There have been few showmen as singularly gifted as William Castle. While his movies may not have been so great, the gimmicks he used to promote them were often sheer genius. He offered life insurance policies should you die of fright during his film Macabre. The House on Haunted Hill was filmed in ‘Emergo’ - which meant that during the show a glow in the dark inflatable skeleton would zip down a wire over the audience’s heads. And most famous of all was The Tingler.
Growing up I read about The Tingler in Stephen King’s Danse Macabre, where I learned about Percepto, wherein seats were wired to buzz during specific exciting moments of the film. Some reports I read said that people were given actual electric shocks, but the reality is that there were essentially joy buzzers taped under seats. I thought I would never get to experience the true majesty of Percepto, but The Tingler played at Fantastic Fest in 2009 - complete with Percepto! It wasn’t as electrifying as I might have hoped as a child, but it was fun. It was certainly better than the Vincent Price-starring movie, which is kind of a major snooze.
Here’s the trailer for The Tingler, featuring William Castle doing his thing: