3.8/10
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7 user 5 critic

The Tormentors (1971)

R | | Crime, Drama
They seemed invincible until they pushed one man too far...but to destroy them he has to join them!

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(as B. Eagle)
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Eve
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Lt. Connors
William Dooley
Bruce Kimball ...
B. Rockwell Kemp (as Bruce Kemp)
Inger Wegge ...
(as Inga Wege)
James Gordon White
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A wild gang of bikers who shamelessly idolize the Nazis, brutalizes anyone or anything that stands in their way. Dealing in illegal weapons, assassinations, power and violence, they seem invincible until they push one man too far... When his girlfriend is savagely murdered, he declares a personal war...but to destroy them, he has to join them! Written by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment

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They're the last of a dying breed.

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Crime | Drama

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Rogue Vengeance  »

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Featured in The Cinema Snob: The Tormentors (2011) See more »

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Yes, this is a bad film, but...
29 October 2013 | by (Ohio/PA border) – See all my reviews

...if you can look past its weaknesses, the story's actually kind of interesting and there are quite a few highlights to make it worthwhile.

"The Tormentors" (1971) is more of a biker film in spirit than in reality since there are only a few motorcycle scenes, but it contains all the trappings of that infamous genre that started with the excellent "The Wild Angels" in 1966 (see my review for details) and fizzled out by 1974. The film is like an early 70's comic book come to life and reminded me of Gary Friedrich & Ross Andru's short-lived "Hell-Rider" from 1971, which was inspired by the popular biker films and was the precursor to Friedrich's better-known comic "Ghost Rider".

The story revolves around a well-dressed neo-Nazi group in Monterey, California, who rob banks on motorcycles. In the opening hold-up they end up raping and killing the fiancé of a cop, played by Anthony Eisley. He seeks revenge by going undercover and joining the Nazi group. To test his authenticity, the Nazis order him to assassinate a charismatic Jesus freak called The Messiah who is preventing youths from turning to fascism.

It's a wild plot and sounds better than it actually is, mainly because of the film's low-budget failings. In fact, they ran out of money at some point and hired Kimberly Hyatt to finish the project. She bought some film, hired a crew with no money, did a quick rewrite and finished it on the weekends. The "failings" include the bad dubbing, which can be observed early on, especially the dubbing of The Messiah, a blond white dude, with the voice of a rousing black preacher. It's so bad it's funny. There are other funny moments, like Bruce Kimball as the overweight Nazi leader and his campy German accent that mysteriously disappears at certain points. There's also some bad editing and continuity.

Despite these glaring flaws, the film's strangely hypnotic. Comic booky or not, the story kept my interest and the film IS entertaining, and isn't this the main goal of filmmakers -- to entertain? The rockin' score by Rudy & the Love Slaves is a huge plus as it has that genuine late 60s/early 70s hippie vibe and showcases a compelling percussion performance.

The women are another highlight, including Inger Wegge as the evil Nazi blond (her name is misspelled in the credits), Chris Noel as Eve and a few more, like the redhead Marianne and the cop's blond fiancé. There are a couple of scenes of gratuitous top nudity, but it's pretty tame if you're older than mid-teens. I think the long make-out sequence at the Nazi party was an excuse to showcase the groovy score more than anything else.

The Monterey locations are another highlight and, say what you want about Anthony Eisley, but he makes a fine protagonist here.

Although the film is listed as hailing from 1971, another reviewer shared evidence that it may have been made in 1969 around the time of director David L. Hewitt's "The Mighty Gorga", but I can't verify if this is true or not. In any event, "The Tormentors" was not actually released in 1971; it sat on the shelf until the early 80s when it was released on video.

FINAL WORD: One reviewer said this film has NO redeeming qualities, but this simply isn't true; it has a number of redeeming aspects. If you have a taste for micro-budget hippie/biker flicks from the late 60s/early 70s "The Tormentors" is a must. Yes, some elements are so bad they're funny, but all-in-all the movie's somehow entertaining, and that's the name of the game.

The film runs 78 minutes.

GRADE: C (it's a "D" as far as filmmaking goes, but a solid "B" in overall entertainment, so "C" is the medium)


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