5.8/10
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The Black Torment (1964)

A lord returns to his manor with his new wife, to hear rumors that he had already secretly returned and had committed several murders. Has he lost his mind, or is something dark afoot?
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Heather Sears ... Lady Elizabeth Fordyke
John Turner ... Sir Richard Fordyke
Ann Lynn ... Diane
Peter Arne ... Seymour
Norman Bird ... Harris
Raymond Huntley ... Colonel John Wentworth
Annette Whiteley Annette Whiteley ... Mary
Francis De Wolff Francis De Wolff ... Black John (as Francis de Wolff)
Joseph Tomelty ... Sir Giles Fordyke
Patrick Troughton ... Ostler - Regis
Roger Croucher Roger Croucher ... Apprentice - Brian
Charles Houston ... Jenkins
Derek Newark Derek Newark ... Coachman - Tom
Kathy McDonald Kathy McDonald ... Kate (as Kathy MacDonald)
Jack Taylor Jack Taylor ... Soldier
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Storyline

A lord returns to his manor with his new wife, to hear rumors that he had already secretly returned and had committed several murders. Has he lost his mind, or is something dark afoot?

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What was the deadly power that desired and devoured the women of Fordyke? See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC to edit the opening forest murder. All later releases feature the same cut print. See more »

Alternate Versions

Cut by the BBFC for its 1964 and 1970 UK cinema release. These cuts seem to have persisted into all home video releases since, albeit with the rating reducing from X, AA, 15 down to 12. See more »

User Reviews

 
Good Gothic sixties horror
30 May 2006 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

The only film I'd seen from director Robert Hartford-Davis prior to seeing this sixties flick was the lamentable 'Incense for the Damned', so as you can imagine; I didn't go into The Black Torment with the highest of hopes. While this film is hardly a great horror masterpiece, or even one of the best British horrors of the sixties; it's certainly a good film, and a million times better than Incense for the Damned. The film focuses more on its atmosphere, and Hartford-Davis ensures that the themes of murder and insanity are always bubbling on the surface of the movie. The film gets off to a very slow start, and I wasn't too impressed with it once the first half hour had elapsed. Luckily, things improve later on, and the first half of the movie merely sets up the basics of the story. We follow Sir Richard Fordyce upon his return home to his eerie mansion along with his new wife, Lady Elizabeth. His first wife killed herself at her home, and the memory still haunts the lord of the manor. Furthermore, his servants believe that he has been present at the mansion prior to his return...

Huge mansion houses are a tried and tested location for horror, and the one in this film works well considering the story. The film is all about atmosphere, and the director does a good job of racking up the tension in an effort to ensure that the endings works as it should. The characters are nothing to write home about, and the script doesn't do a very good job of balancing them with the plot. The mystery comes about through several small threads, and although the climax is easy to guess; it's fun getting there. The film benefits from several well worked set pieces, many of which involve the ghost of Sir Richard's first wife. The Gothic themes provide the film with a dark horror atmosphere and are sure to appeal to fans of gloomy horror. The acting is, like the characters, rather drab; and the unknown British cast don't do much to grab your attention. It's clear that Hartford-Davis wanted the film to be more like Roger Corman's The Fall of the House of Usher, as it features ideas such as a long line of family members, and also sees a scene set in a portrait gallery, much like the Vincent Price classic. Overall, it has to be said that The Black Torment is slightly disappointing; but fans of sixties Gothic are likely to find something to like here.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 March 1965 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Estate of Insanity See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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