A Woman’s Torment is a true late ’70s oddity, it comes in both a hardcore cut and an R-rated version. I watched the hardcore cut and skimmed the R-rated cut which seems to just extend some scenes and cut out the hardcore footage, which is already about the most off-putting pornography you could ever watch. It’s so numbing to watch it kind of adds to the descent into hell of the main character.
The film is a porn riff on Roman Polanski’s classic film Repulsion, Don and his wife Frances are struggling in their marriage, Don isn’t faithful and who would’ve thought that might happen in a porno? Anyway Frances’ sister is completely batshit crazy and they are thinking about institutionalizing her but she runs away to an abandoned beach house and embarks on a murder spree. A plumber even shows up at one point and it’s a porno so you know what to expect.
It’s directed by Roberta Findlay who is an interesting figure in her own right in the world of porn and various kinds of exploitation films. She was the wife of Michael Findlay one of the most notorious directors of this kind of film. They co-directed the infamous film Snuff which was marketed as if it was a real snuff film. Michael died young in a grisly plane accident but Roberta still worked constantly after her husband’s death. A Woman’s Torment was made the year he died and she often worked under aliases; she is credited as Robert W. Norman here. She rejected the label of feminist but she is still a pioneer of “feminist porn” none the less.
A Woman’s Torment personally didn’t do much for except make me want to watch Repulsion again. However it’s an interesting if boring crossbreed of pornography and horror cinema. Vinegar Syndrome as always put a lot of love and care into this release which includes a commentary and Q&A from Findlay and rounded off with a video interview one of the actors Michael Gaunt.