A few words about…™ The Tingler & Strait-Jacket — in Blu-ray

Scream Factory's Blu-ray is a gorgeous affair, the norm from films coming out of Columbia. Nary a single problem in sight. 4 Stars

Scream Factory is releasing two beautiful black & white William Castle productions, released by Columbia in 1959 (Tingler) and 1964 (S-J).

While neither are films to which I’d normally gravitate, each have a myriad of fans, and thus, their quality needs to be reported here.

Let’s begin with The Tingler, which used Mr. Castle’s trade-mark publicity to involve the audience with certain gimmicks.

Here we had Percepto, via which audience members were accosted by buzzers mounted beneath certain seats. The gimmick was that if you felt fear, you had to scream in order to avoid the tingler, a worm-like creature. There may have been people planted in various areas of the audience to begin the screaming.

Vincent Price, who had moved from leading man to horror maestro, as he aged, was between his Fly films, and his entire into the wonderful world of Roger Corman in 1959. The female lead, in a non-speaking role was Judith Evelyn, probably best remembered from another non-speaking role, Miss Loneyhearts. The Tingler would be her final film appearance.

Scream Factory’s Blu-ray is a gorgeous affair, the norm from films coming out of Columbia. Nary a single problem in sight.

Strait-Jacket was another odd one, and in some ways, I wish it had not been produced, as aside from Baby Jane, I prefer to remember Miss Crawford in her non-horror roles.

Regardless, the film has many fans, especially Crawford completists, and like The Tingler, Scream Factory’s new Blu, also courtesy of Columbia, is running on all twelve cylinders.

Image – 5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – you betcha!

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

68 Comments

  1. Straight Jacket is a wonderful film. It has a lot of visually arresting imagery and weird humor and subtext galore. There's so much going on in this movie! It may be my favorite William Castle film.

  2. Why has Sony allowed both Shout Factory and Mill Creek to release Straight-Jacket on August 21?
    Mill Creek has Straight-Jacket and Berserk! on one disk (but it will sell for less than half the price of the single feature Shout version).
    I wonder if there will be much of a quality difference between the two versions.
    Obviously the Shout Factory version will have various extras that the Mill Creek will not have.

    View attachment 48619

  3. In the original theatrical release, the scene where the Tingler is loose in the theater was on a separate roll of 35mm magnetic that was played through the surround speakers with Price's voice and screaming.

    Has that been restored for this release?

  4. Bob Furmanek

    In the original theatrical release, the scene where the Tingler is loose in the theater was on a separate roll of 35mm magnetic that was played through the surround speakers with Price's voice and screaming.

    The surround speakers being part of the special installation, along with the seat buzzers? Are there records of how many theaters were set up for the effects?

  5. Lord Dalek

    Obviously these films (13 Ghosts aside since Illusion-o was just a form of Anaglyph 3D) lose all their point nowadays since you can't recreate Percepto and Emerge-O at home.

    I think there are MANY Home Theatre Forum members who will take that as a challenge!

  6. Bob Furmanek

    In the original theatrical release, the scene where the Tingler is loose in the theater was on a separate roll of 35mm magnetic that was played through the surround speakers with Price's voice and screaming.

    Has that been restored for this release?

    It plays that way on the old DVD of The Tingler

  7. Trancas

    Why has Sony allowed both Shout Factory and Mill Creek to release Straight-Jacket on August 21?

    Mill Creek has been systematically releasing the Castle films in double features. This is just another in the series. In general, the transfers are great. The encoding is a little less robust since they are double features on a single disc, but they look pretty good and the price is a bargain. The only one I had a problem with was 13 Ghosts, but I may have just been too picky.

  8. I saw this a few years ago on a Turner Classic Movie cruise, introduced by Diane Baker (who spoke very kindly of her treatment by Crawford on set) and was somewhat disappointed that this was not really the all-out campfest that Columbia's lurid advertising campaign suggests. Crawford actually underplays her role throughout, and is quite effective at times suggesting a woman who has doubts about her sanity (given the simplistic script).

    Is the movie beneath her? Probably, but she's a total pro giving her all throughout.

    Torch Song – now that's prime Crawford camp and far more rewatchable than Strait-Jacket!

  9. None of Castle in-theater gimmicks are necessary in order to enjoy these films. I never experienced these films in a theater, and from what I've read many of Castle's gimmicks routinely failed to work. But I have watched these films many times over the years, starting on TV as a kid; they have a great deal of period charm and stand up as well or better than many other low-budget horrors of the time. The Tingler, 13 Ghosts, and House on Haunted Hill are both more creepy and more fun than they have a right to be.

