Tormented

Year Of Release: 1960
Running Time: 75 Minutes
DVD Released By: Madacy
Directed By: Bert I. Gordon
Writing Credits: Bert I. Gordon (Story), George Worthing Yates (Screenplay)
Filming Locations: Santa Catalina Island, Channel Islands, California, USA

Starring: Richard Carlson (Tom Stewart), Susan Gordon (Sandy Hubbard), Lugene Sanders (Meg Hubbard), Juli Reding (Vi Mason), Joe Turkel (Nick, The Blackmailer), Lillian Adams (Mrs. Ellis), Gene Roth (Mr. Nelson), Vera Marshe (Mrs. Hubbard), Harry Fleer (Frank Hubbard), Merritt Stone (Clergyman), George Stanley, Dick Walsh, Leslie Thomas

Tagline 1: A ghost-woman owned him body and soul!

Tagline 2:
The Wedding of the Living And the Dead!

Tagline 3: Her lips, cold as a tomb! Her caress, a naked chill!

Tagline 4: Tormented by the She-Ghost of Haunted Island!

Tagline 5: A Terrifying Story of Supernatural Passion!

 

Alternate Titles: I was unable to locate any alternate titles for this film.

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
Susan Gordon is the daughter of Bert I. Gordon. Between 1958 and 1960 she appeared in six films including Attack of the Puppet People and Miracle on 34th Street. Her next film appearance was in 1966's Picture Mommy Dead. This would be her last film appearance. She did make numerous television appearances between 1959 and 1967, but the final appearance of her career was playing a character named Marcia in episode #7.23 of My Three Sons entitled "Now in My Day." She appeared three times all together on My Three Sons, once each in seasons 5, 6 and 7, and in each of the three episodes, she played a different character. The final appearance would mark the end of her acting career.

Rogue Reviewers Round Table Review: August 2005
Review Topic: "Ghost Stories"




Cast of Characters

Tom Steward: This guy is a jazz pianist. Now I know what you're thinking, but no, he's not a pot smoking, poetry reading beatnik. He's just a guy who made a mistake and had it come back to haunt him...literally. Unfortunately, all the sympathy we feel for him during the film is kinda shot to hell at the end, but hey...I never really cared much for jazz anyway. In a nutshell, he's left Vi, plans to marry Meg, ends up killing Vi, gets blackmailed by Nick, kills Nick, almost marries Meg, almost kills Sandy because she saw him kill Nick and basically just goes through a few days there that really sucked right before he plunges to his death from the top of the lighthouse. I know I should probably feel sorry for him, but I really don't. What a cold hearted jerk I am.

Vi Mason: This broad just doesn't know when to let go. Then again, I can't understand why Tom dumped her in the first place. She's got a smokin' body, a great set of hooters, and is generally way hotter than the dippy chick he ended up with. Basically, Vi is obsessed with Tom, and ends up dead shortly after attempting to blackmail into dumping Meg and getting back together with her. Tom could have saved her, but he didn't. Not only did that not stop her being obsessive from beyond the grave, but it really ticked her off as well, and now she's out for revenge...and to get back together with him because she still wants him even though she's dead. Yeah, I know it sounds a little confusing, but try to stick with me here.

Meg Hubbard: Tom was gonna marry this dunce. If I was him, I'd be thanking Vi for putting a stop to it. Not only was she nowhere near as hot as Vi, she was annoying and ditzy as well and basically just made me wonder why Tom didn't just hang himself in his friggin' closet to get away from her. She's got rich parents, so I guess the money might have had something to do with it. But still...

Sandy Hubbard: This part was played by Bert I. Gordon's daughter Susan, and she did an absolutely phenomenal job in the role. She's Meg's little sister, and she has a big ol' major crush on Tom. That is, she did until she saw him kill the guy who was trying to blackmail him. And then there was that whole thing at the end where he was gonna toss her off the top of a lighthouse. That does tend to put a damper on the ol' crushy feelings now doesn't it? The great thing about her is that she wasn't annoying or stupid or anything. She was really just a great kid and a pleasure to watch on the screen.

