Torture Ship 2003 Horror Movie Review
Horror movies Review
An overzealous doctor lures notorious murderers and other criminals (including the one nicknamed “Poison Mary Slavish”) into a ship which is in fact chartered solely for “curing” them of their “criminal mind.” Gleefully corny and melodramatic adventure film is, believe me or not, actually “suggested” by a Jack London short `A Thousand Deaths” written in 1899. You may think you shouldn’t be looking for literary merit of the original (which is a fairly lurid tale) in this film, and you’re perfectly right. This is a B thriller, best seen as a curio in the movie history, but that doesn’t mean it is uninteresting.
The film stars Lyle Talbot as Lt. Bob Bennett, captain of the ship and nephew to the Doctor Herbert Stander (Irving Pichel) conducting this horrible experiment. Watching character actors like Talbot (who is later to be seen in Ed Wood’s “Jail Bait” and “Plan 9 From Outer Space”) almost makes up for the lack of actions or thrills in the film, which is directed flatly and obviously produced cheaply. Perhaps you’re thinking of “so-bad-so-good” kind of fun. You may find some of the scenes (unwittingly) interesting, like the stereotyped images of foreigners, ineffective and unconvincing scuffle scenes and Talbot’s zombie walking (I’m not kidding). In short, whether you like the film or nor depends on your taste. I think I wasn’t bored while watching it for about 60 minutes, but I believe I’m not going to watch it again so soon.
The film is directed by Victor Halperin, probably known for his “White Zombie” shot seven years before this one. It is regrettable that unlike “White Zombie” he didn’t make use of the “living dead” theme that is seen in Jack London’s original short, which is still intriguing with a very curious mixture of horror and science. In fact, you don’t see any “comic relief” or “love interest” in London’s tale, which is still a fascinating read in its own way. As to the film, it is just OK even by the standard of film fans who are kind to this kind of cult film.