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414 - Tormented
Air Date September 26, 1992
Movie Director Bert I. Gordon
Year 1960
Cast Richard Carlson, Susan Gordon, Lugene Sanders, Juli Reding, Joe Turkel, Merritt Stone, Gene Roth
Preceded by 413 - Manhunt in Space
Followed by 415 - The Beatniks

The Movie


On an island community off the coast of New England, jazz pianist Tom Stewart (Richard Carlson) is preparing to wed wealthy, wholesome Meg Hubbard (the Doris Day-like Lugene Sanders). His plans are jeopardized by his possessive former girlfriend, decidedly unwholesome singer Vi Mason (Juli Reding), who declares "no one will ever have you but me!" and threatens to blackmail him with his old love letters. During a confrontation at the top of the island's abandoned lighthouse, the railing breaks and Vi plunges into the icy waves. Tom has a chance to save her but doesn't.

Any initial relief Tom experiences at Vi's death soon vanishes when her vengeful spirit begins showing up wherever he goes and mysterious unexplainable phenomena start to happen. When a slang-talking charter boat captain (Joe Turkel) guesses his secret and demands hush money, Tom kills him.

Would Tom even go so far as to kill the little girl who adores him to protect his secret?


Susan Gordon, director Bert I. Gordon's daughter, plays the role of Sandy.

The Episode

Host Segments

  • Prologue: Tom Servo and Crow set up a new home in the ventilation duct over the bridge. When Gypsy tries to join them, chaos erupts.
  • Segment One (Invention Exchange): Gypsy has entangled the bridge. Joel shows off the Aunt Catherine Wheel to help people remember all their relatives. The Mads show off the drinking jacket, perfect for the fashionable lush going through the DTs.
  • Segment Two: Joel tries to clean out the Crunchberries the Bots left in the vents and gets stuck; the Bots flat-out refuse to help him, trying to blackmail him for their assistance.
  • Segment Three: Joel and the Bots push figurines of their least favorite pop singers out of the top of a toy lighthouse, in the same manner the man in the movie pushed his singing girlfriend off. In the end, they feel a bit guilty. Well, not really.
  • Segment Four: Tom and Crow pretend to be disembodied heads to scare Joel and Gypsy. Joel outwits them by taking their bodies and leaving them in the dark.
  • Segment Five: Joel and the Bots are traumatized by the film, but cure their blues by singing a song about happy thoughts. Frank joins in with his own morbid version, but Dr. Forrester leaves a live grenade beside him just before the button is pushed.
  • Stinger: "Tom Stewart killed me! Tom Stewart killed me!"

Other Notes


  • Unusual credits: The hand grenade Dr. Forrester drops on Frank explodes as Joel Hodgson's credit appears, causing the screen to shake briefly.

Obscure References

  • "Uh-oh, Crook and Chase are calling!"

Crook & Chase is a TV talk show that focuses on country music.

  • "...from the mixed-up files of one Bert I. Gordon."

A reference to the children's book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

  • "It's over Ivana!"

Referencing the divorce of Donald and Ivana Trump which was settled in 1992.

  • "The Secret Storm!"

The Secret Storm was a soap opera that aired until 1974.

  • "Forever in Lugenes!"

Tom is parodying the Neil Diamond song "Forever in Blue Jeans".

  • "Meg..." "It will come back to you!"

A parody of the Steely Dan song "Peg".

  • "They lived in that last house on the beach." "On the left?"

A reference to the 1972 horror movie The Last House on the Left.

  • "Believe it...or not!"

Crow is imitating Jack Palance on the 1980s Ripley's Believe It or Not! TV series.

  • "This belonged to V. I. Warshawski!"

V. I. Warshawski is a female Chicago private eye featured in a series of novels and a 1991 movie.

  • "Vi ask Vi?"

A parody of "Why ask why?", the advertising slogan for Bud Dry beer.

  • "Chuck Norris in The Octagon."

The 1980 kung-fu movie The Octagon (co-starring Lee Van Cleef!) frequently had a voice-over (with lots of reverb) in which the audience heard the thoughts of Chuck Norris' character.

  • "This is like 'Barton Fink' now!"

Barton Fink was a 1991 film directed by the Coen brothers. One of the plot-lines involved a severed head in a box.

  • "Now I'm in 'The Seven Year Itch!'"

'The Seven Year Itch' was a 1955 romantic comedy known for its iconic scene of Marilyn Monroe's dress blowing up near a subway.

  • "Lolita..."

A reference to the novel by Vladimir Nabokov (later adapted into a film) in which Humbert Humbert, a European professor in his 50s, becomes sexually obsessed with Delores Haze (Lolita), a 12 year-old girl.

  • "An aging Kim Novak re-enacts this scene from Vertigo..."

The Alfred Hitchcock film Vertigo ends with a scene in which Kim Novak's character plunges to her death from a bell tower.

  • "The original Dead Milkman."

The Dead Milkmen are a satirical punk band.

  • "I got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack!"

A quote from the Bruce Springsteen song "Hungry Heart".

  • "Sammy Cahn is the doctor!"

Sammy Cahn was a Tin Pan Alley and Broadway songwriter.

  • "Savoir-Faire is everywhere!"

The catchphrase of Savoir-Faire, a French-Canadian mouse (who was also a master thief) that appeared the cartoon Klondike Kat.

Video Release

  • Commercially released on DVD by Rhino in June 2007 as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 11, a 4-DVD set with Ring of Terror, The Indestructible Man and Horrors of Spider Island.
  • The DVD features a retrospective featurette in which Bert I. Gordon, Susan Gordon, and Joe Turkel discuss the making of the movie, and its appearance on MST3K.

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