director Bert I. Gordon
Childhood love of old horror movies introduced me to Bert I. Gordon, though I can’t say that we were formally introduced. I watched Gordon’s The Amazing Colossal Man (1957) and its sequel War of the Colossal Beast (1958) one summer, interested in those no doubt from an issue of Famous Monsters. I’m sure I’d seen The Food of the Gods (1976) and Empire of the Ants (1977) as well.
Gordon had quite the career in horror and camp, and interestingly is still alive at age 94.
Tormented is a ghost film, lacking one iota of terror. Though there is a vaguely noirish angle to the story, it plays very, very closely to straight out comedy. Easy pickings for your MST3k brand.
It stars Richard Carlson, who I’ve liked so well from It Came from Outer Space (1953) and Creature from the Black Lagoon (1955). Here he’s a jazz musician marrying a rich girl, only he’s got some skeletons in his closet. Actually, he makes his skeletons, or ghosts, if you will, not rescuing an ex-girlfriend and letting her plunge to her death…this for trying to blackmail him.
Her ghost pops up. In funny inventive ways. Footsteps in the sand. A disembodied hand stealing a ring. A disembodied head. The effects a cheap but kind of funny, amusing but not the least bit scary.
And then Carlson’s character has a rather odd relationship with the 8 year old younger sister of his fiancee. It’s one of those paternal, friendly 1950’s style relationships that now just seem kind of troubling nowadays, lots of added weird and comedy therein, too.
But you know, it’s kind of fun. It gets strangely dark, and maybe it’s just strange because it seems like it really just wanted to be a comedy. Quirky stuff.