  10. I got to see a good 35mm print of The Tingler with the seat buzzers in place about eight years ago – it was a tremendous amount of fun. They were randomly placed throughout the auditorium rather than being under every single seat, but I was there early enough to select a seat that had one.

  11. I saw 'House on Haunted Hill' at the United Artists Theater in Pomona, California, and an elevated booth at the top and to the right of the screen, with a curtain around it, contained a plastic skeleton that came across the theater to the balcony at the key point in the film. It was fun, and laughable to me as a young teenager.

  12. I’ve successfully presented ”Emergo" in my home theatre four times and I recreated the “Punishment Poll” cards for a showing. It is a lot of fun but extremely lame. :dancing-banana-04::dancing-banana-04::dancing-banana-04:

  13. usrunnr

    I saw 'House on Haunted Hill' at the United Artists Theater in Pomona, California, and an elevated booth at the top and to the right of the screen, with a curtain around it, contained a plastic skeleton that came across the theater to the balcony at the key point in the film. It was fun, and laughable to me as a young teenager.

    I saw it with Emergo when I was 6, at the Paramount Theatre in my birthplace, New Westminster, B.C.. As for its effect on my impressionable young mind, my attitude was: I was born in New Westminster, but I wasn't born there yesterday.

  14. davidmatychuk

    I saw it with Emergo when I was 6, at the Paramount Theatre in my birthplace, New Westminster, B.C.. As for its effect on my impressionable young mind, my attitude was: I was born in New Westminster, but I wasn't born there yesterday.

    Actually, I think this thread is about THE TINGLER & STRAIT-JACKET bu since we seem to be sharing stories about HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL…I also saw it in "Emergo" somewhere in the general vicinity of Syracuse NY, I no longer remember the theater anymore; I was 9 and there was a curtain covered thingy on the right upper side of the screen, but unfortunately the plastic skeleton got caught on the curtain or the wire so it didn't come all the way out and it then spun around without really emerging; so I guess in reality I saw the semi-"Emergo" version.

  15. Lord Dalek

    Obviously these films (13 Ghosts aside since Illusion-o was just a form of Anaglyph 3D) lose all their point nowadays since you can't recreate Percepto and Emerge-O at home.

    13 Ghosts used red and blue filters, but you just looked through one at a time when the ghosts appeared. You looked through one if you wanted to see the ghosts and the other if you didn't. IIRC, I think you saw them looking through the red since they tinted the image blue.

    I was 9 or 10 when I saw "The Tingler" at my local RKO (The Marble Hill in the Bronx). I was an avid Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine fan, so I was aware of the movie and the fact that they had wired seats. But I didn't yet understand the difference between first run and ordinary local theaters. If my local RKO (as well as the local independent theater, the Dale) ever had 4-track mag sound, they didn't have it by '58 (not that these films were released in mag). In any case, I entered the theater and looked for the wiring under the seats because I wanted to sit in a wired seat. But I couldn't find any and was very disappointed. But The Tingler did freak me out a bit, even though most horror/monster films didn't bother me at all. The only other film I ever found scary was Mario Bava's "Black Sunday".

  16. zoetmb

    The Tingler did freak me out a bit, even though most horror/monster films didn't bother me at all. The only other film I ever found scary was Mario Bava's "Black Sunday".

    I don't remember being freaked out by The Tingler, but Black Sunday and The Innocents and The Haunting cost me a lot of sleep after I saw them!

    I wonder if The Tingler will come with a commemorative tab of LSD so we can all feel the tingle?

  17. I have "fond" memories of The Tingler from my youth. I was recovering from some childhood malady but still laid up in bed, watching the late-night movie while my parents had gone out to visit relatives for the evening. I had assured them I was fine by myself, but when they got home, I was screaming my head off, trying to get the tingler out of my body. I now blame my reaction to still having a fever and being alone in a farmhouse. But I can still remember vividly, more than 50 years later, the feeling of that tingler crawling up and down my spine.

  18. Yes, Black Sunday certainly gave me nightmares (and I jumped straight up out of my seat the first time I saw House on Haunted Hill at that one shock revelation moment. Everyone who's seen it knows which moment I mean).

