Tickled at Real Art Ways

Skip to main content



After stumbling upon a bizarre “competitive endurance tickling” video online, wherein young men are paid to be tied up and tickled, reporter David Farrier reaches out to request a story from the company.

But the reply he receives is shocking – the sender mocks Farrier’s sexual orientation and threatens extreme legal action should he dig any deeper.

So, like any good journalist confronted by a bully, he does just the opposite: he travels to the hidden tickling facilities in Los Angeles and uncovers a vast empire, known for harassing and harming the lives of those who protest their involvement in these films.

The more he investigates, the stranger it gets, discovering secret identities and criminal activity. Discovering the truth becomes Farrier’s obsession, despite increasingly sinister threats and warnings.

With humor and determination, Farrier and co-director Dylan Reeve summon up every resource available to get to the bottom of this tickling worm hole.

"The film is an investigative thriller that unravels the deep web of lies, threats and deceit that festers in the dark corners of the internet, and shows how online behavior can have damaging, real-world implications."

Adam Graham, Detroit News

"The movie draws you in with its eyebrow-raising look at an erotic subculture, then quickly escalates into a harrowing tale of alleged identity theft, online intimidation and American privilege gone dangerously awry."

Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

"It's a documentary that for about one minute seems as though it's going to be as fey and quirky as its title. But far from a jolly little film about odd, harmless people, it's dark, weird and menacing."

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

"Though his lighthearted tone has difficulties keeping up with each new sinister discovery, Farrier has exposed in the least likely setting the network of power and money that preys on the weak with impunity."

Peter Keough, Boston Globe