Silvia Moreno-Garcia on The Tingler (1959)
Silvia Moreno-Garcia runs Innsmouth Free Press, where she’s co-edited several anthologies including Historical Lovecraft and Candle in the Attic Window, and where she puts up with me on a regular basis. She’s also a very talented writer in her own right, and her story “Flash Frame” was recently reprinted in The Book of Cthulhu. Here, she talks about the great Vincent Price/William Castle joint, The Tingler:
I remember watching The Tingler on TV with my mom. It’s a black-and-white flick produced and directed by William Castle, and it has the usual Castle ‘gimmick’ you’d expect. But it’s a pretty cool gimmick. Vincent Price is a doctor who discovers a parasite which attaches itself to the human spine and feeds off fear (hence that tingling you feel on your back when you are afraid). Eventually one of the Tinglers escapes, which leads to the famous sequence where Vincent Price rushes into a darkened movie theatre and orders everyone to scream for their lives.
I actually thought the Tingler was rather creepy and the thought of being attacked by a parasite that comes from someone’s spine did give me some pause. It’s pretty fun to watch with friends because you can scream (or maybe drink) when everyone starts screaming on film.
I will also confess this was one of the first movies I bought on DVD when we purchased the DVD player. And I had to import it from the USA. How’s that for affection?