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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 04 E 14 Tormented

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Film watched: Tormented (1960)

The episode is available on Shout! Factory TV here.

The Segments:

  • Tom and Crow have built another fort, this time up in the ventilation ducts. Gypsy's far too big to fit inside, though.

Segment 1/Invention Exchange

  • Joel reverse-engineered the See & Say toy to create the Aunt Catherine Wheel, to help children learn about extended family. Frank sports the Drinking Jacket, which comes with liquor-hiding pockets and is covered in its own DTs.

Segment 2

  • Joel is suddenly dangling from the ceiling by one arm and pleads with the 'Bots to save him. Blackmail swiftly ensues.

Segment 3

  • Joel asks the 'Bots who are some singers they would like to see fall from a lighthouse, acting them out with little dolls. Kenny Rogers was bad enough to be recommended twice.

Segment 4

  • Tom and Crow use Vi's talking head routine on Joel, but he just takes their bodies and walks off in response.

Segment 5

  • Driven to despair by the film's bleak tone, Joel gets everyone singing a happy song to combat it. Frank joins in with a song about how he's gonna kill Dr. Forrester and be best friends with the 'Bots, and Dr. Forrester retaliates with a live grenade.


The MST3K presentation provides examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Invoked. In the opening credits, they misread "Vi" as the Roman Numeral for six.
  • Credits Gag: When the grenade Forrester uses to blow up Frank goes off it makes the end credits skip.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Tom and Crow's talking head routine. Instead of scaring Joel, it just mildly irked him and he walks off with their bodies, leaving them in the dark.
  • Harmful to Minors: Lampshaded: "Sandy's grown up a lot this week."
  • Long List: What famous singers would you like to see plunge from a lighthouse?
  • Monochrome Casting: Memorably mocked by Crow: "It's a jazz musician's party and there's not one black person here!"
  • Running Gag:
    • "Sessions presents...!" during the numerous, interminable paddinginvoked shots of lighthouses and beaches, with impressions of famous easy-listening artists to fill out the time left in each scene. Ends up becoming an Overused Running Gag because, by the end of the movie, Joel's sick of it.
    • Advertisement:
    • Tom Stewart's Suspiciously Specific Denial and Freudian slips throughout the movie.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Servo snarks at the shock there's a scandal involving a jazz musician.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: TV's Frank gets blown up by a grenade.
  • Two Words: I Can't Count: After Joel has called the Mads' drinking jacket the sickest thing they've ever created.note 
    Dr. Forrester: Two words: Get! Over it!
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Joel's Speak'n'Say-like Aunt Catherine Wheel is named after the Catherine wheel, an old name for a cartwheel, which, in turn, references the breaking wheel, the infamous medieval torture device.


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