Revenge of The Tingler

The Tingler

as a kid

I couldn’t tell the truth

if my life depended on it

not that I was a compulsive liar

or even lied that often

but under any sort of questioning

I was guilty

regardless of being innocent

Did you do that?

no – which was the truth

Go to your room

Until you are ready to tell the truth.


No buts. Now go, you lying loser.


to avoid that banishment

I’d have to tell a lie

but I was even a worse liar

thanks to a movie I saw

where a sort of centipede

would materialize

around the spine

when you were scared

lying scared me

as much as telling the truth

I would feel those

million sharp legs 

sinking into my back

my skin would tingle

The Tingler!

that’s what that movie was called


a lie would kill me

it would crush my heart

burst out of my nose

brain spattering everywhere

insect legs would dig out from my eyes

so I was afraid to lie

the punishment for telling the truth

was bad enough

not be be believed

not to be trusted was confusing

it was better to leave the room

let them think what they wanted

because the clearly truth 

made no difference


at that age

they made sure

I knew I was a lying loser

a useless dishonest kid

which I know now 

was their lie

The Tingler is one of my favorite cheesy horror movies. The over-arch performance of Vincent Price combined with the primitive special creature effects and superb. The basic plot: fear creates a creature in the body that kills you – fear kills literally. This basic premise has been used time after time since but never, for me, as effectively. I’m also grateful there has been been a remake with CGI amping the scares.

I was a bad liar as a kid. But there were times when I was accused of something I hadn’t done but had no way of proving it and was instantly guilty under-pressure. Oddly when I had done something & got caught I could plead innocence & be believed. I learned at an early age that truth was malleable – in today’s political climate it is clear that the truth is irrelevant. It seems blatant dishonesty is considered a virtue. But I digress though I wonder about the values children are learning today?

I worked at maintaining an innocent point of view in the piece, even the sections that retrospective. Things that I was called did stick with me though my parents never called me a loser but certainly made it clear I wasn’t living up to cultural values they approved of. My fascination for teen movie magazines was called useless though. My crush on Haley Mills was seen as foolish, but it was safer than my affection for Tarzan. 

The things I was really lying about weren’t my actions but my thoughts. Thoughts that to reveal I figured would kill me. A fear that took revenge on me for decades.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice-cream in Washington at 2018’s – sweet,eh?

3 thoughts on “Revenge of The Tingler

  1. The thing I hate about The Tingler is that I wasn’t alive in 1959 so I wasn’t able to see the film in the theater and experience William Castles interactive theater. Gosh wouldn’t I give for a time machine and check that stuff out. The 1993 movie Matinee gives you a real good idea as to how it was back then. Such a good film that honors Castle style creativity.

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