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Tormented (Film Masters) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Tormented (Film Masters) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Film Masters
    Released on: April 23rd, 2024.
    Director: Bert I. Gordon
    Cast: Richard Carlson, Juli Reding, Lugene Sanders, Susan Gordon
    Year: 1963
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    Tormented – Movie Review:

    The late Bert I. Gordon’s 1963 horror film, ‘Tormented,’ is an effectively spooky ghost story made with an obviously low budget but no less effective for it.

    The story revolves around a professional piano player named Tom Stewart (Richard Carlson) who, early on, reunites with former sweetheart Vi Mason (Juli Reding) at an old lighthouse of the coast of Cape Code. It seems that Vi is none too happy that Tom is soon to be wed to a woman named Meg (Lugene Sanders) and has some dirt on him that she intends to use to the pending nuptials. Things get a little heated as one thing leads to another, Vi winds up falling against a railing and, when it breaks, crashing to her death at the base of the lighthouse. Tom probably could have helped her, but chose not to.

    The next day, Tom starts seeing things that may or may not be actually happening. He gets a glimpse of Vi’s corpse washing up on the shore and then starts seeing footprints when no one else is around. It seems that some sort of supernatural force is doing everything that it can to stop the wedding from happening, and understandably, this cause his behavior to become rather bizarre, even more so when it starts to look like someone (Joe Turkel, iconic as Tyrell in ‘Blade Runner’ and the bartender in ‘The Shining’!) is blackmailing him.

    This strange behavior doesn’t go unnoticed by Tom’s younger sister, Sandy (Susan Gordon – the director’s daughter), who comes quite concerned by what’s going on inside her brother’s head.

    A nicely shot and atmospheric movie that makes great use of its coastal New England setting, ‘Tormented’ is a great looking film that has no trouble holding out attention even if some of the tropes in which it deals in might seem a tad clichéd by modern standards. The ending, however, is handled well and the script, co-written by Gordon and George Worthing Yates (who also worked with Gordon on The ‘Spider’ and ‘Attack Of The Puppet People’) wraps things up nicely as the movie comes to its finish.

    The acting is pretty decent across the board. Carlson, probably best known in horror movie circles for his work on ‘The Creature From The Black Lagoon,’ makes for a pretty decent leading man. When his world starts to break down after Vi’s death he brings a good sense of panic and fright to his performance. Juli Reding and Lugene Sanders are both pretty good in their supporting roles while Susan Gordon, if not amazing and definitely cast because of her connection to the director, is fine. Not great, but fine. Turkel’s smaller but important role is also handled well, the guy was just a great character actor and his presence isn’t wasted here.

    Tormented – Blu-ray Review:

    Film Masters bring Tormented to Blu-ray each framed at 1.85.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition taken a 4k scan of a 35mm print. Picture quality is solid. Some minor print damage shows up now and then but nothing distracting, just small specks and scratches. The black and white image shows good contrast as well. Black levels are a step or two away from reference quality but they’re decent, and the picture provides good detail, depth and texture. For a transfer not taken from a pre-print element, this looks quite strong.

    The English language 16-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono mix, with optional English subtitles, sounds alright. Audio quality is a little flat but for an older, low-budget B-movie, it sounds fine. Expect a bit of sibilance here and there, but the score generally sounds pretty strong and the dialogue is always easy to understand and follow. An alternate Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track is also provided.

    A commentary track from writer/filmmaker Gary Rhodes starts off the extra features and goes over his thoughts on the movie, Gordon’s career and legacy as well as some of the highlights of his filmography, how he came to know actor Joe Turkel, the film’s distribution history and lots more. It’s a busy and very informative track, no dead air here.

    ‘Bert I. Gordon: The Amazing Colossal Filmmaker’ is an archival interview with writer/director/producer Bert I. Gordon that runs seven minutes and sees the director talk about his love of monster films, some of the movies that influenced him and his career in genre film.

    ‘Bigger Than Life: Bert I. Gordon in the 1950’s and 1960’s’ is a new Ballyhoo Motion Pictures documentary featuring C. Courtney Joyner that runs just under forty minutes and goes a pretty serious deep dive into Gordon’s life and career. It covers a lot of ground in terms of his biography but also goes over what he was like as a person and what sets apart some of the movie’s in his filmography.

    Film Masters have also tagged MST3K Writer/Performer Frank Conniff for a quick introduction to the movie and, along the same lines, included the full MST3K version of Tormented where in the standard cast members have a fun time ‘riffing’ on the movie as it plays out on the screen in front of them.

    Inside the case, we also find a nicely illustrated full color booklet with an essay by Tom Weaver simply titled ‘Tormented’ as well as a piece called ‘The Boy And His Film Favorite’ by novelist/filmmaker John Wooley covering actress Susan Gordon's career

    Tormented - The Final Word:

    ‘Tormented’ holds up really well, it’s very atmospheric and well-acted by a solid cast. The Blu-ray debut from Film Detective gives the movie a really good presentation and throws in a host of interesting extra features as well, which rounds out the disc nicely and makes this one easy to recommend!



    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Tormented Blu-ray screen caps!

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