Mrs. Ellis: This is, I think, Tom's land lady. I'm not sure, but that was the impression I got. She's blind, and she generally does a decent job of looking blind, but she sure walks around like she can see where she's going. Anyway, she kinda gets wind of what's going on with Tom, but doesn't know or understand the full story and the reality of everything he's going through. Why she was even in this movie, I don't really know, but I guess she served some purpose by talking about a previous haunting on the island. She was in it in several parts, but never really did or said anything of any real consequence other than providing that little bit of back story, so the only thing I can really figure is that maybe they just wanted to get a token blind chick in their to fill their handicapped quota.
Nick: This guy is a real dirt bag. He's the one who brought Vi out to the island on his boat. She still owed him five bucks for the trip, but she never came back to the boat to go home. Nick went looking for Tom, since Vi had told him that that's the name of the guy she was going to see. Once he found him, he managed to get his five bucks. Later he discovered that Vi had disappeared, Tom had killed her, and Tom was going to marry Meg. This lead our slimy little friend here to try to blackmail Tom out of five thousand bucks. Tom didn't take too kindly to that, and with Vi egging him on, cracked this schmuck in the head with a pipe and killed him. Somehow I don't think the jerky idiot will be missed.



Screen Shots

I don't know what she's so worried about falling in the ocean for. She's obviously come equipped with some top of the line floatation devices.

"Damn baby, I hope you filled out an organ donor card!"
 

(Reviewer's Note: Yeah I stole that line from another movie, but it's still funny. Noogies for anyone who knows what movie I stole it from.)

Gee, I wonder what Freud would say about this shot?

This girl's never going to get married. Guys don't like chicks with moustaches. She might be able to get a job in some French cabaret though. I think they're into that sort of thing.

Now there's something that just ain't right about this. When you got an album called Tormented, you'd expect to see the name Barbara Streisand on it. That woman could scare two horny cats off a bed of catnip.

I could make a joke here about Vi giving Tom a...shall we say...hand employment (you figure it out), but I wouldn't be that crude. Instead I'll make the far lamer and more obvious joke...
 

"Here Tom, let me give you a hand..."
 

No actually, that's too lame. How about...
 

"Hey! Having a ghost around is pretty handy!"
 

Yeah, that's better. I shoulda thought of that in the first place. I just don't know where my head is at. Still, I'm better off than Vi is. She lost her whole body. And with a body like hers, that takes some doin'!

"Tom, you really must stop doing that chicken butt thing with your lips. We've all seen it and it's just not funny anymore."

Don't you just hate people who always gotta stick their head in when someone's snappin' a picture?

"Ok, when I open my eyes, this idiot's gonna be gone, I'll be hooked up with that girl with the monster hooters and all of this will have just been a horrendously bad dream. Here I go..."
 

"Tom what's the matter? Why did you have your eyes closed?"
 

"Awww awwwwwwwwww!!! Damn it! For the love of god somebody please shoot me!!!"




Best Quotes

"I had my mouth open and my eyes closed. This is gonna be the worst picture ever made."

- Meg complaining about a candid photo her father took of her and Tom at the party they had the night before their wedding. - (Reviewer's Note: Maybe, but I'm sure there are quite a few men's magazines out there that would be happy to get their hands on a picture like that.)




Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

Tormented
Man, even after you kill 'em, they still find a way to nag you.



Summary and Conclusion

For this Rogue Reviewers Roundtable review the theme was ghost stories. Basically, I had to choose a film that had a ghost in it. So what to choose? There are a lot of great classic movies that have ghosts, but for some reason this one popped into my head. I'm not sure why, but I seemed to remember that it was a movie about someone being tormented by a ghost. I had never seen the film before, but I figured it would be a good opportunity to check it out since another one of the Rogues reviewed it recently and said it was pretty good. So here we are...


Tormented is about a jazz pianist named Tom who is about to marry a girl named Meg. The only thing standing in the way is an old flame named Vi who's popped in out of nowhere to blackmail him because she wants him for herself and she swears that no one else will ever have him. So they meet in this abandoned lighthouse on the beach where Tom lives, and end up going up to the top. While they're up there, Vi leans against the rail and it breaks. She manages to hold on to it and begs Tom to save her, but he doesn't, and she falls to her death. Now it's revenge time. She comes back in ghostly form and begins to torment him, driving him to the edge of near madness. Throughout the movie she keeps interfering with his plans to marry meg, and in the end she manages to stop it all together.


