Film Masters announced its latest film restoration project this past week, a 4K restoration — from 35mm archival elements — of director Bert I. Gordon’s 1960 ghostly tale, Tormented, teaming Richard Carlson with the filmmaker’s daughter, Susan Gordon, plus Lugene Sanders and Juli Reding.
If you are a genre fan, especially of the 1950’s sci-fi and horror cycle, then you don’t even have know what Tormented is about. Just look at the pedigree and this upgrade — on Blu-ray and DVD from Film Masters on Apr. 23 — is a must!
First, director Bert I. Gordon, his list of genre films from the ‘50s include King Dinosaur, The Cyclops, The Amazing Colossal Man, War of the Colossal Beast, Earth vs. the Spider, Beginning of the End and Attack of the Puppet People. That is one hell of a run!
Next, the star, Richard Carlson, who was well established as a screen name before and after the war became a genre icon in 1953 with The Magnetic Monster, It Came from Outer Space and The Maze. Creature from the Black Lagoon followed in 1954. With just two of those films — It Came from Outer Space and Creature from the Black Lagoon — his bona fides were secured.
They came together for Tormented. Gordon had a falling out with AIP (law suit etc.) and struck out on his own, producing and cutting a distribution deal with Allied Artists.
His daughter, Susan, had nice run during the period with roles in Attack of the Puppet People, Tormented and Picture Mommy Dead.
Tormented is a ghost story. A haunting! Carlson’s character, Tom Stewart, is driven slowly mad after his former lover, Vi Mason (Juli Reding) — in a jealous rage — threatens to break up his relationship with Meg Hubbard (played by Lugene Sanders — perhaps best known as Babs Riley in The Life of Riley sitcom series of the 1950s), but falls to her death.
Real or imagined, Vi stalks Tom in a series of bizarre encounters and he goes over the edge … murder and the attempted murder of Meg’s younger sister, Sandy (Gordon) follow.
Bonus goodies include commentary by film historian Gary Don Rhodes, the Ballyhoo Motion Pictures documentary titled Bert I. Gordon in the 1950s & 1960s: Bigger Than Life, an archival video session with Gordon, an unreleased television piloted from Gordon (hosted by Vincent Price) titled Famous Ghost Stories and more.