Torture Ship (1939)

Torture Ship (1939) plot:

Torture Ship – A mad scientist performs experiments on “the criminal mind” on captured criminals on board his private ship. Since he faces indictment for illegally testing the relationship of endocrine to criminality in hopes of eventually curing criminals medically, he offers seven known murderers a boat ride to another country. This way they can all escape the American judicial system. All he asks in return is that they allow him to surgically experiment on them during the trip. They face execution if they stay. At least this way, he explains, they stand a fifty-fifty chance.


This film was directed by Victor Halperin who previously made White Zombie, Supernatural and Revolt of the Zombies. Overall the film isn’t too bad but there’s really not too much action or horror in the film’s short 50-minute running time. The Alpha Video release seems to be fairly complete with the entire story intact (except for some splicy sections in what was probably a 16mm television print: The story does make sense in this version which has the entire explanation of why the criminals are on the ship in the first place and what the doctor’s motivations are.

Cast and Crew:

Director: Victor Halperin
Writer: Jack London (story “A Thousand Deaths”)
Stars: Lyle Talbot, Irving Pichel, Julie Bishop


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