CANNON MONTH 2: The Black Torment (1964)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Cannon didn’t produce this movie but did release it on video in Germany on the Scotia/Cannon label.

Made by Compton Films, directed by Robert Hartford-Davis and written by Derek and Donald Ford. I watched this because those three men also made one of the wildest British horror movies, Corruption, which we all know is not a woman’s picture.

It feels like British filmmakers trying to make an Italian film, as it starts with Lucy Judd (Edina Ronay) being chased through the woods by a black hooded figure and strangled. We then meet Sir Richard Fordyke (John Turner) and his new bride Elizabeth (Heather Sears) who have come to town so that she may meet her father-in-law Sir Giles Fordyke (Joseph Tomelty). She worries about her first impression, but his father has been weakened by a stroke and can only speak sign language, which can only be understood by his first wife’s sister Diane (Ann Lynn). And oh yeah — Anne killed herself a few years ago when she was told she couldn’t get pregnant. Oh these British upper-crust families and their horrific family trees!

When they finally get there, everyone — from villagers to family — treats them with cold eyes and whispers, because the rumor is that Richard killed Lucy, even if he was far away in London at the time. Witchcraft is in town and the Fordykes are said to be the cause. In fact, there are reports of Richard riding his horse about the village while the dead Anne follows him shouting “Murderer!”

Obviously, someone is trying to destroy Richard. But who? And why?

If you enjoy period dramas with a bit of the supernatural thrown in, well, this is certainly for you. I love that Hartford-Davis would go on to direct a toy tie-in movie, Gonks Go Beat, as well as School for Unclaimed GirlsIncense for the Damned and The Fiend.

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