Tormented (1960 film)

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For the other films, see Tormented (disambiguation).
A promotional film poster for "Tormented."
Directed by Bert I. Gordon
Produced by Bert I. Gordon
Joe Steinberg
Written by Bert I. Gordon
George Worthing Yates
Starring Richard Carlson
Susan Gordon
Lugene Sanders
Music by Albert Glasser
Calvin Jackson
Cinematography Ernest Laszlo
Edited by John Bushelman
Distributed by Allied Artists Pictures Corporation
Release date
  • September 22, 1960 (1960-09-22)
Running time
75 min
Country United States
Language English

Tormented is a 1960 horror movie directed and produced by Bert I. Gordon for Allied Artists Pictures Corporation, and starring Richard Carlson.

The film was featured in the fourth season of the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K).


Jazz pianist Tom Stewart (Carlson), who lives on a Cape Cod island community, is preparing to marry his fiancee Meg. Shortly before the wedding, Tom's old girlfriend Vi (Juli Reding) visits and informs him that she will end Tom's relationship with Meg, using blackmail if necessary. While arguing on top of a lighthouse, the railing Vi is leaning against gives way. She manages to briefly hang on, but Tom refuses to help and watches her fall to her death.

The next day, Tom sees Vi's body floating in the water. He retrieves her only to see the body turn into seaweed. Tom tries to forget what he's seen, but over the next several days, all manner of strange occurrences happen. Vi's watch washes up on the beach and mysterious footprints appear in the sand. Before long, Vi's ghost appears and tells Tom that she will haunt him for the rest of his life.

One day, Meg's little sister Sandy shows up and asks Tom if she can see the engagement ring. As Tom shows it to Sandy, he's spooked by a disembodied hand that soon makes off with the ring.

Soon afterward, a party is held for Tom and Meg. Vi's disembodied head makes a small appearance in a photo taken of Tom and Meg, and when he's alone, Vi taunts Tom that she'll now use her voice to tell the world how Tom Stewart killed her.

To add to Tom's dilemma, a ferry-driving beatnik comes looking for Tom, intent on collecting the $5 Vi owes him for her trip to the island. Tom's haste to pay the fellow off causes the shifty man to stick around, where his attempts to blackmail Tom lead to the ferryman's death. However, unbeknownst to Tom, Sandy has inadvertently witnessed the murder.

At the wedding, Sandy keeps quiet about what she's seen, but almost says something at the point in the ceremony where the clergy asks if anyone "can give reason why these two should not be joined in matrimony." Before she can speak, the church's front doors burst open and the flowers all begin to wilt as the candles die out, bringing the ceremony to an abrupt and unpleasant end.

Later that night, Tom goes to the lighthouse, telling Vi that he's leaving the island. Soon after, Sandy listens in to what Tom says. When Tom finds her, he realizes that he's now trapped; Sandy knows too much and could possibly tell Meg and the others. A desperate Tom leads Sandy up to the broken lighthouse railing with the intent to push her over. But just then, Vi's ghost swoops down on Tom, causing him to go over the edge as Sandy watches.

Soon afterward, the islanders go searching for Tom's body. However, the first one they find is Vi's. Shortly afterward, Tom's body is found and placed next to Vi's body, which somehow manages to turn and lay its arm across his body. On Vi's dead hand is the engagement ring that was supposed to be Meg's, signaling that Tom is now stuck forever with Vi.

Production notes[edit]

According to an interview with Bert I. Gordon, an alternate version of the film was made for foreign release that featured some nudity on the part of actress Juli Reding.

The "ferry-driving beatnik" mentioned above was played by Joe Turkel, who appeared in two other productions from Bert I. Gordon: The Boy and the Pirates and Village of the Giants, and who would go on to play "Lloyd the bartender" in Stanley Kubrick's 1980 version of The Shining; and "Eldon Tyrell" in Ridley Scott's 1982 film, Blade Runner.


DVD releases[edit]

  • This film has been released by multiple studios as a "bargain box" disc.
  • The MST3K version of the film has been released by Rhino Home Video as part of the Collection, Volume 11 box set.
  • This Film is featured in the "Monsters Crash the Pajama Party" DVD from Something Weird Video.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]