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Episode 122 - The Tingler (w/ Witney Seibold)


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Poll: Episode 122 - The Tingler (w/ Witney Seibold) (27 member(s) have cast votes)

Should "The Tingler" enter The Canon?

  1. Yes (12 votes [44.44%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 44.44%

  2. No (15 votes [55.56%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 55.56%

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#1 Dalton Maltz

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Posted 01 October 2017 - 10:34 PM

Film critic and co-host of the podcast Cancelled Too Soon Witney Seibold joins Amy to kick off Horror Movie Month with William Castle’s 1959 film “The Tingler.” They talk about Castle’s use of the “Percepto!” gimmick, the interactivity and creativity of the film’s scares, and why it was made for film lovers especially. Plus, they discuss the role LSD plays in the movie.

#2 Johnny Pomatto

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 10:31 AM

I adore William Castle and am so glad one of his films has been given Canon consideration. I think too many people lump him in with Roger Corman, (who I also have a degree of affection for), just because his production values were often low and the premises of his films relied on chiller gimmickry. But that's also where a lot of his charm lies, and his films would usually have very deep and mature subtext hidden behind the skeletons, ghosts, and rubber monsters. I lament that the titular star of THE TINGLER is ever seen at all, because I think that's the one aspect that separates this film from subtler horror classics. The reveal of the Tingler always gets a laugh. Vincent Price gave some of his best sinister performances is Castle films, but I love his ambiguity here as a man trying to both cure and control The Tingler. His obsession and corruptive downfall reminds me a bit of Jimmy Stewart in VERTIGO, though that preceded The Tingler by a year so I wouldn't necessarily claim ones influence over another, while PSYCHO and its marketing seems to clearly be imitating Castle's style.

I had the privilege of seeing THE TINGLER theatrically with "PERCEPTO" at The Film Forum a few years back and it was a truly magical experience that left the whole audience giddy. Sadly, I did not luck into a vibrating seat, and my efforts to try to pre-examine the altered seats before the start of the feature were ultimately fruitless. But an experience like that can turn a non-believer into a Castle fan. Perhaps an argument against allowing him into The Canon is that for those bored and unimpressed by horror titles of this era, they might not be as easily sold or even be open to the idea of enjoying the film. But I do think that Castle deserves to be represented in The Canon for his body of work, and I think that THE TINGLER is the perfect film to do it with, over other fun entries like HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, 13 GHOSTS, MACABRE, I SAW WHAT YOU DID, and THE STRAIGHT JACKET. It's also worth noting that Castle produced ROSEMARY'S BABY, in a last ditch effort to be taken seriously. I highly recommend the documentary SPINE-TINGLER! THE WILLIAM CASTLE STORY to learn more about the man, and YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS did a particularly fine episode about him as well.

Clearly I've outed myself as a particularly devoted fan, so I won't deny my bias. I flirted with the notion of voting NO just because I think he can be a hard sell for some and a film shouldn't necessarily be granted Canon access just as a means to twist the arms of viewers reluctant to give him a try. But hearing how enthusiastic Amy got for him gives me hope that the film could find new audiences. At the very least, Castle films are so unique that they're almost a genre to their own, so I'm going to vote YES.

#3 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 12:24 PM

I'm a mild no vote on this. I enjoyed watching the movie, but absent the live theatrical experience I don't think this film on its own qualifies as essential viewing.

#4 bleary

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 12:52 PM

I'm going to vote soon, but first, I believe that no discussion of the Tingler is complete without mentioning the extent to which Gilbert Gottfried is insanely amused by it. I've heard him talk about it in several episodes of his own podcast (hosted by Earwolf) and at least one episode of someone else's.




(This is supposed to start automatically at 40:07)


https://audioboom.co...d-all-that-jazz
(Start at 7:40)

And also on Harmontown in front of a live audience, with Tingler discussion beginning at 16:00 --
http://podbay.fm/sho...019?autostart=1


I wish anything made me laugh as hard as the Tingler makes Gilbert Gottfried laugh.

#5 killertapir

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 02:28 PM

This film is too weird to not love and too special to not be voted into the canon. It's meta-horror before meta-horror was even a thing. I didn't get the benefit of the full screening experience, but I really love the intention and ambition behind it.

#6 vanveen13

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 02:44 PM

Much as I enjoyed this movie, it's really not very good, and we don't need any more sub par horror films on this list. Do we think this is such an important film that all lovers of the medium should watch it? Direcctors like Castle and Corman are important to the history of American film, but for their influence not their actual crappy work. They're footnotes to what grew out of their form cheap independent cinema.

I'd also like to suggest that we not give filmmakers points for being sincere instead of cynical, as Corman was said to be on the show, not entirely fairly either, though mostly fairly. Whether you really mean well or not as an artist is of no importance; excellence is all. Castle is not too great. And frankly he had no good reason to be upset with Hitchcock. Hitchcock was a businessman who set out to beat Castle and his ilk at their own game, and did. Plus, it's not like Castle invented dumb gimmickery, it's always been legion in a world short on good ideas.

The question is: Is this schlock cinematically transformative schlock in the way that Night of the Living Dead or Chainsaw Massacre or Halloween or Detour were? If your answer is "no" then this should not be in The Canon.

#7 Funny Username

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 06:34 AM

I'm a soft no on The Tingler. I did enjoy watching this one, but I think the short run time had a lot to do with that. Much more than 80 minutes of this could be a very different story. I appreciated the meta elements, and I'd love to see The Tingler in a theater with the full Percepto experience, but I don't think I can vote in a movie based solely on a gimmick and I feel like that's what I would be doing here.

