Tormented (1960 film)

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Promotional release poster
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 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Tormented is a 1960 American horror film 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 in a Cape Cod island community, is preparing to marry his fiancée Meg Hubbard (Lugene Sanders). Shortly before the wedding, Tom's old girlfriend Vi Mason (Juli Reding) visits and informs him that she will end his relationship with Meg, using blackmail if necessary. While she's arguing with him atop a lighthouse, the railing she's leaning on gives way. She manages to hang on briefly, but Tom refuses to help and watches her fall to her death.

The next day, Tom sees Vi's body floating in the water. After he retrieves her, the body turns into seaweed. He tries to forget what he's seen, but over the next few days, Vi's watch washes up on the beach, strange footprints appear in the sand, Vi's ghost appears and tells Tom that she will haunt him for the rest of his life, and when Meg's little sister Sandy (Susan Gordon) asks to see the wedding ring Tom will give Meg, a disembodied hand makes off with it.

Soon afterward, during a party for Tom and Meg, Vi's disembodied head appears in a photo a guest takes of the couple. Later, when Tom's alone, Vi taunts him 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, and his attempts to blackmail Tom lead to his death. Unbeknownst to Tom, Sandy has inadvertently witnessed the murder.

Sandy keeps quiet about what she's seen. At the wedding she almost speaks up at the point in the ceremony where the minister asks if anyone objects to the marriage, but before she can speak, the church's front doors burst open and the flowers all to wilt as the candles die out, bringing the ceremony to an abrupt, unpleasant halt.

Later that night, Tom goes to the lighthouse and tells Vi that he's leaving the island. When he finds Sandy listening in, he realizes that he's trapped: Sandy knows too much and could possibly tell Meg and the others. Desperately Tom leads Sandy up to the broken lighthouse railing with the intent to push her over, but Vi's ghost swoops down on him, causing him to go over the edge as Sandy watches.

When the islanders search for Tom's body, 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]

  • The 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.
  • The film is featured in the Monsters Crash the Pajama Party DVD from Something Weird Video.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]