Torture Ship (1939)

Genres - Horror  |   Run Time - 57 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Torture Ship is a strange amalgam of crime thriller and horror chiller that can't quite make up its mind what it wants to be. Irving Pichel plays Dr. Herbert Stander, a well-meaning physician who becomes a little too much the single-minded visionary. Convinced that criminality is a result of a glandular condition, he assembles an array of escaped convicts -- from small-time grifters to murderers and psychopaths who have nothing to lose (or so they think) -- and takes them out to sea. The doctor begins performing nasty operations and other (usually lethal) experiments on them. The ship's captain (Lyle Talbot) allows this to go on, believing in the doctor's better nature. The criminals know what's going on, but between the doctor's own strong-arm men and the unwillingness of the crew to intervene, they're not able to protect themselves. It's only when Talbot's character gets a first-hand glimpse of the doctor's work that he raises a hand against him, ordering the crew, working in tandem with the wanted men and women, to take control of the ship from the doctor, who is destroyed by his own intended victims.

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Keywords

mad-scientist, operation, reanimation, ex-convict, sadist, shipwreck, torment, guinea-pig