The Tickle King

Watch The Tickle King

  • R
  • 2017
  • 1 hr 31 min
  • 7.5  (20,474)
  • 76

The Tickle King is a documentary film from 2016 that delves deep into the world of competitive endurance tickling, a sort of fetish video trend that has arisen in the United States over the past decade or so. Directed by New Zealand journalist David Farrier and co-directed by Dylan Reeve, the film follows Farrier as he investigates and uncovers the darkness and seedy underbelly of the tickling fetish video industry, where young, athletic men are paid to participate in videos that feature them being tied up and tickled by other men.

The film opens with Farrier, a laid-back, quirky journalist, stumbling upon a curious online video featuring young men tickling each other in what appears to be a sport or competition. Intrigued, Farrier reaches out to the producers of the video, who, upon learning that he is a journalist, react with hostility and begin to threaten and harass him. Farrier, however, refuses to be intimidated and takes it upon himself to learn more about this strange, secretive world.

As he delves deeper into the world of tickling videos, Farrier discovers a labyrinthine network of producers, actors, and enthusiasts, all connected by a love of tickling and a hunger for power and control. The film takes us on a journey that is as bizarre as it is unsettling, as Farrier and Reeve travel across the United States to meet with ticklers, ticklees, and producers, all of whom are wary of sharing information with outsiders.

Along the way, Farrier and Reeve encounter a number of characters that are both humorous and disturbing, from David Starr, the enigmatic and powerful figure behind the tickling videos, to the young men who participate in the videos and who are often manipulated and exploited by Starr and his associates. The film also touches on themes of homophobia, bullying, and abuse, as many of the men who participate in the tickling videos are gay or bisexual and are often targeted by Starr and others because of their sexuality.

Despite the often disturbing subject matter, The Tickle King is a compelling and engaging film that is at turns funny, sad, and shocking. The filmmakers expertly balance the absurdity of the tickling videos with the very real harm that they can cause, particularly to the young men who participate in them. Farrier, in particular, is a fascinating subject, charming and quirky on the surface but possessed of a fierce determination to get to the bottom of the tickling videos and expose their darker aspects.

Overall, The Tickle King is a thought-provoking and disturbing film that sheds light on a little-known corner of the online video world. It is a testament to the power of investigative journalism to uncover hidden truths and to hold those in power accountable for their actions. For anyone interested in the intersections of sexuality, power, and online culture, The Tickle King is a must-see documentary.

The Tickle King
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 31 min
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (20,474)
  • Metascore