The 1959 horror was was directed by William Castle and written by Robb White. It’s the story of Dr. Warren Chapin ( Vincent Price ) a pathologist bent on discovering what really causes fear.
Before anything else, the movie’s in black and white, so if your one of those people that only watch colored films ( much like my previous self ) I can already say this won’t be for you.
Dr. Warren is fascinated with the very concept of fear. What causes one to feel fear? Are we in control of our fear, or does someone or something else control it? That’s about half of the movie’s premise in on itself. He developes a theory; that there may be some sort of entity within the human body “touching them”, causing the tingling of the spine, or “The Tingler” as he calls it.
This whole theory comes about as Dr. Warren’s partner Dave’s ( Daryl Hickmann ) hemophobic and deaf wife Martha ( Judith Evelyn ) sees a cut on his hand. She passes out without releasing even the slightest of screams. Later explaining that screaming causes a relief to the body and actually relaxes the frigtened nerves.
Later in the film through bizarre circumstances, Martha dies. At first, they are of course devastated, until something unnatural happens; her body moves! On it’s own! Out of nowhere! Desperate to figure out the true culprit behind the very own realms of fear and death Dr. Warren performs an autopsy, pulling out a lobster-sized centipede-like creature from her spine. Despite this science-changing revalation, the two seem only mildly startled by the whole shananigan.
Later on, the creature breaks out, nearly strangling Dr. Warren to death, follow by an escape into the general public. I’ll leave their faits up to your viewing.
Though most older horror flicks only have little to no shock or horror value to me, I’ve got to admit, William Castle did a good job here. By having fear itself by the very plot the film revolves around, along with the thought of a tingler living inside us all, it does actually give off a couple tingler moments. While still tame compared to more modern films like A Nightmare on Elm Street or The Babadook, it’s managed to stand the test of time. 7.5/10. I look forward to watching more of Castle’s work in the near future.