Juli Reding during a pivotal scene in Tormented

From the DVD case:

This psychological chiller tells the story of a man who pushes his mistress out of a lighthouse to her death, only to have her ethereal body parts return to haunt him.

With mostly laughable special effects this film proves that the best fissions are those created by the imagination. (1960, b&w)

Mark says:

Ok, so you’re not going to go to sleep with the lights on after viewing this film, but I think you’ll find it entertaining.

Tormented stars one of my favorite B-actors, Richard Carlson (It Came from Outer SpaceCreature from the Black Lagoon), playing the part of Tom Stewart, a jazz pianist, who is about to marry Meg Hubbard (Lugene Sanders). Unfortunately, Tom has a former mistress, a Marilyn Monroe knock-off named Vi (Juli Reding) who is not so willing to let him go.

Lucky for Tom, Vi leans against a lighthouse railing that gives way. Vi dangles from the top of the lighthouse, and though Tom could easily save her, he pauses long enough to let Vi fall to her death. As Vi’s body washes off to sea, Tom believes all his troubles are over.

But we know better.

Vi, of course, comes back to haunt Tom (one body part at a time, it seems) and to ensure his marriage to Meg never takes place.

The acting is what you’d expect from a B-picture horror film of the era, mostly schlock. Even Richard Carlson seems awkward in his role, especially as he feigns his jazz piano numbers. The other acting is barely noteworthy, though Joe Turkel (Village of the Giants) turns in an amusing performance as Nick, the blackmailer.

Tormented probably could have been a spooky little film, but the effects and acting are just too cheesy to make the viewer uneasy.

This movie was written and directed by low-budget king, Bert I. Gordon (Beginning of the EndEmpire of the Ants). You may not experience many genuine chills, but you will be treated to some entertaining B-movie camp goodness created by a master of the genre.

Scene to watch for: Tom gets in an argument with a disembodied head.

Line to listen for: “Tom Stewart killed me! Tom Stewart killed me!”

Notes of interest: Bert I. Gordon’s daughter, Susan Gordon, plays Meg’s little sister, Sandy. Also, Joe Turkel, who plays Nick, the blackmailer, later went on to play the ghostly bartender, Lloyd, in Kubrick’s The Shining.

Mark’s Rating! ! ½ out of 5.

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