As famous for the gimmick with which the film was shown as for its genuinely spine-tingling story, The Tingler follows a pathologist (Price) as he searches for the cause of a series of deaths and discovers that the victims have a large insect-like creature growing on their spinal chords. The creature attacks when the people are frightened and is only killed when the host emits a blood-curdling primal scream. This is coupled with a subplot to scare the deaf-mute owner of a silent movie house to death. Along the way, a couple of characters are injected with LSD and begin hallucinating like mad. When one of the nasty monsters “escaped” into a movie theatre, the film’s gimmick would begin.

In order to further frighten audiences, director William Castle had certain theatre seats rigged with small Army surplus devices that would deliver a mild electric shock to the spine in hopes of inducing terrified screams. Castle also planted audience members who would scream and faint. The house lights would go up, the film would stop and ushers would carry the unconscious person out of the theatre!

The Tingler is being presented by Bruce Goldstein, Film Forum’s Director of Repertory Programming, who first presented Castle’s gimmick movies at New York’s Film Forum in 1988. “Like 3D, I saw the gimmicks as a theatrical experience that home video couldn’t compete with and it still can’t,” said Goldstein, “It’s a kind of low-tech interactive cinema. The Tingler, in fact, became our own Rocky Horror Picture Show over the years, I codified the main Tingler sequence into a mini-stage show.”

Film Forum is New York’s leading movie house for independent premieres and repertory programming and the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival is delighted to welcome Bruce Goldstein to Dublin for this delightfully interactive film screening. Come prepared to scream!

Colm McAuliffe,
Jameson Dublin International Film Festival