Meg has a little sister named Sandy who absolutely loves Tom. Unfortunately for her, at one point towards the end of the film, she sees him kill a man who was blackmailing him over his suspicions that he had killed Vi. Sandy talked to him about it right before the wedding, and he basically swears her to secrecy. After the wedding is ruined, he goes to the lighthouse to tell Vi she's won, and Sandy shows up. Now up to this point in the film, we felt sorry for Tom for the most part, but now he's reached a point where he can't rely on Sandy to stay silent about what she saw, so he's planning on tossing her off the top of the lighthouse as well just to keep his secret. He doesn't want to do it, and he's miserable about it, but Vi has tormented him so much that he's become desperate. When they get to the top, Vi's apparition appears and comes at him before he can do anything to Sandy, causing him to fall over the edge to his death.


Tormented is a well written, well acted film, that manages to tell a compelling story despite it's overly cheesy special effects. Normally I would think the cheesiness would be a good thing, but some of the effects in this went a little beyond cheesy and well over into hokey. Still, the fact that they were hokey sort of gave the film a certain charm that added to my enjoyment of it considerably. Sure they could have just had a ghostly voice or a double exposure apparition or whatever, and in fact they did. The cool thing was, they also had ghostly footprints, ghostly hands, and a ghostly severed head that nagged at Tom from beyond the grave. The effects weren't overused, nor were they underused. They were used just enough to enhance the story and make it flow well. Had there been more ghostly encounters than there were, or if they had lasted longer than they did, it would have really detracted from the overall quality of the story because it would have taken away from Tom's interactions with other people who weren't seeing or hearing any of what he was encountering. It was the fact that only he seemed to know what was going on that drove him mad, and that's exactly the way it should have been.


The actors all for the most part did a really good job with the story. I do want to commend Susan Gordon (Sandy) on the fabulous job she did. It's got to be tough for child actors to do a good job with material they may only semi-understand, but she was just outstanding. She was a great little actress, which I suppose only makes sense since she was the daughter of a filmmaker. Still, it's a shame that she ended her acting career in 1967. She could have continued on to do some really great things.


The quality of the film on this disc is ok, but it's nothing special. I'd say on a quality level, it would probably rate around 5 out of 10. I've seen worse, but Madacy generally doesn't do anything to clean up the classic films they release. The DVD does have a second feature, Lady Frankenstein, and an intermission cartoon, Private Eye Popeye, which I thought was a nice touch on Madacy's part. The screenshots up above do not reflect in any way the actual quality of the film because I've cleaned those up quite heavily for the review. The video clip is a better representation of the film's overall quality. There is another release of this film on a disc from Alpha Video, but I don't own that one so I'm not able to compare the quality of their transfer to the transfer quality of the Madacy release. Generally, Alpha's discs are pretty decent quality and are extremely inexpensive, so you usually can't go too wrong when you pick up their releases.


I've been debating whether or not this film could have been a bit shorter. Going over it in my head and thinking about the story and how it played out, I'd have to say no. While a few minutes could have been cut out, overall the film was well paced and almost the entire thing is dedicated to telling the story. There are a few scenes of Tom and others walking around that could have been cut, but they wouldn't have added up to much.


While this isn't the kind of a ghost story you'd want to watch on Halloween night, or even at a late night scary movie get together with your friends, it would be a quality film to watch on a saturday afternoon with a pizza and some root beer. I know that doesn't really say much for the scariness of it, and in fact it shouldn't. This movie wasn't scary at all, but it was a really nice and entertainingly fun flick nonetheless.


When it came down to deciding what kind of a rating to give it, rather than focusing on one point or another looking for things that might drag it down or boost it up, I chose to look at the film as a whole, which ultimately led to me awarding it a rating of...

 

B-Movie Central's Rating: 4 Bees

 

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