan gorilla chases, and watching the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone episode, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." While he now qualifies as an old fart, he strives to be an Old Boy. Paraphrasing Robert Bloch, he has the heart of a small boy. He keeps it in a jar on his desk. Jeff has written for Horrornews.net and SQ Horror Magazine. He currently writes for Gruesome Magazine and is a co-host of the Decades of Horror podcasts - The Classic Era, 1970s, and 1980s - and the Gruesome Magazine Podcast.