Really Awful Movies: Ep 248 – The Tingler



Part artist, part huckster, William Castle is a name a lot of people know in the horror world. He produced Rosemary’s Baby (and would’ve directed too, were it not for health issues) but he’s best known for the gimmicks he deployed to promote the living heck out of his movies.

The Tingler, starring the legendary Vincent Price (check out our interview with his daughter, Victoria Price) is one such movie. Castle used “percepto” technology, a buzzer installed beneath some theater seats that literally shocked members of the audience!

The cost of this equipment added $250,000 to the film’s budget, which was negligible by comparison. Percepto was used sparingly and in predominantly larger theaters for logistical reasons.

The premise is delicious: Price stars as Dr. Chapin, a prison coroner responsible for doing autopsies on prisoners on death row (this seems like a waste of time and money, but that’s neither here nor there). A side of interest of his: how humans experience fear. He and a lab assistant speculate that there’s a structure on the spinal cord that is associated with fear responses (hence, “spine-tingling” fear).

Dr. Chapin uses his wife as an unwitting participant, scaring her with a starter pistol and doing an examination on her spine.

The Tingler is a fun movie, a corny monster movie / creature feature from the 1950s. And there’s the bonus of Castle himself introducing the film, and warning of the terrors to come. Hilarious!

On this episode of the Podcast:

  • How do we experience fear?
  • What is fear?
  • Are there different things people fear and how does horror exploit this?
  • We talk about hypochondriacs
  • We talk about death-defying experiences
  • We talk about the legacy of William Castle and who modern day exemplars are
  • Castle’s use of prop ghosts and audience shills
  • And finally, we discuss the lasting impact of the incredible icon of horror, the one and only Vincent Price

 


Really Awful Movies: Ep 247 – Dead Ringers



On this episode of the Really Awful Movies Podcast we tackle a Canadian classic, David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers.

Twin gynecologists, the Mantle brothers (based on the true-life demise of monozygote physicians, the Marcus brothers) share 100% of their genetic material. They also share scientific discoveries, and women.

In a tour de force performance by the incredible Jeremy Irons, we get a look inside the psyche of genius, and a concomitant look at their madness (as is often the case). The docs Elliot and Beverly are, of course, identical. However, Elliot is a bit taller, more outgoing, more comfortable in his own skin. And Beverly lives inside his own head. They comprise a drammaturgical dyad (thanks, Simpsons).

The Mantle bros’ practice is booming, they’re highly regarded in their field, and seem to have everything together. Of course, that’s just on the surface. Pull back the curtain and there’s tumult.

This is another instance of inside-out David Cronenberg body-horror. Dead Ringers is a difficult film to like, but is nonetheless fascinating. And it’s aged incredibly well. It’s a remarkable technical achievement, in addition to being a terrific showcase for Irons’ subtlety and mannerisms.

On the podcast, we examine the following:

  • The 80s horror scene
  • How we discovered the work of David Cronenberg while being ensconced in franchise horror flicks like Friday the 13th and Halloween
  • Canadian content regulations and the tax shelter era
  • Invasive medical procedures the hosts have experienced
  • Twin depictions in popular culture
  • Bloodletting in horror, and the use of restraint (or is that restraints?)
  • Medical horror

and much, much more.

This is our third discussion of a David Cronenberg film on the Really Awful Movies Podcast. Interested listeners can check out Videodrome and Rabid. Thanks for listening! And be sure to write reviews if you like what you’re hearing. And to support the show, pick up a copy of Death by Umbrella! The 100 Weirdest Horror Movie Weapons (foreword by our pal, Lloyd Kaufman of Troma).