Earlier this week, the new exhilarating short film, Tingle Monsters, released nationally after completing the circuit of major film festivals. 

Tingle Monsters features an ASMR blogger who reunites with her loyal fanbase after a few month hiatus. Then suddenly, things spiral out of control. Throughout her live stream, viewers off the screen can see how and what people say can affect women and their real-life treatment. The harassment eventually turns dangerous. 

The movie is directed by and starring Alexandra Serio. Tingle Monsters came about when she produced explainer videos with both female and male hosts for the internet. 

“I was always struck by the difference in the female-hosted video content, especially in the comment section, which focused on the way she looked, what she was wearing, and how her voice sounded as opposed to males,” Serio says. “Those two videos. The comments were always about the content of the video itself.”

Behind The Title, Tingle Monsters

She says the title, Tingle Monsters centers around how violence against women usually begins with words. Also, how we treat and think about women.

“The star of the film is really the interaction of the fan base with the protagonists and when an instance of violence happens,” Serio says. “I think internet culture, in general, has made us very wary of trusting what we see on screen. So it’s the interaction of the fan base, seeing what has happened and their reaction is really what I wanted to leave the viewer with.”

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, aka. ASMR regulates to the realm of whisper or soft-speaking. It’s a low-grade euphoria that resonates and builds up by positive feelings and the tingling of the skin, hence the title, “Tingle” Monsters. 

“Almost a hundred percent of ASMR videos where someone is speaking is actually whispering,” Serio says. “That’s mostly because whispering stimulates proximity. You have to be very close to someone to hear a whisper. The whole purpose of ASMR is to trick your central nervous system into thinking somebody is really near you, tricking it into intimacy.”

Alexandra Serio
Alexandra Serio/Photo Credit: Kristiina Wilson

As the film industry faced unknown times, many directors and writers are reflecting on how things are changing for them. Alexandra concludes that the biggest difference for her is cutting her festival run short.

“This movie was made for an online audience so, I’m very excited to have it premiere online,” Serio says. “I want people to see it, and I think making it available on a free viewing platform on demand is the best way for that to happen.”

Tingle Monsters is now available to stream via Vimeo.