Dustin Wade Mills has never shied away from exploring different types of stories and different styles as the inspiration hit him. He showed us the gory side of puppets in Puppet Monster Massacre. He successfully tried his hand at a Faustian tale with a Lovecraft twist with Night of the Tentacles. He vilified the Easter bunny in Easter Casket. He toyed with our understanding of the story and provided a twist that M. Night Shyamalan would be envious of in Kill That Bitch. With his latest project, Her Name was Torment, Dustin Wade Mills creates a masterpiece that is much more than it appears on the surface.
It would be easy to write off Dustin Mills’ tale of a mass murderer known only to the audience as Torment as another addition to the overdone and meritless subgenre of torture porn. However, that would be doing a great disservice to both this movie and the artist responsible for the film. The gore and relentless, graphic, and brutal violence of the film is not there simply for its own sake. Mills wants us to be uncomfortable. He wants us to not be entertained, but to be captivated by the horror on the screen. If you follow Mills on Facebook, his comments both before and immediately following the release of Her Name Was Torment give insight to this fact.
“DMP fans new and old need to be prepared. Some of you are going to groove to this and some of you are going to be scratching your heads, but it’s going to happen no matter what. I've mentioned this before but it bears repeating. DMP has split off into two separate labels. Dustin Mills Productions and Crumpleshack Films. Dustin Mills Productions will continue to produce creative, colorful, and weird microbudget blockbusters. Monsters, comedy, mayhem, and fun stories. Crumpleshack Films will be delivering experimental, avant garde, graphic, unconventional, unsettling films on shoestring budgets. Her Name Was Torment will be the first. Things are gonna get weird. Film to me is like a vast and ancient playground covered in overgrowth and filth. I intend to explore every beautiful nook and terrifying cranny.”
Right from the beginning, Mills warned and prepared fans that Her Name Was Torment was the start of something so new and experimental that he was choosing to split off his film company into two separate entities. Torment makes a fantastic start to this new branch of Mills’ film industry. From the opening DVD menu, we should know that we are in for something different. We are faced with two options immediately after our DVD loads. You must select “Hurt Me” or “Don’t Hurt Me.” I won’t ruin the surprise of what happens in you select “Don’t Hurt Me,” but in order to proceed to the viewing experience, you must select “Hurt Me.” From there, you must make the right choices through several further screens labeled “Dissect,” “Disassemble,” and “Dispose,” with the other option being “I’m a Coward.” Finally, we are told to “Open the Door” and we are taken into the most twisted images that Mills has produced to date.
So what does Mills hope the viewer takes from Her Name Was Torment? The answer can be determined from some of his other posts regarding the movie. One of the earliest posts was vague, but summed it up well:
“My newest film that basically none of you know about goes up for pre-order next weekend. You are not prepared for this cringe inducing weirdness. Stay tuned.”
No matter how much exposure you have had to horror, Mills was right when he said that you cannot be prepared for the “cringe inducing weirdness” of Her Name Was Torment. As Torment was released, Mills shared the following:
“A message regarding Her Name Was Torment from Genius/Millionaire/Sellout/Hypocrite/Pornographer Dustin Wayde Mills: Many of you will be receiving your DVD soon. My advice is to watch it alone in a very dark room with your full concentration aimed at the audio visual feed. This will maximize your pleasure, terror, and confusion.”
Pleasure, terror, and confusion is exactly what you will be left with as the final moments of Torment wind down and you attempt to process what you have just experienced. Perhaps the most terrifying
of all aspects of Her Name Was Torment was that this was just the start to the story. If Mills had no intention of continuing the story, I would have major issues with the lack of story development within this film. At only an hour long, Her Name Was Torment definitely leaves us wanting to know more about what is going on and the reasoning behind Torment’s torture and murder. We are given some insight in that Torment seeks to please “The Overseer,” a God-like being who will “punish” her if not pleased. However, just like a real fan will take the time to understand that there is much more than what lies at the surface of Mills’ tale of perversion, they will also realize that the story has not been told in its entirety. My prediction is that what Mills has in store for us in the next two chapters will shock, disturb, and amaze us. Everything about this movie shows us that Mills has put a great deal of heart and effort into this production.
Dustin Wayde Mills delivers an amazing visual feast in Her Name Was Torment. The shift from color to black and white throughout the film is done in such a manner as to provide great enhancement to the mood of the film. Mills has carefully planned every shot, every close-up, ever color gradient in this masterpiece. Even though he continues to work on a micro budget, the special effects and make-up work in this movie are the most impressive that Mills has put on the screen and hold their own with many major productions that rely on practical effects. Additionally, as usual, Mills picks the perfect cast for his film and they deliver 110%.
Newcomer, Allison Egan provides a disturbing and enthralling performance. Her performance is made all the more impressive considering all she manages to convey without the use of facial features. Egan’s character, Torment, is indicated by other characters to have severe wounds and scarring on her face, but we are never shown this. Not once in the course of the film do we see Egan’s face, however, the actress does not let this be a hindrance to her performance. Veteran DMP actor, Brandon Salkil provides the perfect victim for Torment, making us empathize with all he is going through as he gives the impression of truly experiencing all of the pain and terror at the hands of his captor. As with many other Dustin Wayde Mills’ films, all of the elements are brought together to form an incredible whole with nothing else like it out there.
While it may appear to be nothing worth a second glance at the surface, it has great things to offer to anyone willing to really try to not just watch, but to experience Dustin Wayde Mills’ most recent work of art. Her Name Was Torment could be one of those films that serves as an indicator of a viewer that really wants to appreciate the horror presented to them on the screen and the casual viewer who wants easily digested stories that require little intellectual and emotional investment, serving as nothing more than eye candy. Mills is not out to feed us eye candy. If you allow it, Her Name Was Torment will fester in your brain long after you have turned the television off and attempted to move on with your life.
Although Her Name Was Torment stands out as a work of unique film making, for consistency sake on this blog, I will give it a rating. So, what’s the Rage score? Here it is:
Acting – 5/5
Story - 4/5
Effects - 5/5
Camera Work/Production Skill - 5/5Overall Entertainment Value - 5/5
Total Score – 4.8/5 – Go experience Torment. Watch Her Name Was Torment if you dare!
So where can you encounter Her Name Was Torment? Check out these options:
Buy it direct from the film maker at www.dmp.storenvy.com.
You can also stream it at www.indiereign.com/torment.