  19. bujaki

    The Tingler was the better movie.:D

    I love THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH! I like THE TINGLER a lot too. I think I especially liked the self-referential aspect of the movie ending in a movie theater, though clearly it was inspired by THE BLOB, which I hadn't yet seen when I saw THE TINGLER. The oddest thing was, after watching THE TINGLER, THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH seemed really scary; in particular, I found Jimmy Stewart's clown make-up frightening, and of course, the train wreck at the end is fairly intense, especially for an 8 year old, but because of THE TINGLER, the DeMille film simply seemed more menacing and threatening than it might otherwise, though it's present in the way the film is shot and directed. Though most people remember THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH as being sunny and simplistic, to me it's a rather dark, complex and shadowy film, with all sorts of unsavory and even frightening aspects just under the surface; a lot of the film is definitely Noirish, especially in the performances of those actors who were becoming Noir icons, such as Cornell Wilde and Gloria Grahame, as well as JImmy Stewart, whose performance is similar to those in the contemporaneous Anthony Mann films, especially THE NAKED SPUR. But I don't think I would have noticed any of this if I hadn't seen THE TINGLER first! My intention was only to see THE TINGLER, but then I became caught up in watching the DeMille film, which is a very easy thing to do, so I ended up seeinging the whole film, all 142 minutes of it.

  20. usrunnr

    I saw 'House on Haunted Hill' at the United Artists Theater in Pomona, California, and an elevated booth at the top and to the right of the screen, with a curtain around it, contained a plastic skeleton that came across the theater to the balcony at the key point in the film. It was fun, and laughable to me as a young teenager.

    Yes, I too saw it during its original run. You should have seen all the flattened popcorn boxes flying toward the plastic skeleton. It was a stitch!

  21. Peter Apruzzese

    How is the quality of the color sequence in The Tingler on this release? I remember it looked a little ratty on the DVD, like it came from a dupe or a 16mm source.

    I just purchased the newly released Blu Ray of The Tingler and was disappointed in the terrible quality of the color sequence. Must have been the 16mm footage. It was heavy grain and poor color. I wish I had not bought this one.

  22. ahollis

    Wait, this is out? The release date is Tuesday.

    I'm assuming there isn't another earlier BD release of The Tingler. I received a notice from the Blu Ray Forum that is was ready for pre-order, which I did and about two weeks later I received the BD. If the one I have is the newest release, the 16mm footage was used for the color sequences.

  23. Malcolm R

    So apparently those involved are just too lazy to do it right.

    What part of 35mm doesn't exist do people not understand? If they had it, they'd use it. Internet forums are internet forums. Blu-ray companies do the best they can. If it was easy, they'd do it.

  24. bigshot

    What part of 35mm doesn't exist do people not understand? If they had it, they'd use it. Internet forums are internet forums. Blu-ray companies do the best they can. If it was easy, they'd do it.

    Even if it does exist in 35mm, they apparently didn't or couldn't get it. The 16mm print they used wasn't even a color version, maybe from a source made for tv release years ago that they didn't go to the expense of printing and inserting the color footage. The dvd (and apparently the blu-ray) has the blood red added by digital colorization.

    I remember seeing it a few times in my neighborhood theater when new. When that scene came on, it was obviously color stock. The whole frame had a yellowish tinge.

    There have been theories on how they did this. To me, it looked like the color was matted or rotoscoped. Others have claimed that the set (and Judith Evelyn!) were painted shades of gray, the liquid was red and it was shot on color neg.

  25. Henry Gondorff

    Others have claimed that the set (and Judith Evelyn!) were painted shades of gray, the liquid was red and it was shot on color neg.

    That sounds like a wonderful way to get a bizarre effect!

  26. bigshot

    What part of 35mm doesn't exist do people not understand? If they had it, they'd use it. Internet forums are internet forums. Blu-ray companies do the best they can. If it was easy, they'd do it.

    Take 3, just for you.

    35mm does exist on that sequence.

  27. Bob Furmanek

    Take 2

    35mm does exist on that sequence…

    Some of us do actually pay attention.

    Bob Furmanek

    Take 3, just for you.

    35mm does exist on that sequence.

    In fact, there are two known copies.

    Bob, I swear you have the patience of a saint.

  28. So it seems like there are multiple options for doing this right if anyone wants to expend a minimal amount of effort. I'll pass on this release until it's fixed. I have the DVD; that's sufficient for now.

