This will be almost impossible to imagine, but give it a shot: once upon a time, the movie industry was struggling. New films coming out were unoriginal and uninteresting, and audiences were starting to disappear. There was a lot more competition for entertainment than there had been. Theaters laid into each other with cutthroat rivalry on amenities, technology, concessions, and price. Sounds like fantasy, right?
But no, the year was 1959, and filmmakers were trying all kinds of crazy gimmicks to put people in seats. One of the most notable of those gimmicks was paired with The Tingler; prefiguring D-BOX®, The Tingler came with “Percepto!” – a vibrating motor randomly affixed to the underside of some theatre seats. At specific times in the movie, the machine would buzz, making customers feel like the namesake Tingler (a centipede-ish parasite that feeds on your brain) was crawling up their backs. Prefaced with a message from the director breaking the fourth wall and talking to the audience about the fearful “sensations” they are about to experience, The Tingler represents a particular time in movie history when panicky experimentation and hilarious gimmicks ruled the world.
1959 / Not Rated / 1h 22m / Horror
Tickets for “A Nightmare on Franklin Street” classic films are $10 for general admission and $7 for Tampa Theatre Members, available at the box office, located at 711 N. Franklin Street in downtown Tampa, or online at TampaTheatre.org (service fees apply).