22 November 2015



Alternate / Working Title:
Killing Mrs. Tingle

German Titles:
Tötet Mrs. Tingle! / Rettet Mrs. Tingle

USA, 1999
Director: Kevin Williamson


(All screenshots stolen/borrowed from the wonderful site www.moviescreenshots.blogspot.com!)

For a short time in the late 90s, screenwriter Kevin Williamson became some kind of a 'superstar' among horror fans, thanks to his excellent scripts for horror-blockbusters "Scream", "Scream 2", "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and "The Faculty" - and for a similarly short time, I was a huge fan of him. I saw all 4 movies in the theater, and I loved / still love them all. I remember reading a few raving articles about him in various German movie magazines, and I also remember how pumped I was for his very first directorial effort, a movie called "Killing Mrs. Tingle".

Williamson wrote the script for this movie in the early 90s, following three teenagers who accidentally have to tie their vindictive history teacher to a bed in her own house while trying to prove their innocence to her. According to Wikipedia, it "was bought by a production company in 1995 and put on the shelf". After he suddenly became a 'star', someone (probably the Weinsteins) put it off the shelf and advised him to turn it into a full feature, and so he did.

Originally, the movie was supposed to be released in April 1999, but then the Columbine Highschool Massacre occurred, and so the release date was delayed, the movie was retitled "Teaching Mrs. Tingle" and finally released in August 1999. It bombed at the box office (8$ million domestic against a 13$ million budget) and was torn to shreds by critics. Result? Williamson never directed another movie, and eventually became a hugely successful TV writer / producer ("Dawson's Creek", "The Vampire Diaries", "The Following").

So, is it good? Is it bad? Well, it's an okay flick, but nothing special. Wasn't a big fan back then, and I'm still not that keen about it. "Teaching Mrs. Tingle" is really weird. Moments of wit and genius interact with moments of ridiculousness and utter stupidity for about 90 minutes. There are many scenes that make me laugh or keep me on the edge of my seat, but there are also about as many scenes that are dumb or moronic, expendable or cringeworthy.

Williamson just didn't get the balance right between teen-comedy and teen-thriller, and although I wouldn't call his direction bad, it's crystal clear that he is a far better writer. Actually, I can see a revised Mrs. Tingle script being directed by some other filmmaker, like Wes Craven or John McNaughton who could have given it that extra-kick it needed, but in Williamson's hands, it became a solidly entertaining, yet easily forgettable flick.

Undoubtedly the best thing about is Helen Mirren who gives a stellar performance as wonderfully unlikable bitch who knows how to play the teens off each other, and delivers a couple of absolutely amazing lines ("Your work, Mr. Churner,
is very reminiscent of a young man who sat in that same chair some 20 years ago. He, too, had the words "No future" printed on his forehead... Do give your father my best.).

Katie Holmes is solid (though her whiny face can sometimes be pretty annoying). Marisa Coughlan is solid (though her Linda Blair impersonation is absolutely awful). Barry Watson is solid (though his supposed coolness is rather unintentionally amusing). What else? The college-rock soundtrack is quite lame. The whole 'blind & drunk seduction' scene is more embarrassing than amusing. The ending starts out badass and ends up poor. Some okay cameos by Vivica A. Fox and Molly Ringwald.

Overall, neat but forgettable. Recommended to fans of Williamson
and die-hard 90s-buffs only.

Wiki ~ Imdb

1 comment:

  1. So much to say about this one - and I'm still not well - so I'm not going to launch into a lengthy comment now. I know what the movie was supposed to be - and what it ended up being - and it's not much in the final form it ended up in.


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