#8 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 09:47 AM

View Postvanveen13, on 02 October 2017 - 02:44 PM, said:

I'd also like to suggest that we not give filmmakers points for being sincere instead of cynical, as Corman was said to be on the show, not entirely fairly either, though mostly fairly. Whether you really mean well or not as an artist is of no importance; excellence is all. Castle is not too great. And frankly he had no good reason to be upset with Hitchcock. Hitchcock was a businessman who set out to beat Castle and his ilk at their own game, and did. Plus, it's not like Castle invented dumb gimmickery, it's always been legion in a world short on good ideas.


Yeah, some of this argument bugged me a bit, this idea that Castle was a more worthwhile filmmaker because of his sincerity and also being "first" to get there before Hitchcock. Isn't this just like the Internet commenter who is proud of saying "First!" on a YouTube video? To me it's much more impressive to see Hitchcock doing the same thing (being a schlocky audience-pleaser) but doing it MUCH better than anyone else.

I'm also bothered by the glossing-over of the story problems in this movie, with comments like: "Castle isn't a big-picture guy." To me that's a big problem, if a movie doesn't have a clear unifying purpose. I think you can make an argument for this having a more meta-textual "big picture," with people on screen speaking directly to the audience and the movie basically pausing itself to ask that the audience imagine the Tingler being a real thing. But even given that, the inconsistent motivations of the characters are a problem.

Anyway, that all probably sounds harsh, so I'll also note that I did enjoy this movie. I also see many reasons why it's not exactly near the pinnacle of all-time great and/or influential movies.

#9 TheFanon

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 09:52 AM

Immediately after seeing William Castle's introduction (including the floating screaming heads!) I became both very excited and very concerned. Could the rest of the film live up to the promise of the zany opener? Well, the answer is yes and no. A few sequences build up to schlock gold, including the theater scene and the bathtub reveal. I also love the moral ambiguity of Vincent Price's character and the candid use of LSD. It's definitely better than most low-budget horror films of the 1950s. It's equal parts ridiculous, fun, confusing, and charming. That being said, it's a soft no for the canon.

One thing I would like to mention is the idea of the Percepto gimmick being external to the film itself. Percepto is not a requirement for watching the movie. Therefore if The Tingler is included in the Canon, are we including just the film or Castle's preferred theatrical experience that only a fraction of viewers have seen?

#10 Nathan Roberson

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 04:35 PM

I'm with most people, this is fun, glad I saw it, but not Canon-worthy. Without the gimmicks this is another plodding and uneven horror film that doesn't get interesting until the last half-hour.

As for the discussion on Castle being correct regarding unconventional theater experiences, I don't see much love for the whole Regal 4DX nonsense. For those unfamiliar, this is where your seat jostles, scents are released, and you get misted during the course of a film--all related to the action onscreen. To me, movie theater gimmicks like 3D and 4DX keep failing, and rightly so. At the end of the day, I think most of us want good cinema, not some novelty that adds nothing to the storytelling and emotional experience. Sleep No More and a movie theater are two different settings and mediums, and I see this separation existing for most people. The Tingler is interesting to look back on, but there's a reason the seat buzzers and dangling skeletons never caught on. It's fun to look back on a failed experiment, but there's no need to canonize the exercise.
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#11 bleary

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 06:55 PM

I laughed when movies like "Diabolique" and directors like Hitchcock and Scorsese were mentioned in this episode, because their work is, you know, good.

This is schlock. It's a B-movie that knows it's a B-movie. The plot is a mess, the effects couldn't be cheaper, and the gimmick is a gimmick. I'm glad it's a guilty pleasure for some people (especially for Gilbert Gottfried), but I don't see it displaying any merit entitling it to Canonization, nor do I believe it has had any meaningful effect on cinema or pop culture history.

And I bristled at the discussion that Corman made movies more cynically than Castle did, particularly when Castle was described as a huckster earlier in the episode. It seems to me that Corman was more interested in making films, and Castle was more interested in crafting theatrical experiences, but both genuinely enjoyed doing what they did AND they were happy to make money off it when possible. And I'm sure Scorsese, Frances Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme, James Cameron, and many others could attest to the impact that Corman had on their careers in particular and on film history in general.

Does William Castle deserve a place in the Canon for being the master of gimmickry? I'll vote no.

#12 daustin

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Posted 04 October 2017 - 01:08 PM

A soft no. An amusing film, clever concept and gimmick, but it's just not terribly good. I appreciate that it was even up for discussion, though.

#13 DrEricFritz

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Posted 04 October 2017 - 05:20 PM

I enjoyed this episode as I hadn't seen The Tingler since I was a kid. For me, the movie helped my suspension of disbelief with the sincerity in the performances. Movies like this really benefit from sincerity: b-movies often don't benefit from winking to the audience. While it is clear that Castle, crew, and cast knew exactly what they were making, they did it the best way possible. I was pretty on the fence, but the scene where the doctor and his wife are switching their drinks was so utterly convincing and well acted that I had to go yes. Soft yes. Just on the other side of the line between yes and no.

#14 phred2321

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 09:11 AM

I get all the points against it and I'm not going to be upset if it doesn't make it, but at the end of the day I just enjoyed watching this movie too much to not vote Yes

#15 Sarah Nicks

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 07:47 PM

It does not matter if you cant experience the theatrical gags, this was conceptually groundbreaking and should be canon on that alone - a solid YES.

#16 FictionIsntReal

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 09:38 PM

The ephemerality of Castle's gimmicks inherently makes his films less canonical. If directors today were still using his gimmicks then you could argue for influence, but it seems mostly died out, even if the stories are entertaining. And I think if you were going to put a Castle film in, House on Haunted Hill is probably a better bet. At least viewers can see the skeleton on screen as a substitute for the one that would appear in theaters.