Tickle torture scene Tombville
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A conception of horror is to show the viewer a reaction contrary to what is happening. Reacting with laughter to a tragic or painful scene causes fear, as it suggests that something is wrong, and alerts us to the possible reasons for this strange behavior.


Anyone would be frightened to discover that he or she has happened upon an unfamiliar city, ignorant of who its inhabitants are and what goes on inside. But fear gives way to sheer terror when it turns out that the inhabitants are hostile and ready to do them harm.

Tickle torture in “Tombville” (2014)

Tombville, a 2014 film directed by Nikolas List, follows a young man who wakes up on the outskirts of a mysterious town populated with a variety of bizarre inhabitants.

The roots of the horror go back to a childhood trauma of the protagonist, who found himself defending his mother from an act of extreme violence and then fleeing into the night. We find him as a 25-year-old lost in an imaginary world in which logic gives way to fear and pain. The film depicts a loss of identity replaced by a distorted sensory perception, an alternation of contradictions and psychic devastation that distresses the character and the viewer.

In this context, even the tortures suffered by the protagonist have a twisted form that reflects the absurdity of the situation in which he finds himself. They seem to be done specifically to disturb the viewer’s rationality as well as to harm the character.

Tickle in Tombville

Toward the beginning of the film the protagonist, David, finds himself at the mercy of a despicable individual. He wants to know his name and how he got there, but David has amnesia and cannot answer.

Tickle in Tombville

The man then claims to know a woman who is very fond of tickling and the hysterical panic that comes with it.

Tickle in Tombville

He pulls out a feather and begins to tickle his bare feet firmly locked in a vice. The poor boy, in terror, begins to plead for mercy but soon can only begin to giggle. 

Tickle in Tombville

Pleading alternates with giggling and attempts to maintain a demeanor. The young man cannot speak properly, being continually interrupted by prompts to laugh, while his expression of terror painted on his face gives way to a full smile that expresses just the opposite of his feelings.

Tickle in Tombville

Eventually the boy begins to feel a pain in his head and remembers his name: David.

Tickle in Tombville

The torturer stops, convinced that that is the result of continually rubbing the feather under his feet, and urges him to reveal the rest of his identity as well.

Tickle in Tombville

When David reveals that he remembers nothing else, the man does not believe him and threatens to move on to even more chilling physical torture.

As much as tickling is described as a children’s game, it proves to be a chilling context in this context since, in addition to the unbearable sensation, it forces the protagonist to laugh against his will, in a situation that is anything but cheerful. Really creepy!

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