  29. Thanks for lending your expertise, Bob. As everyone knows, bigshot is known for spreading misinformation even when countered with cold-hard facts, so I applaud you for having the patience to put a stop to it. Not much of a reward there other than the thanks of people who actually care. Sucks that this release couldn't have used any of the 35mm elements. Were these prints inaccessible, or did they even try?

  30. Bob Furmanek

    I agree, Malcolm.

    16mm dupe footage for the color insert and no surround channel audio for the "Tingler is loose" sequence?

    Perhaps a licensor in the UK will get it right!

    I sent a note to Powerhouse/Indicator about this.
    I hope others will advise Powerhouse as well so that we can try to get the best source for The Tingler.

  31. Bob Furmanek

    I agree, Malcolm.

    16mm dupe footage for the color insert and no surround channel audio for the "Tingler is loose" sequence?

    Perhaps a licensor in the UK will get it right!

    Is there no surround effect on the Blu Ray? The dvd had it. The Dolby Pro Logic switched the surrounds on during the "Ladies and gentlemen, the tingler is loose in this theatre and if you don't scream it may kill you, so scream, scream for your lives!" sequence, and to very good effect.

    In fact, it's applied twice, again when Price announces "You can stop screaming now. We will now resume the showing of the picture." (I've had to make that announcement myself at some of my home movie nights.)

  32. Robert Harris

    Scream Factory is releasing two beautiful black & white William Castle productions, released by Columbia in 1959 (Tingler) and 1964 (S-J).

    While neither are films to which I'd normally gravitate, each have a myriad of fans, and thus, their quality needs to be reported here.

    Let's begin with The Tingler, which used Mr. Castle's trade-mark publicity to involve the audience with certain gimmicks.

    Here we had Percepto, via which audience members were accosted by buzzers mounted beneath certain seats. The gimmick was that if you felt fear, you had to scream in order to avoid the tingler, a worm-like creature. There may have been people planted in various areas of the audience to begin the screaming.

    Vincent Price, who had moved from leading man to horror maestro, as he aged, was between his Fly films, and his entire into the wonderful world of Roger Corman in 1959. The female lead, in a non-speaking role was Judith Evelyn, probably best remembered from another non-speaking role, Miss Loneyhearts. The Tingler would be her final film appearance.

    Scream Factory's Blu-ray is a gorgeous affair, the norm from films coming out of Columbia. Nary a single problem in sight.

    Strait-Jacket was another odd one, and in some ways, I wish it had not been produced, as aside from Baby Jane, I prefer to remember Miss Crawford in her non-horror roles.

    Regardless, the film has many fans, especially Crawford completists, and like The Tingler, Scream Factory's new Blu, also courtesy of Columbia, is running on all twelve cylinders.

    Image – 5

    Audio – 5

    Pass / Fail – Pass

    Upgrade from DVD – you betcha!

    RAH
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  33. I have comments to make both on the Tingler and 'I saw what you Did'. I saw them both-from a 10 year olds perspective in 1960, when I saw the Tingler at the Squire Theatre in Great Neck, NY, when the Tingler ends up in the projection booth of the movie theatre that you're watching on screen, and you see it on the screen, they turned off the movie in the theatre i was in and the lights came up and someone screamed 'The Tingler is in the theatre' I was in an aisle seat alone and jumped out and looked under my seat and RAN OUT of the theatre-yes, RAN-as i was in the lobby running i turned to my right and a few other kids were running side by side by me, i turned around and noticed more and more kids running out. It must have been some sight seeing a bunch of kids running out of the theatre that afternoon.
    In, i think '65, when I Saw What you Did was playing at the Playhouse Theatre (across the street from the Squire), Joan Crawford and one of the teen gals from the film were making a bus tour of the theatres and they came to the Playhouse. Because of an incident i created (a strike against the theatres for not allowing kids under 16 to sit in the center of the theatre. I got petitions signed and struck the theatre and won), the manager gave me the privilege of giving a bouquet of roses to Ms. Crawford as she came off the bus.
    I have the original DVD release of the Tingler, I am just wondering if the blu-ray is significant enough to buy again-any new features that weren't on the original release?

  34. mikel77

    Because of an incident i created (a strike against the theatres for not allowing kids under 16 to sit in the center of the theatre. I got petitions signed and struck the theatre and won), the manager gave me the privilege of giving a bouquet of roses to Ms. Crawford as she came off the bus.

