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The Black Torment (1964)
An enjoyably thigh-slapping exercise in Regency horror, with Heather
Sears sewn into low-cut costumes as the innocent young bride who marries
a mysterious aristocrat (John Turner) and fears that she is going mad
as her nights are disturbed by sundry manifestations of apparent ghostliness.
Turner is a brooding Rochester-type in a Satanic beard, who is suspected
of withcraft and of absuing and killing a series of village maidens.
Sears worries that a hanging woman who shows up in the gardens at the
most inconvenient times is the ghost of Turner's mysteriously dead first
wife. It turns out that it's all down to the slobbering mad twin kept
locked up in the attic, but sometimes let out by villainous cousin Peter
Arne to blacken the hero's name. It mixes trad gothic corridor-wandering
and curtain-fluttering with slasher-style assaults on the comely likes
of Edina Ronay and a certain amount of swashbuckling swordplay. Sears
and Turner are a couple of stiffs in starched outfits, but director
Robert Hartford-Davis was smart enough to engage a group of glowering
and eccentric character actors -- Francis DeWolff, Patrick Troughton,
Joseph Tomelty, Raymond Huntley -- to be sinister or genial as servants,
suspects and yokels.
First Published On: the BBC Films website.
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