Tormented (1960)

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Tormented (1960)
Cast: Richard Carlson, Susan Gordon, Juli Reding, Lugene Sanders
Director: Bert I. Gordon
Nutshell: Vengeful waif returns from the seaweed to torment her murderer

“contrived….will bore you to sleep” Creature Features

“low budget hogwash” Maltin’s

 

Failed jazz pianist retreats to the lonely sea side in a desperate attempt for inspiration but is followed by his clinging Marilyn look-alike mistress Vi who keeps on pestering him about marriage and other irritating matters. He tells her very plainly where to get off but she accuses him of using her for her money and fame (she being a sultry recording star) and that she will sabotage his budding relationship with bubbly blonde socialite Meg. While Vi is nagging at the pianist on top of an abandoned lighthouse, she suddenly loses her footing, but before falling to her horrible death she has a despairing moment when she reaches out and pleads for help. Tom (the pianist) deliberately fails to help the desperate woman allowing her to plunge to her death.

With Vi out of the way, he can concentrate on getting on with his insidious scheme of marriage to the hugely wealthy socialite. Unfortunately Tom finds that strange things start occurring around him, like footsteps in the sand following him about the beach and records sung by Vi start playing on the record player by themselves and apparitions appearing in photographs and elsewhere!

Worse still, various body parts of the vengeful ghostly Vi start appearing and menacing the guilt ridden Tom, and her possessions, however many times he dumps them, just refuse to go away. In one horrifying scene reminiscent of the famous scene from The Haunting, Tom puts a ring onto the finger of Meg’s little sister only to find that there is a third hand wearing the ring….the ghostly severed hand of Vi. Tom’s existence is further blighted by Vi who starts appearing at the most inconvenient moments swearing never to let him rest in peace and that she will announce to the world that he murdered her. Things become more intriguing when Vi goads Tom into further murderous acts and he bludgeons a blackmailing slime-ball in the very lighthouse where Vi had perished. Tom attempts to confront Vi and reason with her, but to no avail.

The question really is that is this all the doing of the vengeful ghost of the saucy Vi or is it the mechanisms of the crazed mind of a failed musician. Does Vi actually exist, or is Tom just a scheming psycho who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal? Can he manage to exorcise his demons by burying the hatchet with the tormenting Vi and try to get his life back on track or will he be able to proceed in his nefarious scheme of marrying unsuspecting Meg for her millions?

The film lives up to its reputation of being a shoestring budgeted drive in cheapie. The acting is suitably atrocious and the special effects stupefy with their awfulness. Yet there is a cheesy, z-grade charm to the film helped somewhat by the ghostly theme that appears to have been lifted from William Castle’s epic House on Haunted Hill. Its not exactly thrilling stuff, but its mildly entertaining and induces enough giggles to be a welcome addition to our increasingly loopy collection of the obscure. Bad enough to be good fun in the right frame (state) of mind, otherwise it’ll just put you out.