    When I was a kid, the RKO in my neighborhood (where I saw The Tingler) had a matron who watched the kids. She was a heavy-set white haired lady who was dressed like a nurse. I must have gone to the movies even more than I recollect because I can still remember exactly what she looked like. I don't remember at what age they started making me pay the adult price (it was probably 12 or 13), but once they did so I refused to sit in the kids' section and I got into a big fight with them. I said, "either charge me the children's price or I'm sitting where I feel like." They finally relented.

  35. I saw every Castle gimmick film in a theater during its original release. HOMICIDAL was the funniest gimmick (Coward's Corner with a yellow light in the back of the theater; Emergo, sent me under my theater seat; but nothing was more exciting than THE TINGLER. People, literally, screaming their heads off in the packed movie theater. So exciting, and so much fun. I went three times, and never got a buzzer seat.

  36. I am gonna play it simple when it comes to watching it with my kids with well placed cell phones on vibrate behind the blanket on the couch all called at the right time. Worth the cost of upcoming years of therapy.

  37. brap

    I am gonna play it simple when it comes to watching it with my kids with well placed cell phones on vibrate behind the blanket on the couch all called at the right time. Worth the cost of upcoming years of therapy.

    But how can you call with the iPhone and shoot the YouTube video of their reaction at the same time?

  38. Trancas

    Why has Sony allowed both Shout Factory and Mill Creek to release Straight-Jacket on August 21?
    Mill Creek has Straight-Jacket and Berserk! on one disk (but it will sell for less than half the price of the single feature Shout version).
    I wonder if there will be much of a quality difference between the two versions.
    Obviously the Shout Factory version will have various extras that the Mill Creek will not have.

    View attachment 48619

    bigshot

    Mill Creek has been systematically releasing the Castle films in double features. This is just another in the series. In general, the transfers are great. The encoding is a little less robust since they are double features on a single disc, but they look pretty good and the price is a bargain. The only one I had a problem with was 13 Ghosts, but I may have just been too picky.

    I will be interested in a comparison of these two releases.
    Here is what Shout! Factory lists as bonus content on their release:
    Bonus Features

    • NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historians Steve Haberman, David J. Schow, And Constantine Nasr
    • NEW Joan Had Me Fired – An Interview With Anne Helm
    • NEW On The Road With Joan Crawford – An Interview With Publicist Richard Kahn
    • Battle-Ax: The Making Of Strait-Jacket
    • Joan Crawford Costume And Makeup Tests
    • Ax-Swinging Screen Test
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • Still Gallery

    Also, those enjoying this might appreciate this mockingly celebratory video mix of Joan.

    I watch it and laugh but also think, "What a career!"

  39. Mark-W

    Also, those enjoying this might appreciate this mockingly celebratory video mix of Joan.
    I watch it and laugh but also think, "What a career!"

    Amazingly alive and aggressive. Like no cage could hold her!
    Love it!

  40. Bob Furmanek

    In the original theatrical release, the scene where the Tingler is loose in the theater was on a separate roll of 35mm magnetic that was played through the surround speakers with Price's voice and screaming.

    Has that been restored for this release?

    Oddly, it is on the Shout Factory Blu-ray in the Extra aka Bonus section, but it is NOT an option to play with the movie.

    Now that really makes no sense.

    I guess the upcoming Region Free Powerhouse-Indicator
    William Castle at Columbia Volume One from the UK
    is now looking like a purchase for me as it has both the stereo scream option and the 35mm color sequence (as from their site below):
    "
    The Tingler alternative feature audio options with stereo ‘Scream’ sequence, and with drive-in ‘Headlights’ sequence
    The Tingler fully restored bathroom 'blood' scene, scanned in 4K from a rare 35mm print

    "

  41. Garysb

    Strait-Jacket and Berserk Double Feature is delayed. Amazon listing now says
    Currently unavailable.
    We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.

    That "other site" has a couple people that received word from Mill Creek. Apparently they have discs now and it (Strait-Jacket/Berserk as 'psycho-biddy') will be out Oct 2.

    Let's hope.

  42. I watched Shout/Scream Blu-ray of The Tingler tonight (Sat, Sept 29), and (other than the 'colorful bathroom' sequence) the film looked fantastic.
    Now I'm looking forward to the Powerhouse Indicator UK set for their 'colorful 35mm bathroom' sequence and 'stereo scream' played with the feature, but (otherwise) this Shout/Scream Factory USA Blu-ray looks and sounds great. A real treat with fun Extras.

    My son will get this once the William Castle at Columbia Vol One Blu-ray arrives at my house.

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