DVD Review “Tormented (1960)”

Director: Bert I. Gordon
Cast: Richard Carlson, Julie Reding, Susan Gordon, Lugene Sanders, Joe Turkel
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 70 minutes
Distributed by: Warner Archive

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

When in comes to Bert I. Gordon, I am one of his biggest fans. I had a chance to pick his brain a few years back, read interview here, and was a highlight of my career. He is known for his creature films like “The Amazing Colossal Man”, “Empire of the Ants” and “Earth vs. The Spider” but “Tormented” is much different yet still equally amazing. I haven’t seen this film in many years since it has not had a proper DVD release in the past, but it still holds up today.  It is still well formed, packs a few good spooks and is just great fun from the early 60’s. If you are a fan of classic suspense horror, then this release is a must! Highly recommend!

Official Premise: Richard Carlson stars in this thrill-fest as a man haunted by a nagging conscience and a dead lover! Jazz pianist Tom Stewart (Carlson) is headed for Carnegie Hall – right after he marries his lovely fiancée Meg (Lugene Sanders). But when Vi Mason (Juli Reding), a lounge singer Tom rejected, shows up at the island lighthouse where Tom practices, she insists that no one will marry Tom but her. After she accidentally falls over a railing to her death, Vi returns as a ghost bent on revenge. Slowly, Tom loses his grip on reality, and it’s a matter of time before tragedy strikes again in Tormented!

Richard Carlson is amazing in this film and really captures and creates the right amount of suspense with his character. Also I should point out that Joe Turkel also has a role in this film. If you don’t know him by name, Joe plays Lloyd the Bartender in “The Shining”.  You also got to love the aged dialogue including “It’s bad enough to welcome a musician into this family…but a jazz musician it is just too much!” What a riot! “Tormented” is being released on made-to-order DVD, thanks to Warner Archive. It is presented with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The transfer looks amazing for a film that is over 50 years old. The Dolby Digital track also works well with the score, which adds a lot of great suspense. I really loved this film and this release is a great tribute to it.

3D Blu-ray Review "Tormented 3D"

Actors: Takeru Shibuya, Hikari Mitsushima, Tamaki Ogawa, Teruyuki Kagawa
Directors: Takashi Shimizu
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Well Go USA
DVD Release Date: April 2, 2013
Run Time: 83 minutes

Film: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1/2 out of 5 stars

When it comes to Japanese horror, the name Takashi Shimizu stands out and can carry a lot of wait. He is the genius behind amazing horror films like “Ju-On” and “The Grudge”. “Ju-On” is one of the only horror films (besides “Insidious”) that still gives me nightmares. Though recently his films have been nothing but disappointing. His last film, “The Shock Labyrinth”, was his first attempt at 3D and was also his worst film to date. At first I was thrilled for a 3D horror film from the dude that made “The Grudge”. Boy, was I wrong. But being a sucker for 3D horror, I was still excited for “Tormented 3D”. I figured how couldn’t mess up twice in a row…could he? Damn, this film was worse than the last one.

The horror factor in the film is at the level of a PG rated film. While watching there were several moments that I was waiting for the jump moment and it just passed right by. I am not what he was aiming to do here but he completely missed the mark. This film is being blended as a terrifying tale but then they have the main villain as a giant human sized person in a bunny costume. There is literally nothing creepy or scary about that at all. To make it worse, Shimizu connects his last film, “The Shock Labyrinth” together with this one using the actually film in parts and used the same sets and even shot for shot takes.

Official Premise: Daigo doesn’t speak anymore. Not since he killed that rabbit on the playground at school. His sister, Kiriko, is worried. He’s bullied. He sleepwalks. And their father is no help, trapped in his own grief and illustrating fantasy worlds where families are happily reunited and no one dies. They never should have gone to that 3D movie. The one with the stuffed rabbit that floated out of the screen. Now Daigo is missing. He’s in danger, and Kiriko will have to follow him into a world of nightmares to discover the truth. And the truth is worse than any dream. From the legendary director of THE GRUDGE, Takashi Shimizu takes an unflinching look into childhood fears, the ties that hold a family together, and bloody secrets that won’t stay dead.

The 3D presentation on this film is actually quite terrible. There is some major ghosting happening throughout various scenes whenever depth is added. For instance, when they are in the hospital and going up the stairs, I literally had to take my glasses off since it was that disrupting. I had a similiar issue with the 3D in “The Shock Labyrinth” and I would have thought that Shimizu would have worked out the bugs. The Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is not bad though but since there is little suspense or scares, it doesn’t get a good work out. There is no English dub track included, nor are there any special features besides a trailer. I will be thinking twice before being sucked into another Takashi Shimizu film. Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice, shame on me!